Monday, July 12, 2010

Assorted Bits & Pieces: A Spaghetti Western Favorite Passes Away

Aldo Sambrell in one of, if not his most evil role as Duncan in NAVAJO JOE (1966)

I came home this afternoon and made a little time to read some of the posts from my blog roll and came upon some additional saddening news. Straight from the excellent blog, SPAGHETTI CINEMA, I learned that the great Italian character actor, Aldo Sambrell, 79, has passed away on July 10th, 2010 apparently from complications brought on by a stroke. Reportedly, it was said he would be able to return home, but as fate would have it, he would remain bedridden in an Alicante, Spain hospital where he would spend his last moments with his wife, Candida, by his side.

Sambrell (left) next to Gian Maria Volonte from FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (1965)

Sambrell was an actor of some repute in his home country of Spain. Fans of spaghetti westerns and Italian cinema in general are very familiar with his name and his most interesting face which was featured in Sergio Leone's 'Dollars' trilogy among some 170 credits. I remember him best from his various spaghetti westerns where he excelled as villains, but did play a good guy role here and there. He also got to display a comedic side in the lighthearted Euro western, BAD MAN'S RIVER (1971) starring Lee Van Cleef and directed by Eugenio (HORROR EXPRESS) Martin.

Aldo played one of the good guys during the opening siege sequence from A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL (1966)

Sambrell played a good guy during the taut and violent opening train sequence of Damiano Damiani's major classic Zapata western, A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL (1966). Here, Aldo played Lieutenant Alvaro Ferreira who desperately tries to save a train carrying weapons and civilians which has been surrounded by a Mexican bandit gang. They have also blocked the train from moving by chaining Alvaro's superior to the tracks a short distance ahead allowing the gang to pick off Alvaro's men with ease.

FACE TO FACE (1967)

Continuing with his westerns, he played Zachary Chase, Solomon Bennet's (played by Tomas Milian) subordinate who turns on him in Sergio Sollima's seminal political spaghetti western classic, FACE TO FACE (1967). There were many other SW roles for the ambitious actor who worked with all three of the titanic Triumvirate, the Three Sergios--Leone, Sollima and most importantly in my eyes, Corbucci.

Duncan scalps a beautiful Indian woman at the beginning of Sergio Corbucci's ultra violent, NAVAJO JOE (1966)

Duncan (Sambrell; left) confronts NAVAJO JOE (Reynolds) during the bloody finale

It was with Corbucci that Aldo Sambrell got the biggest, meatiest and most violent role of his career (at least out of everything I've seen him in) in the Dino De Laurentiis Italian-Spanish co-production of NAVAJO JOE (1966). Here, Sambrell (billed as Aldo Sanbrell) played Duncan, the nasty halfbreed Mexican bandit chief who butts heads with the title character played by Burt Reynolds. Sambrell's character is one of the most sadistic and unsavory SW villains. Sambrell also featured in a smaller capacity in Corbucci's HELLBENDERS (1967), one of the directors best works.

Aldo as Kamir (middle) alongside stuntman/actor Giovanni Cianfriglia (Ken Wood) from SUPERARGO & THE FACELESS GIANTS (1968)

This special actor also counted fantasy films among his repertoire with roles in films such as SUPERARGO & THE FACELESS GIANTS (1968), the sequel to the enjoyable SUPERARGO VS. DIABOLICUS (1966). In the sequel, Sambrell plays Kamir, the Arabic sidekick to Euro cinema mainstay, Ken (Giovanni Cianfriglia) Wood. Kamir teaches Superargo new abilities such as levitation and mind control.

Aldo Sambrell as Omar in THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1974)

Sambrell also had small roles in American movies like CANNON FOR CORDOBA (1970) and his role as Omar, one of Sinbad's ship hands in the classic fantasy spectacular, THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1974).

Omar survives the battle with Kali, but apparently his death scene at the hands of the giant cyclopean centaur had to be cut. His character simply disappears during the conclusion

In the latter, Sambrell makes it to the end, but his death scene at the hands of the giant one eyed centaur has mysteriously been cut out of the film. One minute he's preparing to fight with the others, the next shot, he's seen lying motionless behind some rocks.

From left to right: Aldo Sambrell, Klaus Kinski, Mario Brega, Lee Van Cleef & an unidentified actor

Duncan ruthlessly and brutally guns down a man and his wife. He puts more bullets into the woman after she's already dead

The world of cinema has lost yet another memorable and prolific personality. Aldo Sambrell was one of the most recognizable and welcome faces in Italian sagebrush sagas and his career spanned many more genres. Riding off into the sunset, he leaves behind many portrayals that European film fans will remember for years to come.

Assorted Bits & Pieces: Cool Ass Cinema Gets The Versatile Blogger Award


A few days ago, Will Errikson of the essential blog, Too Much Horror Fiction has passed along the Versatile Blogger Award to me. I am greatly appreciative that he thought of me when passing this along. As per this award, the rules are as follows:

-Thank the person who gave it to you
-Share 7 things about yourself

-Pass the award to 15 other blogs you've recently discovered, are engaging and of particular interest.


For the 15 I selected, I tried to keep with blogs that were different in some way and relatively new ones I found from other blogs such as The Horror Blogger Alliance. A few of them I've followed for a while now, but think they deserve some mention. The seven things about me are below...

