Tequila Joe (1968)
Every now and then I sift through the pile of spaghetti westerns that I have accumulated. Some are poor quality budget labels and some prints are as close to pristine as one could hope for. This one falls into the latter category thanks to the Wild East Spaghetti Western Collection.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the film is any good. But it’s not bad either. This Enzo Del’Aquila directed script is more or less average but the direction and camera angles are first rate and handled like a pro.
Young gunfighter with a deputy badge Jean Sobieski rides into a western town as the film opens looking for the local Sheriff. Turns out it’s Tequila Joe. A faded hero of the west who now finds solace in a bottle and shies away from gunplay that may result in his demise. He’s been turning a blind eye to a duo of warring factions looking to seek control of the frontier town. Shades of Yojimbo by way of A Fistful of Dollars.
Our drunken Sheriff is played by credited actor Anthony Ghidra.
Sounds like a Toho monster to me. In actuality the actors real name is Dragomir “Gidra” Bojanic. Another actor imported to the Italian western only this time not from the U.S.A.. Bojanic is originally from the former Yugoslavia. Dubbed into English his performance is fine as the burned out lawman with a weakness for the bottle. Much like the Yojimbo slant, the writers are taking a page from Rio Bravo with the drunken Sheriff rescued from his self pity from an unexpected friend in Sobieski.
The film is rather slow at times which caused me to stifle a few yawns through it’s 90 minute running time but when the ending finally arrives we get a decent shootout involving our leading men and the expected gang of thugs that populate the Italian westerns.
Like many westerns from Italy there is some brutality to be expected and a scene where a woman is gang raped leading to a stronger desire from the viewing audience to see the villains get their just deserts as the film closes.
For this oater there’s even a surprise connection between our drunken past his prime Sheriff and the young gunslinger that’s come to town to help Tequila get his pride back. Once again I can’t say I love the spaghetti westerns in general but this one is watchable. Better than some yet nowhere near a Leone epic. Strictly a B film by Spaghetti standards.