Two Brothers in Trinity (Jesse & Lester – Due Fratelli In Un Posto Chiamato Trinità)1972

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27_New_CDBy the seventies, the spaghetti western genre had started to fade a bit. But the two Trinity films had breathed new life into it. Comedies became the go-to and, as was usual in the genre, other producers tried to cash in on popular franchises. We got a slew of Trinities in titles, although sometimes they had nothing to do with the films. At least here, there was a town named Trinity. Star Richard Harrison wrote, produced, and mostly directed this one. First director Renzo Geta was fired several days into the shoot with Harrison taking the reins.

Jesse Smith(Richard Harrison) and Lester O’Hara(Donal O’Brien) were halfJESSE_b15e69de25336ba40773bec8b0da51a1 brothers: same mother, different fathers. And as different as two men could possibly be. Jesse was a fun loving fellow, especially with the ladies, and very good with a gun. Lester was raised a Mormon and strictly nonviolent, trusting of authority in all it’s forms.

As the film opens, Lester is looking for his brother to inform him that their mother had died and left them a ranch in the town of Trinity. The ywo hadn’t seen each other since they were boys. Lester is a scary looking fellow with a thick beard and perpetual scowl.

downloadThey hook up when Jesse tries to rob Lester one night after beating a hasty retreat from an old man who caught him with his daughter. All he got away with was the long johns he wore and his gun belt. Lester recognizes him from the picture he carried, sent by Jesse to their mother. Jesse doesn’t believe Lester is his brother until he sees a scar on his brother’s butt that he remembers.

As the two brothers get to know each other, we learn they have opposite aims for their inheritance. Lester wants to build a church and Jesse the best whore house in the world. Their problem is the town of Trinity is mostly filled with crooks. Not to mention it’s the end of a gold rush in the area.

They find their land is held by three men employing virtual slave labor huntingDCF 1.0 for gold, mostly played out by this time. Lester tries to talk them out of it, getting dunked for his troubles and Jesse has to step in, blasting guns from thier hands and running them off.

The humor in the film, such as it is, comes from Lester trying to reform his brother and Jesse’s resistance. They find a bit of gold, only to have it stolen on the bank’s horse train, all the guards and officials killed. Jesse tries to save it, only to learn that Lester has unloaded his gun. Lester gets them into a prize fight(fifty dollar entry fee, four hundred if they can knock the champ out). Lester has all kinds of excuses why he can’t fight the man(nonviolent, a hernia, etec.)They are forced to wash dishes to pay for their meal after the bank is robbed, where Lester has deposited their winnings. Next they take a job from a man promising they can shovel their way to wealth. The shoveling part turns out to be scooping up buffalo turds to be dried and sold as fuel.

Sam_1288Two outlaw gangs control the area. Poker(Gino Marturano), so known for his skill at gambling, controls one. Blondie(Federico Boido, billed as rick Boyd) the other. They are meeting to settle who will reign. Jesse and Lester slip in and call Poker on his claim to be the best gambler. A dice game follows with Jesse switching the dice at opportune times to clean the man out. They manage to outwit the gangs and escape.

The pair split up and Lester manages to get away with all the money. Still trying to reform his brother away from the whore house idea. The stage is held up, Lester wounded in the head just as Jesse arrives to claim his half of the money. One gets away with the loot as Jesse tries to help Lester. Turning him over to a traveling doctor, who says he can take out the brain, remove the bullet, and put the brain back into Lester’s head. “A simple operation!” He declares.

Jesse realizes his dream, Lester returns to destroy it, and the final shoot-out is decently staged. The music by Carlo Savina is a bit goofy, but perfectly fits the style of the movie. Not a great western, but decent. About a C.

Music For The Dead – Luis Gutiérrez Maluenda, Translator Nick Caistor

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Private investigator Mike Winowsky has an immense love for both jazz and23430361 bourbon. In 1940s New York it often takes him to dangerous spots. For that he carries a .38 and a set of brass knuckles.

Tonight he’s at The Cotton Club to see Count Basie about a job. It seems someone is blackmailing a member of his band, Billy Strayhorn, a homosexual and the composer of Winowsky’s current favorite TAKE THE ‘A’ TRAIN. Basie wants Winowsky to frighten the blackmailer off.

Not a complicated job as Winowsky waits to catch the fellow, a hustler named Luther Smith, getting oral gratification from a hooker in the back seat of his car. He throws enough of a scare into Smith to feel that problem was over.

However, the next morning he reads in the paper that Smith had been found strangled in his car. The time had to be shortly after Winowsky’s encounter and surely his fingerprints would be found on the scene.

