1. Straniero... fatti il segno della croce!
(Demofilo Fidani, 1968)
Notice how I didn't list an English title for this (I nearly always do)? There isn't one listed for it on IMDb, but when I was looking for the movie that appears next in my list for this month, I typed in one of the English titles for that on Amazon Prime and got this film. I started watching it thinking it was the other one - same director, similar run time, and of course you can't always trust the names on the English dubs of Italian films for actors and whatnot. By the time I realized my mistake (no FARDIN) I said fuck it, might as well watch the whole thing. I'd advise you not to do the same - or watch the next one unless you're going for those elusive Iranian Western doubles this month, because both films pretty much sucked. Looking at the ratings for Fidani's films as a whole and a couple of reviews, it's pretty clear he's no Sergio L, C or S, and not even on the level of a Castellari or Parolini. Maybe save this shit for the low ratings challenge later this year?
Anyway, this one like the next is basically a story of a guy wanting revenge, and a guy wanting money - no third member of the team here though. Bounty hunter and crippled son of victim of bad guy clean up town, create lots of dead bodies, deal with lots of bad people. Charles Southwood is handsome but pretty bland as the bounty hunter, Jeff Cameron is a bit less handsome and maybe less bland as Lucas Carson, the wronged dude. There's one pretty cool scene involving a canteen, mirror and hidden gun, but otherwise this is sub-par in just about every respect.
2. Ed ora... raccomanda l'anima a Dio! / Mardaneh bekosh / Stranger Say Your Prayers / etc, etc
(Demofilo Fidani, 1968)
Listed as a part-Iranian production, with one producer (Hooshang Kaveh) and one of the trio of protagonists (Mohammad Ali Fardin) hailing from the land of roses. How much other involvement there may have been, I don't know - this is one of the more obscure spaghettis and there's nothing I can find about where it was filmed or the nature of the production - why an Iranian actor? It's true that Iranian films in this period were doing a lot of the same things Italian films were doing - cannibalizing genres, trying to rip off better-known productions from the USA or Europe, etc, but info on Iranian films from the 60s is even scarcer than for the low-end spaghettis. So I dunno what made Fardin go to Italy or Spain or wherever this was filmed, but he certainly fits the look of the western hero - or villain - reasonably well -
He's the guy on the left, a prospector who wants to find the men who stole his gold and left him for dead; Fabio Testi on the right is the only surviving member of a family gunned down years before who wants revenge - and a signature on his property claim, stolen by the killers. They're travelling by stage to Denver City when the coach is held up, only to be rescued by the third of the trio, Jeff Cameron, who also has a reason to go to Denver City which is...I don't know. Not much in this film is explained well, and motivations for the large cast of bad guys, women, and good guys seem to come down to greed or revenge, period. Sloppy editing, mediocre music, half-assed gunfights and fistfights all add up to one of the weakest Italian westerns I've seen - and one of the worst Iranian films. Fardin shows some charisma here and doesn't seem out of his element but this seems to have been his only foreign venture, though again who knows given the incomplete data available. He had also developed a career as a writer/director by this point, and in fact one of his bigger hits, the musical Soltan ghalba / King of the Hearts
appeared this same year.