Killer Caliber 32 (1967)

Killer Calibro 32

"A Killer With Style"

This is an obscure film that was actually a sizeable hit in Italy when it was released and is one of the youthful looking Peter Lee Lawrence' best Spaghetti Westerns. Recently, Wild East has released good quality DVD of this film as a double feature alongside Killer Adios.

Peter Lee Lawrence

The Plot

Stylish gunman for hire Mr. Silver is hired by a wealthy banker to eliminate a group of unidentified outlaws who are routinely robbing the stagecoach that transports the money. Little by little he picks up the clues and gets to the bottom of the mystery. It is a pity that the Mr. Silver character did not quite catch on the way Django, Ringo, Sabata and Sartana did, considering he was a very cool protagonist indeed. The movie predates the Sartana films by one year, and one can not help but think that perhaps this was the forerunner for Spaghetti Westerns featuring the "Stylish killer and gambler" motif. There are many similarities with this movie and the Sartana films. Both have an elegantly dressed gunman who always wins at gambling and are always one step ahead of the bad guys. Both protagonists have gimmicky weapons. Silver's being a 32 Caliber Colt with an elongated barrel, to make "nice clean wounds". He refers to conventional 45's as "vulgar cannons". Both Anthony Ascott's Sartana films and this movie are lighthearted, upbeat, tongue and cheek westerns that are not to be taken too seriously. And they both feature a complex plot with plenty of twists, turns, and surprises.

The Players

Tragic German actor Peter Lee Lawrence, who played Lee Van Cleef's brother in law in a small uncredited part in For a Few Dollars More, gets his own star vehicle as the main protagonist. Its just one of 17 Spaghetti Westerns that he made before he died in 1974 at the ripe young age of 29, reportedly from a brain tumor. Lawrence was only 22 at the time of this film and some might think of him as too boyish to play a Spaghetti Western tough guy. Indeed, from watching his films, one might be reminded of Leonardo DiCaprio's character in The Quick and the Dead. Lawrence deserves credit however, for being a good looking, athletic actor who was well suited for action scenes. He had a certain maturity about him that belied his age, and he did have his share of screen presence. So fans of the more rugged and grizzled gunmen of the west such as Van Cleef and Clint Eastwood might want to at least give him a chance. 32 Caliber Killer is among the best of Lawrence's Spaghetti Westerns. The rest of the cast is somewhat routine, with the highlights being Helene Chanel, Andrea Bosic, and Mirko Ellis.

Peter and the lady

The Movie

The movie has a good amount of well choreographed action sequences to keep the viewer's interest. The film is also part whodunit mystery. The complicated plot gives it some re-watch value, as viewers might want to see it again in order to get a better grasp on what is going on. Alfonso Brescia's direction is adequate, and the musical score by Robby Poitevin is catchy. The English dialogue is also above average. The likeable Mr. Silver character is well portrayed by Lawrence, and like Sartana, something is not worth doing unless it is done with style. The film is marred somewhat by a Trinity-esque saloon brawl. Folks fly 10 feet in to the air after getting punched, and chairs and tables break as if they were made of toothpicks. It would've also been nice to have a really special antagonist or wildcard character to better compliment Lawrence. Sabata had Banjo, Sartana had Lasky, and Django had Major Jackson, but Silver does not have anybody who is even remotely his equal to play with.

Conclusion

32 Caliber Killer is a fun, well made, Spaghetti Western. It has a fair amount of cheese factor but its plot is coherent, if complicated. The film also makes sure to not go overboard with the silly hi-jinks. If you are a fan of the Sartana and Sabata movies, than there's a good chance that you might find this one enjoyable as well.

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