Kill Or Die(Uccidi O Muori)1966

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10511As usual with westerns in the spaghetti genre, this film had a variety of titles depending on the market. In the U.S. alone, it had four different ones(presuming theatrical release, VHS, and DVD. KILL OR DIE, KILL OR BE KILLED. RINGO AGAINST JOHNNY COLT, and GOD HOLDS THE BULLET. The print I watched on Youtube was the second, though the tilte on the film was the Italian.

It’s a story of two families feuding, not a terribly original plot, but serviceable for what followed.

The movie opens with a funeral procession being interrupted, a gang of men appearing atop a ridge and peppering the coffin on a wagon full og bullet holes. The entire party scatters but for one young woman. Lisa Drummand(Elina De Witt) is burying her father, supposedly killed230px-Uccidi_O_Muori_DatabasePage in an accident. The shooters are led by Chester Griffith(Alberto Farnese, billed as Albert Farley). The Griifiths don’t like the Drummonds, except Chester wants to marry Lisa, who wants nothing to do with her. Chester has already killed off two suitors and let it be known that it was hands off where Lisa was concerned.

The stage is set when a mysterious man(Rod Dana, billed as Robert Mark) rides into town riffing on Clint Eastwood down to the poncho. But he doesn’t wear a gun or carry a rifle in a boot on his saddle. He totes and plays a violin for donations. The only name he gives is Jerry. He runs afoul of the youngest Griffith, a spoiled young man named Spot(Fabrizio Moroni), drunk in the saloon with three Griffith hands. He demands that the fiddle player keep going 150px-Handvollblei-1-until he decides he’s heard enough. A fight breaks out and Jerry is holding his own, even to cramming his fists into heavy glass mugs and using them as boxing gloves. Doing well until one of the hands picks up a gun, Jerry snatches one out of a nearby holster and kills the man.

The Sheriff(spaghetti western veteran Andrea Bosic) witnesses it all witness it all and tells Jerry he should leave town. Jerry makes it as far as the Drummand ranch where he stays to help out. In addition to Lisa, family members, Cousin Steve(Tony Rogers) and Granny, an irascible suspicious old woman.

The head of the Griffith clan, Jonathan(Furio Meniconi, billed as Men Fury) is145px-Fur_eine_handvoll_blei furious that his favored son and three hands could do no more against Jerry than get one of them killed. He sends Spot and four men back to town to kill the stranger. All it does is get them killed, Spot as he’s sent home, snatching up a gun.

Old Jonathan is really pissed now and tells everyone to keep it away from Chester, afriad he might lose him as well. He hires a black clad killer(Gordon Mitchell, another spaghetti vet) to kill Jerry. Tall and skinny, we’ve already seen a wanted poster for a “Black Slim.” But depending which spot yoy look, the character is named Baltimore Joe or Ringo. Ten grand to kill Joe. Mitchell only gets two brief scenes where he gets his ass kicked by Jerry and shot full of holes by the same. The Ringo name comes from the Sheriff identifying him as such. I’ll get to the reason in a bit.

images (2)The finale is set when Jerry is being escorted, voluntarily, out of town by a pair of deputies. Chester, after agreeing to the Sheriff just to let him go, ambushes the trio with his men, saving Jerry for some special torture. He leaves hin, after a beating, buried up to hid neck. An old desert rat, out hunting, finds and rescues him, nursing him back to health, all the while keeping his ears open in town.

Jerry is accused of murdering the deputies and five thousand is put on his head.

Meanwhile, Chester plays the innocent, puts his best on for Lisa, and convinces her to marry him. She, tired of all the violence, thinks it the best she can do. Chester’s plan is to get all the Drummands together for the wedding and murder them all right after. “Lisa can remain in mourning the rest of her life!”

Things never work out as planned though.

The Sheriff had finally figured out whi Jerry really was, the man knownp_0ff554442711260645e0b6edb69a260eaf525c9a as Ringo. Tired of all the killing, he wanted to leave it all behind. The Sheriff helps out by identifying the body of Baltimore Joe as Ringo.

Tanio Boccia was a serviceable, if uninspired director. A mediocre script doesn’t help matters. Obviously an attempt to play off the popularity of the pair of Ringo folms starring Giuliano Gemma, Rod Dana was a decent actor, though never rising to the level of the better known Gemma.

Give it a C, one maybe only for spaghetti western purists. I’m one of those.

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FFB: Copp On Fire – Don Pendleton

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3085670Don Pendleton is best known of course for creating The Executioner Mack Bolan and later turning it into an empire. But he wrote other things as well and very good in their own right. Former policeman P.I. Joe Copp was one. COPP ON FIRE was the second of six published in 1988.

Joe Copp, though like most P.I.s close to broke all the time, didn’t really want the job, eve when $1300.00 in cash was laid in his hands. A handicapped man in a big white limousine wanted him for ten hours to take photos of people entering and leaving a business. He was looking for a rat. The man remained unidentified and after spending the day taking photos Joe met and turned the film, undeveloped, over to the chauffeur.

22822344That’s when things went downhill fast. The business blew up. a bomb took out the limousine and it’s occupants, and the people Joe had photographed started getting knocked off one by one. He’d turned over his copies to the police and one wanted to hang the whole mess on Joe.

Figuring he’d been set up to the the fall, Joe got mad and went hunting, even as more bodies were showing up.

