Vengeance stars Richard Harrison as Joko Barrett, a half breed outlaw out for vengeance against the five men who killed one friend and were responsible for the death of another. It was directed by Italian horror-meister Antonio Margheriti> He made five spaghetti westerns with mixed results. The only other one I’ve seen was AND GOD SAID TO CAIN, which starred Klaus Kinski.
Joko and his friends had robbed a shipment of gold and been betrayed by one of them, Domingo(Luciano Piggozzi, billed as Alan Collins), the last man hired. The story of the robbery is told in flashback on into the film, four men, Jokko, Domingo, a young acrobat named Richie(Alberto Dell’Aqua) and Mendoza(Claudio Camosa), the leader and planner. He liked to be called the Professor.
Domingo was to guard the horses while the other three went for the gold. Richie used his acrobatic skills to climb and lower himself down a narrow chimney. Jojjo and Mendoza set up a distraction, tying a long rope, one end to a turning water wheel, the other to support posts in the fortress. Once Richie let them in, Mendoza went to work on the safe, his extra good ears enabling him to hear the tumblers click. Just as they are unloading the safe, the double-crosser and his cohorts attack. Time is running out and Mendoza tells them to flee while he covers them. He doesn’t make it out, the building collapsing around the outlaw leader.
Once free of the doomed building, Joko gives the gold to Richie and returns to try to help Mendoza. That’s where the separation happens and leads to the opening of the film.
The film opens with five men surrounding one, Richie, ropes on his arms, legs, and torso, and demanding to know where Jokko was hiding. The boy refuses to tell, probably doesn’t know, and is eventually ripped apart by the five horsemen going in different directions. They don’t show that though.
The rest of the film is Joko tracking down the five men one at a time. He carries five pieces of blood-soaked rope to return to the five killers. He finds the betrayer first and gets a few names from him before killing him. The five showdowns are well staged, with quite a bit of action there, and Jokko getting his bit of vengeance with the pieces of rope before they die.
He’s also being trailed by a mysterious man all in black who is revealed quickly to be a Pinkerton detective, Lester(Paolo Gozlino, billed as Paul Lino), the agency having been retained to recover the money. He manages to pop up now and again, helping Jokko a couple of times. He says he’s only interested in recovering the gold.
Margheriti’s horror roots rear up a few times. The aforementioned rending of Richie, as well as toothpicks prizing Joko’s eyelids open when he’s captured and staked out in the sun, not to mention in the middle of a fight with one of the five, when the man decides to change the parameters of the “fair” fight he’d demanded, Joko grabs a support beam and rears his legs up to catch his spurs in the man’s throat.
Not a bad film, but I think I must be smarter than Joko. I figured out who the fifth man, the leader, was long before out hero.
Here’s the German trailer(couldn’t find one in English):