Giuliano Gemma started out as a stunt man in Italian cinema in the early sixties, then starred in a picture or two before getting into the burgeoning Italian western genre(not yet known by the spaghetti western sobriquet yet). ADIOS GRINGO was his fourth western in 1965. The Ringo pictures(A Pistol for…and The Return of) had already made him a star. This one was his biggest box office hit to date. It was based on a Harry Whittington western(Adios in the IMDb credits it says based on the novel Adios though I can find no listing for Whittington under that title).
ADIOS GRINGO has a more Hollywood look than most spaghetti westerns. the manner of dress of all the characters, the less cynical outlook of our hero, and the overall look of the film.. But it is loaded with violence in the form of fist fights(several) and gunfights(also several) like any good spaghetti western should. And in the manner of a lot of spaghetti westerns, most actors and crew names were Americanized. Gemma often used Montgomery Wood.
Brent Landers(Gemma) is a man out to clear his name. A cowpuncher who’d just bought a small piece of land, he’s looking to buy some cattle. He runs into an old acquaintance with a small herd to sell. Jack Dawson(Nello Pazzafini, billed as Ted Carter) even has a bill of sale. Brent checked. When he drives the cattle into Johnson City, he learns they were stolen from the big rancher in the area. The man doesn’t want to hear anything about his buying the cattle. He rips the bill of sale, a fake, to shreds and draws his gun, firing three times. Brent is rolling around and finally realizes if he doesn’t do something, he will be dead.
The rancher’s wife is there and knows the true story. Still she screams bloody murder and the townspeople have a lynching in mind. Brent fights his way clear and rides off, vowing to bring proof that Jack Dawson is ultimately responsible. The new widow puts a five thousand dollar bounty on his head.
He begins following a trail, the last direction he saw Dawson heading, and keeps finding clues. A blacksmith in one town admits putting a new shoe on the right fore hoof. He’s also traveling with two other men now. He’s about a week behind them.
While investigating an old campsite, he hears a moan and finds a young woman staked out naked and burned badly, as well as having been raped repeatedly. We learn her name is Lucy Tillson(Ida Galli, billed as Evelyn Stewart), the daughter of a preacher who was returning from the East where she’d been to school. The stage she was on had been held up and she’d been taken by the three outlaws, then left to die after they had their way with her.
When he gets her to the nearest town for treatment, Doctor Verne Barfield(Roberto Camardiel)is very helpful. When she’s situated, Brent plans to leave and continue his hunt. But Lucy has fixated on him and he’s convinced to hang around for a while. In a month, they are stepping out when the stage arrives, prompting her to faint. She says three men behind the stage were the ones who’d raped her.
Brent has already seen that one of them was Jack Dawson. One of the others was the son of the richest rancher in town. His name is Avery Ranchester(Massimo Righi, billed as Max Dean) and, as we used to say when I was younger, not playing with a full deck, a couple of cans short of a six pack, two bricks shy of a load, the elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top. You get the idea. Daddy Clayton(Pierre Cresoy, billed as Peter Cross) doesn’t believe it at first, but finally realizes the truth. He also wants to protect little son and sets out to make Brent the bad guy, one of the three outlaws that took her. For that plan to be bought, Lucy has to be taken care of, as well as Brent.
The only allies the pair have in town are the Doctor and Sheriff Saul “Tex” Slaughter(Jesus Puente), a gruff sort that has seen Brent’s wanted poster and muses that five thousand dollars would come in handy with a wife and child. But he’s much to honest and believes Brent’s tale of the truth of the poster.
I liked this one a lot. As mentioned, this seemed a hybrid of American and Italian westerns. It was on Youtube, both broke down in then minute chunks and whole(which is what I watched). The sound track for sound effects( fist fights, gun shots) was a bit off in parts of the film. It was amusing to see Gemma throw a punch, then hear the slap of fist to face a second later. Same with gunshots. And whoever wrote the lines for the English dubbing didn’t pay a lot of attention. In one breath, Gemma’s character tells Dawson to walk this way, then in the next yells “don’t come any closer!”
And finally, the title. It’s the first I’ve seen that’s the same in Italian as the American release, though there are variations for other countries. It also didn’t make sense, the Gringo part I mean. No where in the picture did I see a Mexican looking character. All Caucasian types.