Pascal Grenier for Cinetalk.net
Genre favorite Bud Spencer died on June 27th. Born Carlo Pedersoli, he made his mark within Italian Popular Cinema with his infamous duet with Terence Hill (born Mario Girotti) as they appeared together in 18 films. He became a well-known international star in the 1970s and it continued throughout the mid-80s. Spencer also had numerous stand-alone Euro film hits. Adding comical and physical elements (with huge brawls and fist fight sequences) to action films for all audiences, he proved to be a winning formula for slapstick comedy as well as for other genres with directors like Dario Argento or even the more «serious» Ermanno Olmi. If you grew up in those years, there’s a good chances that you thoroughly enjoyed the guilty pleasure provided by these films.
They Call Me Trinity (Lo chiamavano Trinità… 1970 – Enzo Barboni)
Considered to be one of the first comical spaghetti western, this is the film that help established Terence Hill and Bud Spencer as a dynamic and comical duo using their formula of brawls and jokes. In this film they played half-brothers who joins the Mormons in their battle against a Major and his goons. An enjoyable but inferior sequel was made just a year later and was an even bigger hit.
Flatfoot (Piedone lo Sbirro – 1973 – Steno)
This is the first of four films starring Bud Spencer as police inspector Rizzo from Naples, Nickname Flatfoot. Rizzo is investigating a gang of drug dealers that pushes drugs from Marseilles to Naples. He is using his personal methods : his fists. More straightforward and realistic in tone than most of his other entries, Flatfoot allows Spencer to bring his personal charisma to his surly character. Highlight includes a funny fighting sequence on a boat with frozen fish as weapons. The dependable and serviceable Steno also did the 3 sequels were the action are taking places in Hong Kong, South Africa and Egypt.
Odds and Evens (I Due Superpiedi Quasi Piatti – 1978 – Sergio Corbucci)
Reprising the formula of half-brothers that made them famous for the Trinity films, the diametrically opposed Spencer and Hill are joining forces here to infiltrate and dismantle a gang of bookmakers in Miami. Django-fame director Sergio Corbucci adds comic flair and slapstick humor to a rollicking and delightful action comedy that ends in a huge homemade brawl inside a boat.
The Sheriff and the Satellite Kid (Uno Sceriffo Extraterrestre – Poco Extra e Molto Terrestre – 1979 – Michele Lupo)
Of the many Italian kid comedy films that Bud appeared in, this one is certainly the most enjoyable of all. Great locations (including a sequence filmed at Six Flags, Georgia) help this lightweight comedy stands on its own. As the extraterrestrial kid with technical wizard device, Cary Guffney (Yep! The Close Encounters kid) is enough of a nuisance and the chemistry that he forms with Spencer’s usual grumpiness (but tender) sheriff’s character is contagious. Oliver Onions (the De Angelis brother alternate name) main theme’ song is also extremely catchy.
Double Trouble (Non c’è Due Senza Quattro – 1984 – Enzo Barboni)
Considered by many to be the last interesting action film from the comedy team of Terence Hill and Bud Spencer, Double Trouble takes places in Rio De Janeiro. It uses the old look-alike formula (a jazz musician and a stunt man are the spitting image of two millionaire brothers) with efficiency and if the result is formulaic (Fist fights!!!) it is quite entertaining.