Genre: Spaghetti Western/ Action/ Comedy
Director: Gianfranco Parolini
WORTH A LOOK
At first The Return Of Sabata looks like it’s going to be a screed against taxation.
When Sabata (Lee Van Cleef) arrives in town, he finds that McIntock (Giampiero Albertini) is taxing everything in town, supposedly to finance future improvements to the town’s infrastructure.
By repeatedly refusing to pay the taxes, it would appear that Sabata is against the idea of raising revenues for the general good. But screenwriters Gianfranco Parolini and Renato Izzo have a more sophisticated point of view than that. Notice that all the taxes are regressive. The poor have to pay just as much as the rich. Then it turns out that McIntock plans on absconding with the money.
Actually, The Return Of Sabata is a critique of government which states that it is for the people, but in fact works only for the ruling class. In such a government, taxes ARE theft, and voting is pointless because the entire system is corrupt from top to bottom. I suspect that the screenwriters were commenting on the situation in Italy at the time.
But that’s only the context of The Return Of Sabata. How is it as entertainment? I didn’t like it much, I’m afraid.
Lee Van Cleef, with his know-it-all smirk, is an acquired taste, to say the least. I was hoping that Return Of Sabata would feature a surfeit of cleverness, but there isn’t all that much to be found from Sabata himself. He fashions himself a unique revolver, but other than that, he seems to simply be omniscient and omnipotent, which isn’t very interesting. Somewhat novel are two acrobats in the cast. One uses a trampoline to jump long and high distances. He can also do amazing flips and even jump off tall buildings, shown in an unbroken cut. That’s kind of neat. The other guy can shoot a giant slingshot, sitting on his ass and spreading his legs wide to hold the sling. Wacky!
I don’t mind humor in spaghetti westerns, but I prefer that it be below the surface, emerging naturally through the characters. Here the tone is aggressively tongue in cheek, as evidenced by the jokey score.
This is the kind of movie in which there are endless double crosses, but Sabata is always one step ahead of the sharpies and cons.
I don’t know. For me, it got old. Maybe I’m just the wrong audience for this flick.