I once made a comment elsewhere that the spaghetti genre was made up of films good, bad, and very ugly(pun intended). HIS NAME WAS KING falls somewhere between bad and very ugly. Not a great film, but not nearly as bad as other reviews I’ve read. It stars Richard Harrison as John ‘King’ Marley, a bounty hunter looking for the Benson brothers, four men who smuggled guns into Mexico. They’d hijacked a shipment that included Winchesters, ammunition, dynamite, and six Gatling guns.
He walks into a trap early in the film when he got word that the brothers were waiting in a certain area, only to find four other men. When he asks where they are, a voice behind him says “One of them is right here with a gun on you.” He surrenders his rifle to the Benson brother.
Marley didn’t like criminal types because they’d killed his parents. Those feelings get ramped up when the remaining three Bensons follow his brother and his new bride, bursting in on the bedroom and rape the bride, kill the brother, and let her take the buggy back to town. They want to smoke Marley out.
He’s playing poker with his buddy lawman Brian Foster(Klaus Kinski) when she stumbles into the office. Brian offers to get up a posse, but Marley refuses, saying he’ll do it himself. Brian nods and is left to watch over Marley’s sister-in-law, which he does to the point of killing his own deputy when he finds the man has raped her. His rational is that she’s already been raped, which disgusts Brian.
The plot is a bit murky from this point. A government agent claims to have papers linking Marley to the gun smugglers, his signature on a paper, though his friend, an army Colonel, doesn’t believe it. An arrest warrant is put out though. Marley, visited by the Colonel, is told what a terrible headache he got from the blow and a horse just happens to be tied up in back.
The script was by Renato Savino and directed by Ginacarlo Romitelli. They manage to thrown a few twists in the second half of the film that redeems it from being a total loss. Harrison wears a goofy looking hat that makes him look stupid at certain angles. Hw works better as the stalwart hero when bareheaded. Despite all the posters. Kinski doesn’t have a huge part, though it’s crucial at the end. He is, as always, a delight in the scenes in which he appears. One jarring note I noticed in this spaghetti, more than any other film of his, was the voice used for the dubbing. It didn’t seem to go with him here. Having seen Kinski in a number of English language films, he has a very distinctive voice. The one here was an American accented voice that looked, frankly, stupid, serving as Kinski’s.
The clip below is the theme song sung by Anne Collin. Below that is the trailer, in Italian, but gives you a flavor of the film.