SHANGO (1970)

Shango Cover Hey, Gringo! Are you looking at me? Or are you looking at this 81 minute movie made in 1970? Go on. Speak up or shut up! Or else I will take you by the scruff of the neck and feed you with a nice bowl of beans. Yeah!! That way you will have something nice and warm inside you, whilst you watch this film Directed by: Edoardo Mulargia; and Starring: Anthony Steffen, Eduardo Fajardo, with Maurice Poli.


Please help me. Please can somebody out there help me because I don't know who I am or what I'm supposed to be doing here?

One minute I'm housed in a cage manned by a group of Southern rebels. The next minute I'm free and being nursed back to health by a kind peasant family. And now -- now -- I vaguely recollect a war between two opposing factions.

Wait a minute! Yes. That's it! A war! Finally I can f*cking remember who I am and what I'm supposed to be doing in this small Mexican province.

My name is Shango (Anthony Steffen) you see, and I'm a Texas Ranger who was recently captured by a gang of unscrupulous confederate rebel's. And now my task is to spread the word that the war has been over for six long weeks, despite having to kill a lot of people to do so.

Now I'm sure this won't be a very easy mission for me to carry out. Although I suspect that is why what next transpires begins when I'm forced to play a game of cat and mouse against my enemies. As a battle is set in motion - a run of killings doesn't denote devotion - the outlaws and the rebels seal a pact - and at the end of the day, a victory celebration turns bitter like lemon extract.


To be completely honest with you, dear reader, I'm not a hundred percent certain if I liked watching 'Shango' or not. On the one hand this spaghetti western had a really great theme tune plus some spectacular looking visuals. Whilst on the other hand the story-line was a bit maudlin in places, where as its cast of characters were rather pedestrian to say the least.

Shango Italian Film Poster
Now please don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to imply that this movie was a bad movie at all. As it did manage to tell a tale and spread some enjoyment into the mix. It's just that my problem with this piece is the manner in which it was told in.

Well, from my point of view it did begin with a very strained introductory sequence, where the main hero -- as played by Anthony (I want to be Clint Eastwood) Steffen -- was shoveled around from pillar to post, without him -- or us -- really knowing what the hell was going on. And then, when the main plot-line finally kicked in thirty minutes later, we're presented with a number of tonally bio-polar scenes, either depicting the good guys killing the bad guys, or visa-versa, thus giving the conceptual narrative a somewhat samey feel.

Furthermore, something else about this film I wasn't too keen on was how Anthony's gun never ran out of ammunition. Honestly, folks. If you ever get the chance to see it, you'll notice nigh on straight away he shoots a lot of bullets without the bloody thing running out once. Also, I would have liked it if there were few moments of light relief scattered throughout this sober story-line, just to break up its dowdy yet repetitive nature.

Vintage Shango Film Poster

Now on the reverse side of my negativity, there were a couple of aspects about 'Shango' I thought were rather enjoyable all in all. Like the melodic and scene enhancing theme tune I mentioned previously for instance. Plus there were a few avant-garde looking scenes that did give it a very unique twist. Especially that part where the women living in the village were buried up to their necks by the rebels, as well as those action scenes where Anthony played a strange game of hide and seek with his enemies.   

Shango Starring Anthony Steffen and Eduardo Fajardo
But apart from that, though, well, this film was a fairly so-so film. And nothing in the slightest like the following filmic facts. (1) 'Le PAC' first released this production in Italy on the exact same day the then Mayor of San Francisco, Joseph Alioto, kicked off the very first 'Earth Day'. It was on the 21st of March, 1970. (2) The majority of this movie was shot at 'Cinecittà Studios', located within the Italian city of Rome. (3) Edoardo Mulargia, who was the writer / director assigned to develop this flick, was in the business between the years 1957 to 1985, and during that time he used such pseudonyms as Edward G. Muller and Tony Moore. (4) Loosely translated, this project was given the subtitle 'Last Fight' in Germany; 'Dead or Alive' in Brazil; and 'Gun Infallible' in Italy. (5) Just like many of the other movies made during this era, this one was also shot without sound and dubbed into another language during post-production. (6) The other writer who was assigned to pen this flick, Anthony Steffen, also played Shango in it too, and starred in such spaghetti westerns as 'Gunman Sent by God', 'Seven Dollars to Kill', and 'Train for Durango'. (7) This film was shot using 'Eastmancolor', which is a photographic processing system developed by Kodak during the 1950's. (8) After this film finished f*cking about, Anthony Steffen starred in the adventure, 'Arizona Colt Returns'; Eduardo Fajardo starred in the comedy, 'Who Am I?'; and Maurice Poli starred in the western, 'The Last Traitor'.

Shango Starring Anthony Steffen and Eduardo Fajardo

Overall I'd say 'Shango' was a rather bi-polar film to sit down and watch. The music and the visuals were the best parts of it. Whereas its story-line and straight laced acting just wasn't my own cup of tea.

Still. Never mind, eh? You can't win then all. Not everyone has a gun which never runs out of bullets. Ha! Nuff said.


SHANGO (1970) SHANGO (1970) Reviewed by David Andrews on June 12, 2014 Rating: 5
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