Within a short time span, Italian actor Franco Nero had appeared in the first “Django” film, and the more ‘classic' styled western “Texas, Adios” before flying to Hollywood and appearing in Joshua Logan's “Camelot.”
As he explains in the short featurette, “Texas, Adios” was photographed in Spain while Clint Eastwood was appearing in one of Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns, and both actors apparently met, as the productions weren't far away from each other. Nero's performance is admittedly part Gary Cooper – stoic lawman forced to seek out human cruelty – and part riff on Eastwood's Man With No Name persona – adopting a cruel, often selfish attitude while more common folk suffer at the hands of an evil land baron – with memorable results.
The basic story, written by workman director Ferdinando Baldi and Franco Rossetti (“Django”), is embellished with a few colorful sadistic touches, notably the fallen town lawman who signals his assassination squad with a water jug , and Enzo Barboni's cinematography is just plain exquisite. Barboni (responsible for “Django” and the later film “I Crudeli”) takes advantage of the layered desert colours and fills the ‘scope ratio with tan textures in the foreground, brooding mountains far in the distance, and a subtle navy-tinted mountain horizon just below the clear blue sky. Anchor Bay's transfer is made from a really nice print, and widescreen TV owners should get a kick watching the pretty imagery.
The DVD contains an English dub track, but you should stick with the original Italian mix; Nero does his own voice, for one thing, and while the English subtitles mimic the cliched western slang, it's kind of fun hearing the Spanish and Italian cast bandy about names like Burt, Jim, and Whitestone. Additionally, the English mix uses sound effects and music elements that are pretty muddy. The Italian track may lack bass, but there's far better clarity, particularly with the fun orchestral score by prolific composer Anton Garcia Abril (he of the more ambient, guttural “Tomb of the Blind Dead” scores.) With stylistic nods to Ennio Morricone's successful blend of classic and light pop for Sergio Leone's films, the score also makes excellent use of a surprisingly rich theme song.
Not many production details are discussed in Nero's interview featurette, though he does offer an amusing anecdote concerning John Wayne. Some background info on the film's crew – several directly involved with the original “Django” – would have been nice, along with a short bio on director Baldi (who's regrettably better known for two awful Tony Anthony 3-D actioners from the Eighties: “Comin' At Ya!” and “Treasure of the Four Crowns”).
Originally released separately July 24th, 2001, “Texas, Adios” is also available as part of Anchor Bay's “Once Upon A Time In Italy” Collection (Cat. # DV12436).
The boxed set includes “A Bullet For The General,” “Companeros,” “Four Of The Apocalypse,” “Keoma” and “Texas, Adios”. This 5-disc set is housed in a sleeve, each film in a clear slim case, with chapter index and lobby card printed on the inner side, plus attractive tan covers reflecting the set's western theme.
© 2004 Mark R. Hasan