GOD’S GUN (DIAMANTE LOBO) (director/writer: Gianfranco Parolini (Frank Kramer); screenwriter: from a story by John Franseca; cinematographer: Sandro Mancori; editor: M. Camastra; music: Sante Maria Romitelli; cast: Lee Van Cleef (Father John/Lewis), Jack Palance (Sam Clayton), Leif Garrett (Johnny), Richard Boone (The Sheriff), Sybil Danning (Jenny), Heinz Bernard (Judge Barrett); Runtime: 93; Irwin Yablans/MGM; 1976-Italy/Israel)
“The film is all action and no brains.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This is a diverting spaghetti western starring Lee Van Cleef as both a priest and a gunslinger. Van Cleef looks somewhat comical adorned as a priest in a shaggy blond wig. This oater pushes all the formulaic buttons from the traditional westerns to tell its revenge tale. Plus it brings forth the ugly violence from the non-traditional Italian western such as, rape, wanton murder, and a depraved gang of outlaws who ravage a town. It comes with an over-the-top performance by Jack Palance as the hateful villain with the nasty smirk. It’s a ridiculous film that manages to be both vulgar and pointless, but in some odd way is winsome despite its lame acting, terrible script, and trite dialogue.
The Clayton gang rob the Crane City bank and rape an attractive woman, before gang leader Sam Clayton (Palance) takes his animal-like gang to Juno City, a border town founded by a priest, Father John (Van Cleef). In Juno, Clayton’s nephews intimidate a bar owned by Jenny, a woman with a past history that becomes the film’s big secret. Clayton’s nephew Jess throws a knife into the back of a card player his other nephew just cheated in a card game. Jenny’s adolescent shaggy haired blond son Johnny (Garrett) is befriended by Father John and acts as the bell ringer for the church. When the cowardly sheriff (Boone) refuses to go after the Clayton gang, the priest single-handedly sneaks up on the gang’s campsite and receives unexpected help from Johnny to bring Jess in for trial. All the sheriff can say, is that will bring on trouble.
The Clayton gang rushes into town at night and frees their gang member, while overpowering Judge Barrett and threatening to molest his daughters. They also gun down the priest on the dusty street in front of his church. Johnny reacts by stealing a couple of horses from the gang and riding to Mexico to locate Father John’s retired gunslinger twin brother Lewis, also played by Van Cleef.
The finale is a showdown of Lewis getting revenge on those who killed his brother. It also reveals Jenny’s secret about who is Johnny’s father. The film is all action and no brains. It could have used less marinara sauce and put more meat into the story.
REVIEWED ON 6/15/2002 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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