January 10, 2018

Revisiting Gunman of Ave Maria (1969)

I could watch Spaghetti Westerns all day every day; I just love the atmosphere, the scenery, characters and most importantly the music.

Il Pistolero Dell’ave Maria AKA Forgotten Pistolero AKA Gunman of Ave Maria has one of the best music scores of any Western and it isn’t even by Ennio Morricone. The music is by Roberto Pregadio and it’s essentially just one theme which plays throughout but in different ways and it has such a romantic, sweeping and yearning feel to it that it always transports me away to another place and time as the best movies should.

Gunman of Ave Maria is one of my favourite Spaghetti Westerns, not just for the music but I really love the story too which is an adaptation of the Greek myth of Orestes. There are themes of betrayal, love, regret and revenge all of which add up to a gripping tale.

Plot: When he returns home from war the Mexican general Juan Carrasco is killed by the lover of his wife Anna and by Anna as well. The victim’s children run away with their nanny but fifteen years later they come back for revenge. Anna and Tomas want to have them killed but their henchmen fail them. It turns out Anna is not the real mother of the dead general’s children.

It has several twists and turns but I was really emotionally engaged and found it a surprisingly moving tale. More importantly though, there is still plenty of action with shoot-outs and punch ups every few minutes.

It stars Leonard Mann as Sebastian Carrasco and Peter Martell as Rafael Garcia who are the two heroes out for revenge. Both aren’t exactly great conversationalists but they are good at brooding and looking cool.

I really loved the character of Anna Carrasco (Luciana Paluzzi) who is frankly a completely conniving monster however, even despite her dark deeds by the end of the tale you do feel (at least a little) sympathy for her.

Gunman of Ave Maria is also blissfully short running at just 80 minutes there is no wasted time and is tightly directed so we are always engaged with the story and plentiful action scenes.

If you’ve never seen this movie but love a good Western then seek it out; you’ll hopefully fall in love with the music too.

About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel

I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it’s a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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