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Monday, 7 July 2014

They Call Me Trinity (1970)

I would argue that They Call Me Trinity is the definitive comedic western - it came out four years before Mel Brooks's  far better known, Blazing Saddles and indeed the influence of the Trinity movies can be seen all over the Mel Brooks movie. From the fast draw of Saddles' Waco Kid to the up/down punching style of the Mongo character - much was taken from the Trinity movie, but unlike Blazing Saddles which plays as a full out satire, Trinity is presented more as a standard western with some inspired comedy scenes. The two main characters, Trinity (Terence Hill) and Bambino (Bud Spencer) are brothers who can only just about tolerate each other. Spencer's hulking, Bambino is the more straight-laced of the two, while Hill's Trinity is a bone idle drifter with a penchant for trouble and an incredibly fast draw. When he's not fighting, eating or causing trouble he seems to be sleeping

The movie is an antidote to the spaghetti western cycle largely started by the Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood movies and in the year before Trinity was made there were 300 westerns produced in Italy, all following a similar template - understandably, audiences were getting tired of the dark anti-heroes and the extreme violence, and Trinity was an answer to that. Sergio Leone publicly hated the Trinity movies but that didn't stop him casting Terence Hill as a Trinityalike in his 1973 comedy western, Nobody is my Name. The film was a huge success and spawned an even more successful sequel, Trinity is Still My Name. There was also a 1995 TV movie called Trinity and Bambino which featured the sons of the characters from the movies. I must confess I've never seen the TV movie but I've heard it wasn't that good.
TV movie continued the story

The film opens with a rousing theme tune and then we see Trinity being dragged in a travois by his horse. He is absolutely filthy but is content to sleep away the hours as his horse takes him across the desert. Eventually Trinity rides into a small town to find his hulking brother, Bambino is posing as a sheriff. What follows is an entertaining spoof on western conventions with the two leads displaying an incredible chemistry.

I'd highly recommend this movie and its sequel - they may be spoofs of the genre but they fully deserve to be called westerns, and alongside films like Destry and Blazing Saddles they are true classics of a very versatile genre.

1 comment:

Neil Waring said...

I remember seeing this when it came out. Like a lot of things it seemed better then, but I still like it.