Frontierado is coming up on Friday, August 7th! In keeping with the seasonal feel, Balladeer’s Blog has been showcasing various neglected westerns. And when it comes to neglected it’s tough to top the tiny sub-genre of what is already a sub-genre: Spaghetti Westerns. I’m talking about Llama Westerns, the microscopic fraction of Italo-Westerns that deals with gunslingers in Peru shooting it out over Inca treasure instead of the usual gold or revenge.
If Indiana Jones used a gun exclusively and thrived on riddling his adversaries with bullets in slow motion while blood squibs burst open THAT would resemble these Llama Westerns.
LOST TREASURE OF THE INCAS (1964) – Alan Steel, best known for Peplums like the Hercules or Maciste movies, plays an often shirtless gambler/ gunfighter called Samson in this film. He and his gunslinging pal Alan Fox (Toni Sailer) nip a frame-up job in the bud, then get caught up in a violence-filled race for the untouched treasure of a lost Incan city in the Palladi Mountains of Peru.
In an attempt to sucker in Peplum fans this movie was sometimes released under the titles Samson and the Treasure of the Incas or Hercules and the Treasure of the Incas, with Alan Steel’s name prominently displayed as the star to seal the deal on the subtle bit of misdirection. Needless to say in the latter cases Steel’s gunman was renamed “Hercules” in the dubbing. Another example of misleading advertising from the pre-internet days. Today word-of- mouth would kill that type of fraud in one night!
To be fair Alan does doff his shirt for a lot of the action scenes but even those make you think the filmmakers did it just to have movie poster shots of a shirtless Alan Steel (real name Sergio Ciani) to help in the cinematic con job.
I’m genuinely puzzled by the fact that this movie hasn’t exploded as a big cult item these days with so many obscure foreign films finding new followings on dvd. And there’s Alan Steel’s emergence as a cult favorite among Peplum stars since the early 1990’s.
LEGACY OF THE INCAS (1965) – Guy Madison and Fernando Rey starred in this Llama Western which would be guaranteed to make some of the emotional cripples of the 21st Century faint at its “Colonialism Squared” plotline. To me the staggering tastelessness of it all makes it more funny than pernicious.
Rey plays President Castillo of late 1800’s Peru. He has a Jim West-style assignment for his gunslinging agent, nicknamed Jaguar. His birth name is Wutuma, and he’s the last of “the proud and noble Incas”. His job is to eradicate a gang of Native Peruvian bandits and guerillas who are robbing and killing all non-natives as part of their bid to resurrect the ancient Inca empire to rule Peru!
And for the crucial role of Jaguar/ Wutuma, a man torn between his present-day life & loyalties and his loyalty to his conquered Incan ancestors, who better than … Guy Madison, a white guy famous for playing Wild Bill Hickok on American television!
Making it even more grotesquely comical – or “insulting” if you’re the hypersensitive type – amid all the gunplay and other action the ANCIENT SPIRITUAL FORCES OF THE INCAN PEOPLE ACTUALLY HELP MADISON QUELL THE INCIPIENT UPRISING! It’s like the “God helping Indiana Jones” bit at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, except here we’re led to believe the gods worshipped by the ancient Incans disapprove of the rebels and their attempt to restore “home rule”!
Okay, I grant you the rebels (led by a scenery-chewing Rik Battaglia) are admittedly genocidal racists themselves, but you still can’t help but smile at the notions that lie at the heart of this movie. So, you’re better off just chuckling a little at the cosmic irony and enjoying the action and fantasy elements of the tale. Lighten up, in other words!
NEXT TIME I’LL REVIEW SPAGHETTI WESTERNS ABOUT AZTEC TREASURE!
FOR MORE REVIEWS OF WEIRD WESTERNS CLICK HERE: Weird Westerns
FOR MY LOOK AT MEXICAN HORROR FILMS CLICK HERE:https://glitternight.com/2011/10/31/a-halloween-mexi-monster-bestiary/
© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.