Friday, May 31, 2019
They Call me Trinity (1970) and Trinity is Still My Name (1971)
They Call Me Trinity
The lazy outlaw Trinity, known as the Right Hand of the Devil for his shooting prowess, has just come into town, where his gruff brother Bambino has become the sheriff. Hardly happy to see Trinity, but happy at least to get some help, Bambino tells him how he managed to inadvertently become the law of this town. Unfortunately he's having trouble while waiting for his gang to come pick him up. It seems that a local Major has his eye set on the wide pastures owned by a group of Mormon farmers, and will go to any lengths to get his hands on it. Together, the duo concoct a plan to protect the farmers, and to steal the Major's prized horses for themselves...
Coming at a time when the western genre was in a bit of a slump, They Call Me Trinity gave it new life for a time with its comedic nature, and talented leads. It's a great watch, with an effective story. The film runs a little long though at almost two hours. Not that it's boring, or that I'd mind watching these two cowboys for two hours, but the plot is still pretty simple, a 90 minute plot stretched out.
There's action aplenty here, and it's the kind of fun Tom and Jerry style violence that never fails to make you laugh, where the bad guys constantly get the stuffing knocked out of them but no one is ever seriously hurt (well, except for the ones who are killed, anyway). The brawls are lots of fun, and time and time again, Bud and Terence remind you why you should never mess with them! There's just the right amount of action, and the movie balances them out with scenes of =.
With its lighthearted tone, They Call Me Trinity is often hilarious to watch. The opening scene is a perfect introduction not only to the film, but the Hill and Spencer outings in general! The film is a funny take on the western genre while also not being a full-on parody, and certainly not a mean one. This is a comedy that loves being a western! Probably my favourite line of the film comes courtesy of Bambino. "One store destroyed, three heads split like overripe melons. One man wounded and one man castrated. All in two hours, just two hours I left you alone, two hours!"
The characters are the other highlight of the film. Trinity is a goofball who could kill you stone dead in the wink of an eye, if he doesn't fall asleep first, and Bambino is a stone-faced giant who's probably spending the whole movie fantasizing of killing his brother.
The farmers are likeable enough, despite being Mormons, which I consider an impressive feat! The conflict between them and the Major is firmly established, with the villains being a real low down bunch of varmints. The Major could easily get what he wants, since there's more than enough room for both parties, and the Mormons are open to sharing. He's your typical 'If I can't have it all, I want nothing!' bozo. Mezcal and his cronies are an amusing bunch too, with bizarre and outrageous personalities that make him amusing to watch.
The acting here is a lot of fun. Terence Hill and Bud Spencer are polar opposites, and do great jobs, carrying the movie very well! Hill has a blue-eyed boyish charm, and Spencer's stoic nature is complemented by his occasional displays of emotion. Farley Granger's performance is a bit weird, but then again I think he was always like that. The only real downsides for me in the cast besides the sometimes annoying Chico was that it's sometimes a little hard to tell who's who in the final brawl.
The music in They Call Me Trinity is famous, for good reason. The main theme is one of the best that ever graced a spaghetti western, and whether it's taken in an ironic way or totally seriously, it's still a great tune! The scoring in the final showdown is a bit weird though. Tender and serene chords, while a bunch of people beat the crap outta each-other!
Not only is this a great place to start with Terence Hill and Bud Spencer (it's where I got mine!), if you're looking for a fun western, as well as one that'll make you laugh, look no further than They Call Me Trinity...
Now if only the American distributors would release less ratty copies, because Jesus Christ!...
Trinity is Still My Name
Trinity comes home to his ma and pa, who are as happy to see them as Bambino isn't. The parents concoct a little scheme to force the two to move past their differences and work together, to try to become the fearsome outlaws their mother and father always wanted them to be. This goes less well when expected when the brothers can't help but assist the people they're supposed to be robbing, and fight against a criminal scheme that's causing trouble from town to town...
Trinity is Still my Name is a perfect example of a sequel done right. It brings just enough of the same, while also adding new things to the table, and expanding on what came before.
The movie starts out more as a series of vignettes than a story-driven vehicle, and it's hilarious to watch! Eventually a plot does rear its head, and it's a pretty decent one, even if it is only a means to an end (that end being bad guys getting hit a lot). A downside to this though is that the film reaches what amounts to its first act in what would be the last in most other pictures. It's also a little hard remembering who's who when we're in a new location every 20 minutes.
The humour in Trinity is Still my Name is great! We've got a few golden recurring jokes, that repeat to great effect, and just enough as to not be overused. Also iconic is Terence Hill's 'slap and draw' scene.
As for the familiar elements present, we've got the typical sharpshooting and punch-ups. The final battle is similar enough to the one from the last movie (and different enough to feel fresh), but it's a lot easier to tell who's who this time. The choice of music is still a bit weird, but it's a great finale!
The rascally but good-natured (depending on the person) Trinity is as endearing as usual,while you can't help but feel sorry for poor Bambino. All the big lug wants to do is rob a stagecoach, but he keeps getting roped into doing the right thing.
The family the duo keep bumping into are likeable enough, and the daughter is a pretty love interest.
The villains are less strong (figuratively and literally, as evidenced by their numerous trouncings!). We never stick with one group long enough to really get to know them. The man antagonist Parker is the only one with a hint of a personality, but after his first scene he's absent until the climax. Funnily enough, the crooks we come to know the most are the most minor as far as the plot goes-The four guys who keep having the misfortune of bumping into the boys!
The music here is fantastic! The main theme is both rousing and moving. In a way it feels a bit out of place, especially for a film that's even sillier than its predecessor, but it works. The instrumental rescoring is great too, and is exactly the kind of music you'd want accompanying you on the end of a quest!
Trinity is Still My Name is a great spaghetti western, and a great comedy! Both these film are evidence of the power of comedy. If it can resurrect a dying genre for a few more rounds, what more could it do!...