BLACKJACK - ON YOUR KNEES DJANGO (1968)

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Blackjack Cover When you get a chance to watch the following 99 minute movie, I'd like you to keep in mind that it was developed way-way before the current world wide recession. It was made in 1968, and it was Directed by: Gianfranco Baldanello; and Starred: Robert Woods, Lucienne Bridou, with Rik Battaglia.


BlackJack (1968)


THE STORY:
Now you listen here you bunch of ingrates. I was decent enough to plan a bank robbery. You successfully carried it out. And then afterwards, whilst we were dividing the loot up amongst ourselves, you each decided to do something rather stupid, didn't you? You decided to cut me out, completely, thus forcing me to snatch the cash and run away in the process.

However, my respite was short lived. And with some help from that dumb Indian you managed to track me down, beat me up, and got me to give you back our ill gotten gains or else you'd rape my sister. A sister, I might add, whose name I will now revenge by doing to you what you did to her yet far-far worse.

But then again, that's most probably why what next transpires all goes justifiably loco when I say to myself, 'Look out, Amigos. Because Black Jack (Robert Woods) is on the case!'. As a hoard of bullets begin to fly - many of the ingrates yelp, 'my, oh my' - an Indian turns out to be a bit of a plumb - and at the end of the day, this film's ending is really quite dumb.




THE REVIEW:
Essentially 'Blackjack' is one of those spaghetti westerns where we see a maverick outlaw double-crossed by his partners in crime, only for him to then take it upon himself to track them down and finally get his revenge. Furthermore, this somewhat tried and tested premise it complemented with a fairly ill paced story-line, accompanied by some jazzy orchestral music and an acting style that's rather... errr... a-typical for this sort of piece -- Gregarious, stoic, and bold.

Blackjack Starring Robert Woods
Well, to be completely honest with you, folks, overall this flick was one hell of a bi-polar movie. On the one hand I did like how our main protagonist got his revenge by scoping out his adversaries one at the time -- very 'Blues Brothers' that was. Whilst on the other hand when it eventually got to this stage of the plot, you could almost second guess what was going to happen from then on in -- Ka-pow! Bash! Thump! Finito!

In addition to this I wasn't very keen on how this adventure ended, either. Now without giving too much away, three or four minutes before it concluded, something really strange took place which made me gasp, 'What the f*ck was that all about?'. And one of the main reasons I said such as thing was because this 'occurrence' directly made its finale end on a most hollow note. Almost diluting everything that transpired beforehand!  

On a more positive note, though, I could connect with 'Blackjacks' motivations for doing what he actually did. In my opinion during that scene were the 'bad guys' beat him up and threatened to rape his sister, a part of me yearned for him to get out of this situation and kick their f*cking faces in. Honestly, dear reader. This sequence was so harrowing and so moving upon the screen, I'm sure you yourself would also cry out for some sort of justice. 

Not that I'm advocating mass-murder, of course. No. I would never do that. It's just that within the scheme of things I felt 'our heroes' incentives were clearly defined. Despite -- as I said previously -- the pretext, the style, and the general ambiance of this production coming across formulaic and slow by default.


Art - Blackjack Starring Robert Woods


Blackjack Vintage Film Poster 1968
Anyway. By now I'm sure you got the basic gist of what I thought about this movie. There were good bits in it. There were bad bits in it. And these are its filmic-facts. (1) 'Cinematografica Mercedes' first released this production in Italy on the exact same day Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull were busted for possession of pot. It was on the 24th of October, 1968. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'Black Joe' in France; 'Jack, O Negro' in Brazil; and originally it was give the Italian name, 'Blackjack'. (3) The majority of this movie was shot on location throughout numerous parts of Israel. (4) That nice Italian chap who directed this western, Gianfranco Baldanello, was in the business between 1952 to 1978, and during that time he's used such pseudonyms as France and Franco Baldanello, plus Frank G. Carrol / Carroll. (5) Robert Woods, who played the part of 'Black Jack' in this picture, was born in Colorado, America, and is best known for starring opposite Hendry Fonda in the 1965 war-time drama, 'The Battle of the Bulge'. (6) This was the only time Luigi Ambrosini and Giuseppe Andreoli ever co-wrote a film-script in their very short-lived careers. (7) Just like many of the other movies made during this era, it was shot without sound, and dubbed into numerous languages afterwards. (8) After this adventure got up off of its knees, Robert Woods starred in the thriller, 'Damned Hot Day of Fire'; Rik Battaglia starred in the western, 'The Valley of Death'; and Lucienne Bridou quit show-business altogether.


Blackjack Starring Robert Woods


Overall I'd say 'Blackjack' was a fairly so-so film. The story-line was good, even though we've seen this sort of thing before. The music was good too, even though we've also heard this sort of thing before. And all in all -- yeah -- not bad, but not good either. A bi-polar movie that I wished was a lot better than it actually was.

Nuff said.

THE RATING: B-