In researching MAY GOD FORGIVE YOU, I WON’T(another variant, God May Forgive You..BUT I Won’t) on the Spaghetti Western Database, i learned there are several versions of this film. In the original Italian it was a morality play with a framing sequence cut from the international releases. In it Cjamango(George Ardisson) is an elderly man talking to a small Mexican boy named Manuel in a cemetery over the grave of his parents. The boy has sworn vengeance on the murderers. The main part of the story is all flashback as Cjamango(converted to Django in some releases) tells of his own vengeance trail and what playing God did to him. A straight ahead vengeance movie in all other releases.
As the film opens, Cjamango MacDonald is leaving the family ranch to withdraw the final payment from the bank for the mortgage owned by the hated Stuarts. I snickered when we see the father working in a small garden and strains of “Old MacDonald had a farm” briefly crossed my mind. While Cjamango is away, a half dozen riders raid the place and slaughter his father, kid brother, and little sister. In the distance we see a man observing the proceedings through a one barrel spy glass.
Garcia Barrica Ramirez(Ignazio Spalla, billed as Pedro Sanchez) had been passing by and heard the gunfire, investigating. A portly fellow in duster and derby, he will be the key to Cjamango finding the killer and eventually who hired them. He will also be the comic relief in the film. You see some of that in the trailer below.
Cjamango returns home to find his family murdered, does the crying over little sister’s body, and though we don’t see it, one presumes buries them. Next we see him riding up to the Stuart ranch with the payment, demanding the deed, and riding off. Old man Stuart is confined to a wheelchair and complains it’s Cjamango’s fault. Cjamango points out that his father had simply been faster on the draw.
Barrica is watching this through his little spyglass and follows Cjamango when he leaves the Stuart place. When he’s confronted, he explains what he saw and how he can help Cjamango. Whcih sets up his vengeance trial. The first pair are found playing poker in the town saloon. Our hero invites himself in and then clears the room when he produces a picture of his family. Just the pair of them and him, cutting them down. The third man is in the Mexican sector of town. While Cjamango goes for him, we see Barrica’s real motives. He collects the two bodies and puts them in a wagon. He’s colecting bounties and letting his “friend” collect the bodies for him.
When Cjamango confronts the Mexican, entertaining a topless hooker in a room, the man begs for his life, claiming he was forced to go along, finally trying to get Cjamango with a knife. He gives off another clue when he reveals that the Smart brothers, in the pay of wheelchair bound Stuart, led the raid on the MacDonald ranch. As he begs for his life, Cjamango puts his gun in his mouth(see the first poster) and pulls the trigger. The title of the English dubbed version derives from a line in this sequence. The man begs for forgiveness and Cjamango delivers the title back at him(also in the trailer).
The Smarts, Dick(Anthony Ghidra) and Jack(Pete Martell), lead a ruthless band of about thirty outlaws. Both have five thousand dollar bounties on their heads.The younger Jack is a fast gun, but also a heavy drinking alcoholic. Cjamango cuts him down in a saloon after his brother and the gang have left to pull a bank job. Barrica plays the friend of Jack Smar wanting to take him back to the family to be buried. The undertaker laughs at him, knowing of the reward. But he will take a bribe. Dick Smart has already paid him for a first class funeral, one he dare not provide, so a bit more money and an empty coffin are much easier.
Dick Smart wants him bad now and when Stuart demands he do something immediately, he guns the old man and his son down, sets out with his band to find Django.
That is all the way in a circle as Cjamango heads to the Stuart ranch to confront Stuart.
Let me take a moment here to touch on the Shakespearean elements of our story. Stuart has a daughter, Virginia(Cristina Iosani), who was once Cjamango’s fiance. But the feuding families broke them up. Hmm, sounds familiar doesn’t it.
Over the last half of the film, Cjamango is captured, beaten nearly to death, and as Dick Smart is about to put a bullet in his head, is saved by Barrica, who arrives and points out that ten thousand has been collected by Cjamango, failing to mention that it’s in his own pocket, and only he knows where it’s hid. Cjamango is tied hand and foot and tossed in a barn until they can torture the location out of him. Our hero then manages a miracle of an escape. Producing a match from his pocket and sets the straw on fire, then sets the ropes binding his hands, behind his back, afire without burning his hands, until they separate.
A merry chase where he plays cat and mouse with Smart and his band, picking them off one at a time from high ground(in the trailer) until he loses them. Visiting an old friend of his father’s who he knows has a Gatling gun from the war, he sets the band up, Barrica and him cutting a swath through the men whittling them down until only Smart and his lieutenant are left for that final showdown. The lieutenant violates a cardinal rule in his battle with Cjamango: never bring a knife to a gunfight.
Here was another miracle(heh) in the Gatling scenes. With all those bullets flying, and the gang ruthlessly obliterated, not a single horse was hit. We see bodies strewn over a large area, not a horse body in sight. At the beginning of the sequence, we do see a couple tripped up by that technique of yanking their front legs out from under them. Forget what it’s called and it’s not used anymore I believe.
An otherwise routine effort directed by Vincenzo Musolini(he did two), the film score by Felice de Stefano saves it. Pretty decent though not the best I’ve heard.