Klaus Kinski has always been a favorite of mine. The German actor has a very distinctive look and was such a good actor that he tended to dominate any film in which he appeared. He was in as many spaghetti westerns as any of the big stars, though he was only the good guy in a few. The one big thing I missed in these westerns was that voice. English dubbing gave us more than a few different “voices” for him, none as stand out as his normal one. And he still managed to take over most of these movies.
Though Kinski had top billing in BLACK KILLER, he was really only a peripheral player whose motives for is actions were never clear until the end. Even there, it was open to several interpretations. I went with the one that suggested he might be-no I won’t spoil it for anyone wishing to see this one. Watch it when you can and make your own decisions.
He’s a man known as James Webb and he rides into Tombstone at the beginning, decked out in a fancy suit, leading a pack horse loaded with books tied into bundles of a half dozen or so. He comes across as a lawyer though, spouting laws and statutes at the drop of a hat, mostly to the local judge, Wilson(Dante Maggio, billed as Dan May). Mostly he spends most scenes peering out of a window(he has a room above the saloon overlooking Main Street, peeking around curtains or doors, and generally spying on the outlaw portion of Tombstone.
The outlaws being the O’Hara brothers. There mother was obviously Mexican as their names are Ramon, Chico, Pedro, Slide, and Ryan. Ramon is a bit more refined than his brothers. He wears the fancy suits, owns the saloon, and supposedly doesn’t engage in the illegal activities of his brothers.
The main story is Bud Collins(Fred Robsahm), a gunman riding into town to see his brother after a few years. He finds Peter(Jerry Ross) and his Indian bride, Sarah(Marina Malfatti, billed as Marina Mulligan) living in a small house in the country, having been displaced from the family property in town by the O’Hara.
In an early shootout between two factions, we learn James Webb’s law books are a bit more. He always has a couple of thick volumes in his arms in which have hollowed out centers that hold six shooters, triggers cocked, and a string connected to a ring outside. Tug on a ring and the gun shoots. He uses them a number of times to aid in whatever situation is needed. He also has a neat lock picking ability he engages to investigate the Judge’s activities. He persuades Collins to take the Sheriff job that has suddenly came open(The O’Haras have killed the last nine) and pushes him to do something about it.
The final showdown is not quite as dramatic as the posters imply. Collins and Webb don’t stand side by side in the street shooting it out with the O’Hara brothers, though they do work together.
One other difference from your standard spaghetti western. It’s use of female nudity was quite liberal, both front and back. The camera especially liked to pan slowly up from behind, foot to head, with a long, lingering look at one young woman’s butt, a saloon owner named Consuela(Tiziana Dini). Don’t get me wrong. It was quite nice. As was Sarah Collins’s in one shot.
The first clip is the excellent theme song. The second is the opening segment, in Italian, showing Kinski entering Tombstone. ON that note, BLACK KILLER seemed to be the Italian title, though it has several others in releases in other countries. Another oddity I noticed at the last minute. In all the posters, Kinski’s last name is spelled with a Y at the end instead of an I, though the credits have an I. Don’t know whther that was the Italian spelling or not. Never noticed that before.