Cjamango (1967)

Cjamango is a middle-of-the pack Spaghetti Western that stars Ivan Rassimov (aka Sean Todd), as Cjamango, as a typically lone, mysterious, man-of-few-words gunslinger with a funny name. Wild East has released a high quality DVD of this film at a descent price.

THE PLOT

Nothing too original here. Cjamango has won some money in a poker game, but the bandits that he beat are sore losers. In order to get his money back, he has to deal with two opposing Mexican bandit gangs in another variation of the FISTFUL OF DOLLARS theme. Along the way, Cjamango befriends an outcast boy, Manuel, as well as the beautiful Perla.

THE PLAYERS

Of Croatian descent, Rassimov is best known for his work in Italian "Cannibal" movies. He also co-starred with Gianni Garko in COWARDS DON'T PRAY (1969). Jayne Mansfield groom Mickey Hargitay co-stars as Clinton, the mysterious salesmen, who is a sort of guardian angel for Cjamango, with his true intentions not revealed until the end of the film. Both are quite good at their roles, although admittedly, neither role really requires much in the way of acting. One cannot help but see that Cjamango and Clinton are very reminiscent of Manco and Mortimer in FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE. Overall Rassimov has a good look and demeanor as a Spaghetti gunslinger. Other recognizable faces include Helene Chanel, Livio Lorenzon, Piero Lulli and Ignazio Spalla (aka Pedro Sanchez). Perla, played by Chanel is a protagonist who associates with one of the gangs, and she does a good job of being rather unlikable, making her death less tragic than it should be. Manuel, played by Giusva Fioranti, is extremely annoying. Interestingly enough, Fioranti grew up and became a neo-fascist terrorist.

THE MOVIE

The actions sequences are nicely done, and Rassimov is quite good in one of his rare lead good guy, spaghetti western roles. The music by Felice Di Stefano is quite descent but not especially memorable. One thing you can always count on in a Spaghetti Western is a quality musical score, even if the movie itself happens to be lousy. This is one undeniable advantage that Spaghetti Westerns have over their Hollywood counterparts. The budget appears to be shoestring, and director Eduardo Mulargia is adequate despite obviously strained resources. The movie itself is quite short, with a running time of just 82 minutes, and probably could've stood to be longer. A few times in the film, a character explains what happens, but we don't actually see it happening. I think this is more of a case of budget constraints limiting the amount of scenes to be shot, rather than the Director trying to leave things to the audience's imagination for the sake of "artfulness". The movie would've been better if these scenes were actually shot and included in the film, rather than having a character describes them in the dialogue. Spaghetti Westerns after all, are supposed to be very visual experiences to the audience. The wardrobes are quite good from the waist up. I say waist up because some of the characters, Cjamango included, are wearing bell bottoms. Yes you read that right. F*?1#@$%^& BELL BOTTOMS!!!. This almost ruined the entire movie for me. Also the Kid that Cjamango befriends is annoying as hell. And the English voice dubbing and dialogue is often atrocious. Cjamango's English voice seems to be done by the same voice that did Franco Nero's voice in the now infamous English dub of DJANGO.

CONCLUSION

An enjoyable but routine Spaghetti Western. It's a flawed effort, but has some good stuff going on. The DVD is worth picking up for hardcore Spaghetti fans.

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