He’d been framed as the visit from two sadistic cops who take great delight in trying to beat a confession out of him. Throw in a mob boss who wants Winowsky dead, a rich white gut at Smith’s funeral who breaks into tears, and a second dead body killed in the same manner make it tough as Winowsky tries to figure out what’s going on and clear his name.

Author Luis Gutiérrez Maluenda is a Spaniard. MUSIC FOR THE DEAD is the first of his crime novels translated into English.

It’s a good one.

Death In Eden – Paul J. Heald

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51M1JF7FQ-LProfessor Stanley Hopkins needed one more chapter for his book Workplace Dynamics For Women that was necessary for publication. The book would help when tenure was discussed next year at the university. He stumbles across an old fraternity friend who ran a porn film studio these days and a light bulb goes off in his head. Including women in the porn industry might help sell the book.

It was a hard sell to people at the university and his friend, Donald Johansson was enthusiastic about helping, lining up interview subjects. Eden, his studio, was about to release the first porn film to mainstream theaters, TOYS IN BABELAND, and Hopkins’ book could only help.

Hopkins and his wife, along to run the recording cameras and help with the interviews, get invited to an awards ceremony preceding the premiere, which is where things go bad.

Johansson is found passed out in his office from pills and booze, his prize star bludgeoned to death, and the murder weapon in his hand, a fraternity paddle Hopkins had brought along as a gift.

When the porn king asks his friend to prove he didn’t kill the young woman and Hopkins agrees, he suddenly finds himself in the middle of a whirlwind. The university is appalled that he’d be tied up in the middle of such goings-on. It reflected badly on them. The notion of tenure was up in smoke and his job was on the line now. His marriage might be in trouble. And all because he was helping man he hadn’t seen in years beore this business came along.

Wonderful mystery.

Overlooked Movies: Panama Lady(1939)

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downloadLucille Ball stars as Lucy, a cabaret girl stranded in Panama after the bar lays off the girls and the band because of slow business. She has a boy friend, Roy Harmon(Donald Briggs), who has abandoned her. Constantly talking marriage, but never seriously or with any real intent, he’s actually a gun smuggler. Lucy stows away on his plane and learns what he does. While a louse, he doesn’t want her killed and gets her away.

While begging the bar owner Lenore(Evelyn Brent) for even a job in the kitchen, a very drunk man, Dennis McTeague(Allan Lane), wanders into the bar flashing a big roll of cash. Lucy gets reluctantly pulled into a “rolling” scheme with Lenore and Pearl(Bernadene Hayes) that relieves a passed out McTeague of his money. He raises a stink when he wakes up and gets Lenore arrested and Lucy is about to get the same when she tells him she can take him to his money.

Unfortunately Pearl has fled, the money’s gone, and McTeague offers her aimages chance to work it off. He’s an oil speculator in South America and wants a housekeeper. She makes him draw a map to where his camp lies and leaves it in a letter for Roy. Naive person that Lucy is, she still believes he’s an honorable man.

Lucy learns that McTeague’s intentions aren’t lacivious after all and settles in to do her job, even if he’d rather she just relax.

Roy runs into a loss when the smuggling operation is raided and figures Lucy blew the whistle. Now he DOES want her dead and follows the map down to the South American camp where he learns fron Lucy that McTeague has found his oil. He hadn’t registered the land yet, waiting to confirm the find, and snooping Roy has found the papers. A row follows and Roy ends up dead, shot through the head.

Panama_ladyAn Incan house girl blames Lucy(she loves McTeague) and he has to get her out of the country.

The main story is all flashback as McTeague has found Lucy after a year in New York and they discuss the affair, including what really happened in the camp.

It was odd seeing a very young Lucille Ball when one is used to seeing housewife/klutz Lucy Ricardo. I do remember her from a Stooges short with blonde hair though.

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New In The House

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1: Loot(ARC) – Jude Watson: On a foggy night in Amsterdam, a man falls from a rooftop to the wet pavement below. It’s Archibald McQuinn, the notorious cat burglar, and he’s dying. As sirens wail in the distance, Archie manages to get out two last words to his young son, March: “Find jewels.” But March learns that his father is not talking about hidden loot. He’s talking about Jules, the twin sister March never knew he had. No sooner than the two find each other, they’re picked up by the police and sent to the world’s worst orphanage. It’s not hard time, but it feels like it. But the pair have no intention of staying put. They know their father’s business inside and out, and they’re tired of being pushed around. Just one good heist, and they’ll live the life of riches and freedom that most kids only dream about. . . . .

