Cinema Retro Special Report- "Viva Sabata!": Reflections On The Lee Van Cleef/Yul Brynner Trilogy

By Fred Blosser

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On a windy night, a black-clad stranger rides into Daugherty City, Texas. He flips a coin to a scruffy drunk who is strapped for the price of a drink. He exposes a crooked dice game in the local saloon, where most of the townsfolk seem to be congregated. Then he departs. In the meantime, down the street, a gang of acrobatic robbers breaks into the bank and heists a safe containing $100,000 in Army payroll money. The getaway crew escapes town before a wounded trooper can raise the alarm, but out on the trail they run into the stranger, Sabata, who picks them off with a tricked-out rifle and recovers the stolen money.

Thus, in under 15 minutes of running time, Gianfranco Parolini neatly sets up the events that will drive the remaining 90 minutes of his 1969 Spaghetti Western, "Ehi amico... c'è Sabata,
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