KILL THE POKER PLAYER is the title of the American release of this 1972 spaghetti western, a fairly innocuous one as spaghettis go. The print I watched on Youtube, low quality by the way, had it labeled with this title. But within the film credits, it had a title I thought much better: Creeping Death. That comes from the killer’s use of poisonous snakes.
The movie opens with a bank robbery, one million dollars. The stick-up man uses a six gun with a silencer attached (don’t explain them). After relieving them of the cash, he shoots the president and two clerks. As it’s a windy day, the little sound he makes with his silenced gun is covered. In the saloon, a confederate decked out as a union officer is on hand. The bank president, not dead, staggers out with a gun. We learn there’s a third man, unseen, who shoots the bank man. The Union officer guns down those in the bar when they react and the two men beat it out of town.
Shortly they are joined by the third man while eating. The camera angle, the big hat, and never showing him from the front, guarantee we will not know the man. The first two man wake up later to find poisonous snakes sitting on their chests.
That’s the mystery of this film. Who is the third man that cold-blood murdered his partners?
Robert Wood rides into town and identifies himself as Jonathan Pinkerton, an agent for Lloyd’s of London who’d insured the bank money. It’s his job to find thaat third man and the money. a two hundred thousand dollar reward is on the line.
A number of suspects are offered. The sheriff Lewis Burton(Frank Braña), who Pinkerton witnesses shooting down an outlaw he’d induced to surrender, Doctor Norton( Ernesto Colli), a zoologist who specializes in snakes would seem the obvious suspect. Third on the list is a saloon owner(Carlo Gaddi) and his girl friend(Nieves Navarro, billed as Susan Scott), and a local rancher, Clinton( Ivano Staccioli ), who claims to be broke from rustling, horse thievery, and bad poker playing.
Halfway through we learn Pinkerton is really Alan Fields, a Federal agent brought in on the case.
Someone wants him off the case though as he’s constantly challenged by groups of men. Forynately he’s handy with his fists and gun, whatever’s needed.
Then the suspects start getting knocked off and Fields is framed for them. But he keeps pushing until the third man reveals himself.