Nicely plotted and paced novel that I couldn’t stop reading.

New editions of the books are available as ebooks and well worth a look.

The Adventures of An Arkansawyer – Charles Gramlich

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51CWIehtKzLA memoir of sorts from the author.

The first section was previously released as an ebook titled DAYS OF BEER, though here it’s been expanded with fresh stories. I could relate to many of Charles’ adventures, having been through similar experiences. Others were uniquely his, just as I could probably mention few personal to only me.

The second section using the book title, covers a wide range of subjects from growing up on a farm in Arkansas, and the adventures and terrors a young boy can run into there, to his college life. Again, so much that he went through was close to me that they drew smiles as they set off my own memories.

The book is never dull and kept me reading, smiling, laughing, commiserating on parts that were more serious.

A fine piece of writing that can be ordered HERE.

Holmes and Moriarty – Anthony Horowitz

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I’ve read many more pastiches than Doyle actually wrote of the first consulting detective. I love me some Sherlock Holmes. As one would expect, some are better than others. These two by Anthony Horowitz are among the best I’ve found in years.

THE HOUSE OF SILK

THE HOUSE OF SILK is another of those Watson penned adventures of Sherlock Holmes stored in the dispatch box in the vaults of Cox and Company to be held for a hundred years before publication.

A conspiracy stretching from Boston to London and involving some of the movers and shakers in society’s upper crust. One of Holmes’ Baker Street Irregulars, the newest member, is beaten horribly, his body tossed aside, a ribbon of white silk tied around his wrist.

Holmes is warned off the case by none other than his brother Mycroft who’d received visits from important people after making inquiries for Holmes. As always, he pays no attention and soon finds himself framed for murder, in prison, and a death sentence on him before he can get to trial.

The House of Silk, whatever that may be, is behind it all.

MORIARTY

Anthony Horowitz’s new novel is about the aftermath of the incident at Reichenbach Falls. Sherlock Holmes is dead(presumed so at the time of course), as is Moriarty. The author has a few characters from some of the Doyle stories appearing at various points in the tale.

Chief is Scotland Yard Inspector Athelney Jones who, after his embarrassment in THE SIGN OF THE FOUR makes a study of Holmes’ methods, reading every monograph and book the Great Detective wrote. He becomes quite expert in that little trick of deducing a person’s station just by close examination of that person.

Arriving in London just days after the deaths of Holmes and Moriarty is Pinkerton investigator Frederick Chase to look into the death of an undercover agent in Moriarty’s band.

The set-up becomes almost like the Doyle stories with Chase telling the story in first person, Watson to Jones’ Holmes.

It seems America had it’s own version of Moriarty, a shadowy figure named Clarence Devereux who no one could identify. He’d headed to England with the intentions of hooking up with Moriarty.

With the deaths of Holmes and Moriarty, all that seems out the door, but the pair go looking for the identity of Devereux with the intent of shutting him down.

Nicely written with a twist I never saw coming.

Recommended.

New In The House

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!: Sidewinders: Bleeding Texas – William Johnstone with J.A. Johnstone: Bo Creel is back at his family’s Star C Ranch in Bear Creek, Texas. Along with his buddy Scratch, he’s finding out that home is where the hell-raising is. A rival ranch is trying to drive the Creel family out of business, using any means necessary. For Bo and Scratch, always suckers for a pretty face, come two young ladies who just might blur the battle lines.

2: A Dangerous Man – William W. Johnstone: Born and bred in the Texas Pandhandle town of Comanche Crossing, William “Wild Bill” Longley gunned down a dozen of its men in cold blood before he got around to the sheriff and deputy–so he could take over the job himself. Then he found the perfect sidekick in a vicious career criminal named Booker Tate. With his remorseless heart set on a beautiful young woman, Wild Bill and Booker take the whole town hostage until the young lady agrees to marry a man she despises. That’s when a cold-eyed stranger comes to town with a dead man strapped to his saddle. In a town where violence and murder rule the day, a terrifying battle is about to explode–between ruthless Wild Bill Longley and a bounty hunter named Tam Sullivan, who’s done a whole lot of killing of his own…

and the ebooks:

3: Further Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles – Edward A. Grainger: the latest collection of shorts of our two U.S. Marshals.

4: Devil’s Ledger – Richard Prosch: the first novella in a new series of gunfighter hero John Colburn, The Peregrine.

%; The God Project(review copy) – Stan Lee: reissue coming next year from Brash Books

6: Flawless(review copy) – Tom Kakonis: another Brash Books release early next year

Further Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles – Edward A. Grainger

91dWgzBwioL._SL1500_The third collection of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles stories from Edward A Grainger(David Cranmer) and Chuck Tyrell. They’re both older these days, most of the tales set in the twentieth century. The two men have aged gracefully and, while their reflexes may have slowed, nevertheless they are still dangerous men. A lifetime of caution have sharpened their minds. The fact that they are older helps as well, the young dismissing them because of it.

Several tales are by Chuck Tyrell, one a memorable remembrance by Wyatt Earp’s wife Sadie to Cash’s daughter Veranda Jane to a team-up of sorts between the pair in Alaska, PROPERTY OF A GUNFIGHTER.

The ebook includes an excerpt from the last Jack Laramie, the Drifter Detective and grandson of Cash, DINERO DEL MAR by Garnett Elliott, another recommended read.

As always, an entertaining read worth the modest price asked.. Available here.

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