IF YOU MEET SARTANA PRAY FOR YOUR DEATH was the first of five official films to feature the character. there were a number of films that featured the fellow that were mere ripoffs riding the coattails of the franchise. Gianni Garko played him in four of the spaghetti westerns and George Hilton essayed the role in the third entry.
This opening film is loaded with veterans of the genre in Klaus Kinski(Morgan), Fernando Sancho(Jose Manuel Mendoza), and William Berger(Lasky) being the main ones. A few other sprinkled through in minor roles.
The plot involves an insurance swindle perpetrated by those folks in charge, a bank director, rich men, hiring a Mexican gang, Mendoza’s, to steal a strong-box, and an American gang, led by Lasky, to kill the Mexicans. A mysterious stranger, Sartana, steps into the middle of this fight, revolving around rival gangs, the town’s bigwigs and the search for the missing loot. The usual sorts of double crosses follow, Sartana making sure he comes out on top.
The name “Sartana” first appeared in the film Blood at Sundown (Mille dollari sul nero, 1967), in which Garko played an antagonist called El General Sartana, completely unrelated to the later film series. But it was noticed, the film’s success in Germany, known by the short title Sartana. Italian producer Aldo Addobbati noticed that and set up a production deal with a German producer in Italy. Garko was signed with a clause giving him script approval.
One of the best of the spaghetti genre.