7 DOLLARS ON THE RED, Seven Dollars To Kill in some places, was one of the early spaghetti westerns, most filming done in 1965, and helped set a lot of the conventions of the Euro westerns of that era. It was one of sixty pictures released in 1966. I have to agree with one review I read. You have to be a real fan of this genre of western, and I am, to appreciate it with all it’s plot holes.
It’s a simple story of a man, Johnny Ashley(Anthony Steffen), spending a lifetime looking for his son. He’d been away for an extended period in some sort of fight never fully explained and was returning home to see his family, a wife, father-in-law, and his two year old son, Jerry. he gets home to find his wife and father-in-law shot to death and his son missing. The title comes from the seven silver dollars left by the killer on his wife’s red skirt.
El Cachal(Fernando Sancho) had led the raid on Ashley’s home and decided on the spur of the moment to prevent the killing of the child, taking him home to his wife Rosario who’d never born him any children. She’s not happy about it at first and, while he’s complaining about the slim pickings, she finds a piece of paper that’s a life insurance policy on the child, a Jerry Ashley, hiding it, and, when asked about a name for the boy, says Jerry. It seems to suit El Cachal. Fernando Sancho has played this same role in many spaghettis, a big blustery Mexican bandit, big waistline, crossed belts of bullets, big sombrero, full mustache, and long, greasy hair flailing about. If you’ve ever seen more than a few of these things, you’ve likely seen him. He likes to smakc women around and indiscriminately kills anyone that crosses him, or that he feels did.
And he raises the boy to be the same sort of stone cold killer.
Johnny Ashley spends twenty years roaming back and forth across the west looking for his son or proof that he’s dead. He hunts down every outlaw he comes across, refusing to wear a badge and sit around waiting for the outlaws to come to him. But in that twenty years, he doesn’t appear to age other than a few gray hairs at his temples. No lines across the face, the same lean physique. It’s established that his son is a grown man before we see Ashley wearing different clothes and riding another horse. El Cachal doesn’t age either. The boy grows into a man and his “mother,” Rosario, age though.
A story like this can’t end well and so it happens. The showdowns, first with El Cachal, then with his own son, the truth known by then as Rosario pleads with him not to kill the young man, spilling the secret she’s carried all those years.
Not a grea film, but an enjoyable one. Anthony Steffen wasn’t the greatest actor, but his emotionless style worked in this setting. Directed by Alberto Cardone, it seemed liked a ultitude of writers had a hand in the script. It does have a superior film score by Francesco De Masi.
Liked this one.
The trailer is not in English. There was one on Youtbe, but it was disabled so you couldn’t download it, watch only. But you can see the action anyway.