2: The Stolen Ones(ARC) – Owen Laukkanen: A sheriff’s deputy steps out of a diner on a rainy summer evening, and a few minutes later, he’s lying dead in the mud. When BCA agent Kirk Stevens arrives on the scene, he discovers local authorities have taken into custody a single suspect: A hysterical young woman found sitting by the body, holding the deputy’s own gun. She has no ID, speaks no English. A mystery woman. The mystery only deepens from there as Stevens and Carla Windermere, his partner in the new joint BCA–FBI violent crime task force, find themselves on the trail of a massive international kidnapping and prostitution operation.

3: The Job – Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg: The FBI had one demand when they secretly teamed up Special Agent Kate O’Hare with charming con man Nicolas Fox—bring down the world’s most-wanted and untouchable felons. This time it’s the brutal leader of a global drug-smuggling empire. The FBI doesn’t know what their target looks like, where he is, or how to find him, but Nick Fox has a few tricks up his sleeve to roust this particular Knipschildt chocolate–loving drug lord.

4: Blood Line(review copy) – John J. Davis: If your family is a target, you have to be a weapon. When a simple home invasion turns out to be not so simple, Ron Granger must put aside his quiet rural life and return to the Central Intelligence Agency to take on international arms dealers.

5: Star Trek: Foul Deeds Will Rise – Greg Cox: The U.S.S Enterprise-A is on a vital peacekeeping mission in a remote solar system beyond the boundaries of the Federation, where two warring planets—Pavak and Oyolo—are attempting to end years of bitter conflict. Crucial peace talks are being conducted aboard the Enterprise, even as Starfleet weapons inspectors oversee the disarmament process. Losses and atrocities on both sides have left plenty of hard feelings behind, so Captain James T. Kirk has his work cut out for him, even as he unexpectedly runs into a disturbing figure from his past: Lenore Karidian, the deadly daughter of Kodos the Executioner, who once tried to kill Kirk. But she has since been declared sane and rehabilitated.

6: Trial At Fort Keogh – Charles G. West: Clint Cooper, the easy-going foreman of the Double-V-Bar Ranch, expects little in return for his labor other than the satisfaction of a hard day’s work. So when Sioux raiders descend on Yellowstone Valley, threatening not only the livestock, but also the locals, it’s no surprise when Clint goes above and beyond to protect his folk and his livelihood—joining with soldiers from neighboring Fort Keogh to hunt the Sioux down. But while most people are impressed with Clint’s tracking skills and gunwork, not everyone is singing his praises. The crooked lawmen from the nearby town of Miles City have an agenda of their own, and Clint stands in the way. They want him out of commission—for good. As they try to turn the army and townspeople against him, Clint may find himself fighting against the very men whose lives he just saved….

and the ebooks:

7: West of The Big River: The Sheriff – Chuck Tyrell: Outlaws ran wild in Apache County, Arizona Territory, until the day a long-haired, straight-shooting cowboy with the unlikely name of Commodore Perry Owens pinned on the sheriff’s badge and set out to rid the county of lawlessness. Owens would need every bit of his gun skill just to stay alive as he cleaned up the territory!

8: By Blood Bound: (The Smith & Sons Saga) – Wayne D. Dundee: read and a review posted.

9: Ghost Town Belles(review copy) Chap O’Keefe: read and a review posted.

10: Thundar: Man Of Two Worlds – Stuart Byrne(writing as John Bloodstone): Michael Storm, a twentieth-century archaeologist, has stumbled upon a strange new world. Deep in the mountains of Peru, he crosses a gateway leading to a world of mutated monsters, tribal apemen, and wondrous futuristic technology. The key to Storm’s survival in this bizarre new reality is his very identity–is he the godlike warrior Thundar, spoken of in the prophecies, or merely a man in the wrong place at the wrong time? A tale of myth and adventure in the tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs. With a new introduction by the author describing his experiences in Peru after World War II and how his search for lost Incan treasure helped inspire this book.

11: Sherlock Holmes: Blood to the Bone (Fight Card) – Jack Tunney: Deptford, England, 1888 … Richard Stokes – one half of a tag-team carnival boxing duo – has vanished, leaving his loving wife, pugilist Eby Stokes, homeless and penniless with only questions and no answers. A mutual friend asks Holmes to look into the disappearance. Watson believes the matter to be a common case of abandonment, and Holmes’ interest merely an excuse to try his hand in the boxing booths of a visiting circus. However, when they are almost killed, Holmes and Watson’s only remaining clue to Stokes disappearance harkens back to a boxing club disbanded in shame more than sixty years earlier.