1. I've often been referred to as "weird" and "eccentric" when it comes to my tastes in entertainment. I do enjoy new, or modern things, but I tend to gravitate towards anything old, or classic when it comes to music, movies and TV shows. On that, if that makes you "weird" and "eccentric", I wouldn't have it any other way. They just don't make ANYTHING like they used to.

2. I have no children, but treat my two dogs like they were. They think they're human, anyways.

3. I've never been much of a political person, but I sincerely believe Obama needs to be impeached ASAP. Never before have I seen a President who is intentionally trying to ruin this country.

4. Protein bars and shakes can do wonders if you give them a chance.

5. I have little tolerance for people who try to force religion on others. I find it a fascinating concept, but nothing more. I am open to hearing about the beliefs of others, but prefer to leave it at that. I see it as a method of brainwashing, or controlling a group of people, or populace to "educate" (read SCARE) them into thinking a certain way.

6. I do believe in the existence of life on other planets. I have a hard time with the notion that the Earth is the only planet in this universe which sustains life.

7. Some of my favorite foods (both junk and otherwise) are Chinese food (especially real Chinese food!), Sushi (California Roll and Cream Cheese Roll are faves), Italian Steak and Cheese with a side order of stuffed Jalapeno Poppers, Pizza, Ribeye cooked Medium, Rice, Spaghetti & Meatballs, Hamburger, Tuna, Chicken Helper (most especially Mongolian Style Beef, Cheesy Chicken Enchilada and Tetrazzini). The Cheesy Chkn Enchilada goes great spread on burrito shells with hot sauce and sour cream on it. I'm not big on desserts, but Angel Food Cake is a low fat favorite (sometimes topped with whipped cream! Which no longer makes it a low fat favorite!)

Okay, now here's the blogs. There are a few others I read A LOT (two of them, Cheap Bin and I Like Horror Movies, I'm looking at you!), but this list is mostly made up of new ones I been perusing recently that I think are great reads. Give them a look.

These first two I have been following for some time now, but they are exceptionally well written and cover the gamut of weird and wild movies. Both (dfordoom @cult and Sam @ Mondo 70) treat their subject matter seriously, noting both good and bad aspects of the films they cover.

1. CULT MOVIE REVIEWS

2. MONDO 70: A WILD WORLD OF CINEMA

The Dope's blog is a humorous look at predominantly bad movies with an occasional focus on good movies (his recent coverage of the original STAR WARS trilogy being an example). There's some great 'bad' stuff here told in a witty style.

3. THEGREATWHITEDOPES MECHA BLOG-ZILLA

William Connelly's ode to everything Italiana is a wonderful stop for those wishing to read excerpts from various interviews and anecdotes from notable European movie makers and stars. Definitely a must read for those wishing to delve further into Italian cinema beyond merely watching the films themselves.

4. SPAGHETTI CINEMA

Another blog whose title tells all. Possessing a great banner, this site (run by Mysterious Pants) deals with everything giant and monsters from around the world. Not just limited to movies, the coverage here is all about the beasts.

5. GIANT MONSTERS ATTACK!

Nigel M runs this blog that deals strictly with Italian movies of the sleazy kind. If you're into European trash, this is a good place to visit. Reviews are told in a concise, relatively short format for 'on the go' readers.

6. ITALIAN FILM REVIEW

This is a second blog run by the very individual who awarded me this honor. Will's other blog covers movies and music from my favorite decade, the 1970's. This site covers lots of different genres of movies from that amazing decade. There's also a number of extremely dedicated posts on one of the best films of all time, JAWS (1975).

7. PANIC ON THE FOURTH OF JULY

Aaron's horror/exploitation site features a variety of grim material, but what makes his site stand out is the plethora of blogger interaction. He's not the only one who does it, but he seems to be the most prolific and creative in that realm.

8. THE DEATH RATTLE

Found this one linked from another great site, MOTION PICTURE GEMS. Steve Miller runs this nifty site built around everything bad about movies. From really old bad movies to new really bad movies, Miller covers it all.

9. MOVIES TO DIE BEFORE SEEING

Andrew Green runs this lively, entertaining, comedic blog that pokes fun at everything entertainment. Well written, irreverent, satirical and downright hilarious, Green pokes fun at the entertainment industry and those films and personalities that make our world go round.

10. WHO WANTS TATERS

This isn't a movie site, but a very rude, crude, socially unacceptable and very funny comical blog. There are several others I've seen out there like this one, but Max's site is the most recent of its kind I have happened upon and it's also one of the funniest of the lot.

11. MAX EVEL

This site is a treasure trove for those who grew up with Famous Monsters and even those who grew up "late" (like me) with that classic magazine. There are also other monster mags showcased here and a general love for monstrous cinema in general.

12. MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD

Colin from Kung Fu Friday's is a great stop for those looking for oldschool kung fu thrills. There's also some choice ad mats, posters and other images from everything Asian cinema.

13. KUNG FU FRIDAYS

KingWho?'s site tackles mostly newer HK action movies. When I say new, I am refering to the start of the New Wave period leading up to today. There are a few oldschool items here, but mostly

14. BULLETS OVER CHINATOWN

And finally, last but certainly not least, is Turnidoff Productions Death To CGI blog. Every horror and science fiction/fantasy fan should be checking this one out. The title says it all. It's a new blog, but contains some choice posts my favorite of which is the LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1986) post.

15. DEATH TO CGI

Well, those are my 15 picks. I hope you guys enjoy them and thanks to Will for giving me the award and thanks to all those who stop by to read my ramblings. It's much appreciated!
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