Monday, 1 February 2016

They Call Me Trinity (1970)

They Call Me Trinity was the brainchild of Italian director Enzo Barboni, often known by his psudyenom E.B. Clucher. After a serious Western, Chuck Moll, which failed to be a success at the box office, Barboni began work on what he hoped would be a parody of the Spaghetti genre. Barboni for his part knew a thing or too about the Spaghetti, he had been the director of photography on Sergio Cobucci’s famous Western, Django.

As writer and director of the film Barboni certainly created the wonder that we see on screen, but the film could not have been a success were it not for the blue-eyed matinee idol who brought the character of Trinity to life.

By the time of Trinity Terence Hill (b. Mario Girotti) was a veteran of forty six films at the tender age of 31, including Luchino Visconti’s famous The Leopard, a successful Spaghetti trilogy including the films, God Forgives…I don’t, Ace High and Boot Hill and a remake/sequel of Django, known as, Django prepare a Coffin. 

The other star of the film was Bud Spencer (b. Carlo Pedorlisi) a hulking former Olympic swimmer who at the time of filming resembled more of a wrestler. He and Hill had first teamed up in God Forgives…I don’t but it was Trinity that cemented their legendary status.

Hill and Spencer play brothers, Trinity and Bambino, who find themselves siding with a group of Mormon farmers who are attempting to start a community. Trinity acts out of a combination of goodness and his attraction for two Mormon girls, Sarah and Judith. Bambino, always the reluctant counterpart, wants to steal the Majors horses. 

The way in which Trinity eliminated the violence of traditional Westerns was in some ways surprisingly simple, yet rather clever and original. The employment of a group of Mormons, who refuse to have guns at ‘their table’, cause Trinity (good naturally) and Bambino (reluctantly) to lay down their firearms, out of respect for their wishes, and employ their next best weapons-their fists. This saves the film from an overly violent tone, despite the fact that within the first 15 minutes five people are killed by the brothers (Trinity’s killings are albeit humorously impressive). As the brothers attempt to teach the Mormon’s to fight the results create one of the most memorable scenes in the film. The Mormon’s are of course being victimised by a pushy Major and his henchmen, and a somewhat psychotic Mexican bandit named Mescal. Mescal turns out to be no match for Bambino in the strength stakes however. 

Trinity and Bambino are very much the ‘odd couple’ two brothers whose personalities are as different as their appearance. Bambino, the oldest, despite his name, is surly, brutally strong, impatient, and with more criminal intent than his younger brother. In appearance he is huge, with a thick dark beard, and squinty eyes, grunting and hitting people on the head are his main forms of communication. In comparison Trinity is handsome, thin, and fair. Whilst he is lazy and filthy, he posses a heart of gold, and a sense of justice that is often at odds with his older brother. Trinity also has almost magical abilities with his skills at drawing his gun, generally employed whilst slapping people across the face. Trinity is constantly befriending the underdog, first the helpless Mexican accused of killing a man who tried to seduce his wife, then the Mormons (particularly the beautiful Sarah and Judith). This is a trend, which continues into the films sequel, Trinity is Still my Name, in which he befriends a helpless family of settlers and then a group of Catholic priests. Bambino is less than impressed with his brother’s kindness towards these hapless victims.

They Call Me Trinity was a huge success at the European box office, it outgrossed Sergio Leone's 'Dollars Trilogy' and cemented Hill and Spencer as international stars. An even more successful sequel, Trinity is Still My Name was released a year later. 

(They Call Me Trinity is my favourite film of all time, and consequently, I could go on and on about it!)

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