A SKY FULL OF STARS FOR A ROOF was a 1968 spaghetti western comedy three years before the Trinity films pumped new life into a western genre that was already showing gray whiskers. It stars Giuliano Gemma, one of the genre’s giants, and Mario Adorf, a German actor that filmed more German westerns than Italian, as Tim and Harry, respectively. It was a buddy film before that term came into popular use and the reason for one of the various tiles(AMIGOS) it was released under. Tim is a con man and Harry a miner that is mostly gullible and falls in with Tim’s various plans with little convincing(again a staple of the Trinity films). Unlike a lot of spaghetti films, there’s not a high body count, though there are more than a few along the way. The clip here demonstrates all of them.
The pair meet when Tim is burying the victims of a gang of cutthroats killed by a gang led by a vicious killer named Roger Pratt(Federico Boido, billed as Rick Boyd), a stage coach with a driver and three passengers, one a blonde woman, simply because one of them heard he was on the stage, he being Tim, aka Billy Boy. We don’t know until late in the picture why they want him, a past indiscretion. They part ways only to run into each other in a saloon where Harry is playing cards and about to be cheated until Tim steps in and a brawl breaks out.
Harry asks later why Tim doesn’t carry a gun out here where one is necessary for survival. Tim claims he’s too nervous, showing his shaking hands. Not really it though. He’s quite deadly with both rifle and short gun, demonstrated quite admirably when the time comes.
The film doesn’t really have a plot, but is a series of adventures, or maybe misadventures is a better word, as Tim leads him into one after another failed ‘businesses’ in order to pay him back for fleecing him out of his gold early in the movie. As mentioned Harry is a bit gullible. He wants his gold back, having saved every bit he could for six months in order to refurbish a ranch left to him by a deceased uncle, a really broken down spot.
One after another fail. The fake telegraph operation, the strong man/fire eater with the couple already working a scam of their own(see the real mermaid in her pool of water, only a quarter).
Tim also has an eye for the ladies. The pair joins a funeral party when the Pratt gang is closing in. When he gets an eye on the beautiful widow, Dorothy MacDonald(Magda Konopka), he whispers another group of lies to Harry, that her husband stole two hundred bags of gold and was the only one of the gang that didn’t end up in prison. Only he could get the location out of the widow. His charm works as he’s dallying with the widow while conning Harry into digging up the gold, having gotten the hiding spot from her. He also flirts with the mermaid lady while Harry is doing the fire eater act and is found by one of the Pratt gang as he sets his mask afire, ripping it off ans setting the exhibit ablaze as well.
They beat a hasty retreat.
Finally arriving at the ranch, even more dilapidated than Harry had imagined, the pair set about repairing it. And the gang s closing in, joined by now by Pratt’s father, Samuel(veteran actor Anthony Dawson). That’s where the showdown is staged.
Not a bad little film. I’ve seen better, worse. Directed by Giulio Petroni, it ranks below two others he did and personal favorites. DEATH RIDES A HORSE which starred Lee Van Cleef, a revenge picture, and TEPAPA starring Tomas Milan, a political picture. As always, the film score by the always superb Ennio Morricone lifts this one several notches in my eyes. The clip below is the theme song, quite good, making use of acoustic guitar, banjo, violins, and whistling.
I couldn’t find an English language version of the trailer. There were a number downloaded on Youtube, all the same, and all in Italian. It will give you the flavor of the film though. Spaghetti westerns were never long on dialogue anyway, full of action instead.