They don't make movie posters like they used to...Sartana
is the name of a popular character from Italian westerns
, most famously portrayed by Gianni Garko (sometimes credited as Johnny Garko
in other territories). The character starred in a large number of movies, some official and some not (loose copyright laws in Italy led to a LOT of ripoff movies), but those considered "true" Sartana movies are those starring Garko.
Sartana himself is a very striking contrast to most Western heroes: instead of the grizzled, dust covered toughs seen in most westerns, he is impeccably dressed in a fine black suit and is witty and charming. He seems completely out of place in contrast with the ruffians he embroils himself with. However, this leads to the bad guys seriously
underestimating him, with fatal results: he has absolutely impeccable aim with a gun (ANY gun)
, is always armed to the gills and is quite the Combat Pragmatist
. However, Sartana's best weapon is his incredible ability to outwit his opponent
. Half the fun of seeing a Sartana movie is showing him and his enemies constantly trying to foil each other's plans.
There has also always been speculation that Sartana is much more than he seems: like Clint Eastwood
's nameless gunfighter in High Plains Drifter
, it is implied that Sartana might be some sort of supernatural spirit of vengeance, paying just dues against those that abuse those less fortunate. Indeed, Sartana NEVER has any personal reason for helping the people, he apparently does it on a whim. However, he does show interest in personal gain: even if his actions help those less fortunate, money always seems to end up in his pocket when the movie's done.
The Sartana movies are great, GREAT fun. Sartana's stunts and machinations escalate to insane levels
, and the movies are full of gadgets, anachronisms
and plots that, while perhaps out of place in a typical western, just add fun to an already awesome character. Sartana himself is a master of the hidden weapon
, with gadgets that would make James Bond
take pause. The films also, surprisingly, have very elaborate plots, especially Funeral
and Light The Fuse
(nicknamed by fans "the Moustache Films" because of the moustache Sartana has in those two
, which he does not have in the other ones).
There are five "official" Sartana movies: the original directed by Gianfranco Parolini
, and four sequels directed by his appointed successor Giuliano Carnimeo
. All of them, with the exception of the final film, starred Gianni Garko as Sartana himself:
- If You Meet Sartana, Pray For Your Death: A corrupt banker steals from gold prospectors through an insurance fraud scheme, and Sartana takes it upon himself to see him face justice while at the same time finding the stolen gold.
- Sartana: Angel Of Death: Sartana is framed of robbing a bank, and sets out to pursue those who framed him.
- Have A Good Funeral, My Friend... Sartana Will Pay: First of the "Moustache" movies, and when the series started to get really good. An elderly miner and his family are killed in cold blood as part of a land grab. Sartana rides into town to avenge the dead.
- Light The Fuse... Sartana Is Coming: The second "Mustache" movie. Sartana is in pursuit of half a million dollars in counterfeit money... and the half million of REAL money which was never exchanged.
- Sartana's Here... Trade Your Pistol for a Coffin: The final "official" Sartana film. George Hilton replaces Garko in the role of Sartana.
The two Moustache
films also have a musical score by Bruno Nicolai, long time friend and collaborator of Ennio Morricone
. Indeed, Nicolai was the actual conductor of the orchestra that played Morricone's compositions, and his work in Italian film is almost as prolific and regarded as Morricone's. Accordingly, these two movies' soundtracks are AWESOME
The Sartana films provide examples of:
- The Ace: Oh so very, VERY much. Sartana could be accused of being a Marty Stu, if it weren't for the fact that he's so goddamn awesome.
- Anti-Hero: Sartana. He tends to be pretty civil with everyone, but particuarly rotten bad guys make him be much meaner. And bad guys never, EVER survive his attention, period.
- Bad Ass: Oh so very much, Sartana's badassness is the reason you see these flicks.
- Badass Longcoat: Sartana wears a long overcoat when riding, and tails on his regular jacket. man knows his style.
- Badass Moustache: Obviously in the ''Moustache'' films. In the other films, he has Perma Stubble, but his moustache is what really gives him a distinctive look.
- Bounty Hunter: When not in pursuit of the main plot, Sartana does a little bounty hunting on the side. He's DAMN good at it, too.
- Card Sharp: Sartana's manual dexterity borders on superhuman.
- Combat Pragmatist: He may be a smooth talker, but Sartana will not use his words to get out of a situation a bullet can get you out of quicker and with less effort. As a master of Hidden Weapons, this trope is pretty much a given, too.
- Click Hello: Pulls them off often, gets them pulled on him less frequently.
- Clothes Make the Legend: His particular mode of dress is not only his signature, he gets called on it too.
- Cool Guns: His signature weapon is a teeny-tiny silver revolver that has what looks to be a gambling dreidel as its cylinder. As for more conventional firearms, he uses the quintessential cowboy weapons: a "Yellow Boy" Winchester repeater and a Single Action Army.
- Crazy-Prepared: Wouldn't be surprising if his last name was Wayne. Not only is he always loaded with hidden weapons, he even makes gadgets that wouldn't seem out of place in a James Bond flick. Even his POCKETWATCH is a weapon: the watch and the watch chain are made of lead, which he uses as a make-shift whip, such as when he's in a casino which does not allow guns on the floor.
- Death Dealer: Sartana's deadly with the cards in every way a man can be deadly with cards...
- Dramatic Gun Cock: Sartana's perp-sweating method of choice.
- The Drifter: Subverted: while he does drift from town to town looking for adventure, he's not the silent, brooding type.
- Establishing Character Moment: Has one at the start of every movie. The one in Funeral, where he kills three thugs in a row with a Winchester before the bad guys can even draw their HANDGUNS, is probably the one that most showcases how much of an utter badass he is.
- Escape Artist: One of Sartana's many skills.
- The Gunslinger: A master of the quick draw, one-in-a-million shots AND using more gun when it's not enough. It almost goes into Parody Sue territory.
- Instrument of Murder: During the final showdown in Light The Fuse, Sartana calmly waits for the bad guys by playing a pipe-organ in the middle of the dusty street. When the bad guys appear, he pulls some levers in the organ which reveal machine guns, a GATLING GUN and A FRIGGIN' CANNON. And the pipe-organ is a fully functional instrument. Holy crap.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: He gets on the receiving end of one in Light The Fuse. He gets better.
- No Name Given: He is always simply known as "Sartana." It's not known if it's a first, last or nickname.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Part of what gives credence to the theory that Sartana's not human.
- One-Liner: And usually a Pre-Mortem One-Liner, to boot.
- Overly Long Name: The films' titles, as can be seen above. They're BADASS titles, though.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Pretty much his shtick.
- Professional Gambler: It may not be his biggest source of income, but that's only because he's got better things to do than play all day: if Sartana sits down on a table, people are gonna lose money, their temper and their lives, in that order.
- Psycho for Hire: Many of the guys hired to off Sartana are this. In the first flick, he's memorably played by Klaus Kinski. Yes, THAT Klaus Kinski.
- Smoking Is Cool: Hand-rolled cigarettes, to be exact.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Can give Batman a run for his money in this department.
- Tropes Are Not Bad: Yes, the movies have, like, every single damn western cliche you can think of. It doesn't stop them from being awesome.