12: And Death Will Seize the Doctor, Too(review copy) – Jeremiah Swanson: CHRISTIAN THOMPSON HAD THE POWER to heal people with a touch of his hand, but in order to cure one person he first had to kill someone else. The man he’d come to kill on this particular night was Walter Chambers. Walter Chambers made his living by robbing houses, and sometimes he wound up killing the people who lived in them. Walter wasn’t an especially bright or talented or even cunning criminal but he did manage to get away with what he was doing for almost thirteen years before he was finally caught, tried, and sentenced to death. That sentence, as far as most people who cared to know knew, had been carried out about a half hour ago. Christian, of course, knew better.

13: Revenge is a Redhead – Phil Beloin Jr.: Rich Brown is out of cash and luck when he finds stripper Cherry Pop. Like so many before him, Rich falls for the redhead, but all he can afford is a quick peep show. But soon Rich has bigger problems than lack of love and money when he stumbles into a homeless shelter that’s really a front for a bunch of shady dealings. He crosses paths with Cherry Pop again, and to survive the night, the duo have claw their way out of all kinds of mayhem.

By Blood Bound: (The Smith & Sons Saga) – Wayne D. Dundee

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A story of a family estranged from each other. Silas Smith had fought for thecover - BY BLOOD BOUND North in the war. His Southern father-in-law, a hidebound old Rebel, had poisoned his wife and young sons minds against him so that, after years away, they hated him.

Silas walked away and had seen none of them for a dozen years. In that interim, he’d become a lawman in a small Nebraska town.

Then his mother-in-law came to see him. His wife was dead, his father-in-law had committed suicide, two of her other sons were gone. All that was left were her, her youngest and weakest son, and his two sons. She wanted them to reconnect and extracted a promise from Silas to give it a try.

This is the story of he halting steps each side takes to do that, especially when their lives depend on each other.

Another fine western from an excellent writer. Can be ordered HERE.

A Stranger In Town(Un Dollaro Tra I Denti)1967

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A STRANGER IN TOWN(released in the U.K. as A DOLLAR BETWEEN THE TEETH, probably the literal translation of the Italian title and the condition he leaves the villain with at the end) was the first of four films to feature Tony Anthony asstrangerintown the enigmatic Stranger(the only way he was ever identified). I posted on the second, THE STRANGER RETURNS, and the third, THE SILENT STRANGER, late last year. This one only got posted on Youtube lst spring. The fourth, GET MEAN, from 1975 hasn’t made it yet. There seems to be problems with that one. It was the only one not directed by Luigi Vanzi(Ferdinando Baldi did the honors for the fourth). Before release it was re-cut, against Tony Anthony’s wishes, and most hope for a DVD of the version he wanted some day.

The Stranger is an odd character. He doesn’t fight well and, as a result, gets beat up quite often in these films. But he will use exotic weapons to get back and, while he doesn’t have a lot of scruples himself, his opponents usually are much worse.

230px-Tony2In A STRANGER IN TOWN, the Stranger rides into a sleepy border town looking for a place to get some sleep. Not the only thing he wants though. He’s gotten wind of a U.S. Army troop coming to meet a Mexican unit to turn over a chest of gold being lent to the Mexican government. He witness the Mexican army arrive and be slaughtered by a gang of bandits led by Aguila(Frank Wolff) that know of the deal. He inserts himself into the proceedings by convincing Aguila he’s an American Army captain sent to smooth transition because he knows the Mexican colonel and the American lieutenant in charge of the gold, the only one who knows both.

It’s all a ruse though as we see him approach the lieutenant, drawing a gun in200px-Sit40 hiding from Aguila, and apprising the lieutenant of the trap if he doesn’t co-operate.

For putting the deal over, the Stranger wants half of the gold. Aguila is not so generous, offering him only a single coin as payment.

The rest of the film is them pursuing him, the Stranger dogging them later, picking them off one at a time(he now states that he wants all the gold for their betrayal), a savage beating from fists, then a woman with a whip, and the final showdown as he takes on the gang with a double barreled shotgun that fires solid slugs instead of buckshot.

A pretty good western shot on a tiny budget, spare sets, even sparer dialogue.

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Totally Dead: A Streeter Thriller – Michael Stone

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51cHmcigN2LPizzeria owner Alphonse Lucci is an old man who’s pretty much a straight arrow these days. Even when much younger, he was never more than a minor, a very minor, player in the mobster business. Not nearly as tough as the real thing.

But Streeter is a different matter entirely. So when a self-styled bad-ass, Fred Disanto, tries to force Alphonse into selling his restaurant to finish a land deal a bit shady that would land him a mint and the old man resists(he started the restaurant with his dad after WWII), Lucci turns to Streeter for help. With a soft spot for the likeable old man, Streeter decides to help…and gets pulled into a deadly mess that could leave them both dead.

A lot of players want in on the deal and are even more ruthless than Disanto.

Fine thriller. Brash Books will release this book on February 3rd. Below is the original cover.

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