- Entertaining mix of Spaghetti Western and old-time serial 8/5/2000 12:00:00 AM by django-19
In the tradition of Clark Kent/Superman, Robert Woods plays both the seemingly gawky and cowardly Johnny Black and the black-masked avenger Starblack, who resembles such 1940s serial heroes as Batman or The Phantom, but in a Western context. The film alternates between the gruff stoicism associated with Italian westerns and a cartoonish feel that was no doubt a homage to the old-time serials that the director/writer/star had enjoyed as children. Somehow it all works and produces a Eurowestern that is both exciting and fun. Woods, who is usually very convincing as a tough, violent character, here plays the (outwardly) bumbling and weak-willed Johnny Black very convincingly, like a cross between Will Hutchins and Tony Perkins! Overall, STARBLACK is a very entertaining film that should appeal to a broad audience and is a choice role for star Robert Woods (who also wrote and sings the title theme on and off throughout the film!).
- Goofy Exuberance 2/18/2003 12:00:00 AM by rmahaney4
A hero wearing a black sheriff's star and in a mask that brings to mind the one worn by the killer in Blood and Black Lace fights for justice against the brutal banker Curry and his gang of killers.
This entertaining Italian western in very much in the mold of the Spanish Zorro movies being made in the late Fifties and early Sixties by Joaquin Marchent, among others. Other early Spaghetti Westerns, like The Last Gun (1964), have a similar plot as these movies were one of the early inspirations for the genre. The western town in Fistful of Dollars was originally built for one of Marchent's Zorro movies. Starblack has the same plot of masked hero v. oppressor and the same goofy exuberance. It is essentially just a series of escalating episodes that consist of Starblack escaping a trap laid for him by Curry (played by Franco Lantieri, who really hams it up). This, of cource, leads to a more elaborate trap and more unlikely escape in typical comic strip or serial style. Later Spaghetti Westerns like the Sabata and Sartana films or God Forgive . . . I Kill Them (1967) have a very similar plot construction which suggests that they belong in the same lineage. Zorro films would continue to be made in Spain and Italy through the Mid-Seventies.
Director Giovanni Grimaldi wrote and directed a number of Franco and Ciccio films, as well as some Toto films, which partially explain the comic tone of Starblack (Sergio Corbucci and Bruno also had similar roots in comedy). He also had a hand in scripting a number of peplum and early horror movies, including Danse Macabre (1964). His only other SW was the good In A Colt's Shadow (All'ombra di una colt) directed earlier the same year. Both movies have the same na?ve, 1950s American B-western look to them, though In A Colt's Shadow is by far the more interesting visually.
Robert Woods was one of the stars of the genre, though after the success of My Name Is Pecos, he would usually play darker roles including the memorable performances in cult classics like Blackjack (1968 ) and El Puro (1969) . Having seen these films before Starblack it was strange seeing him play a grinning, lanky, and guitar-playing cowboy. He sang the theme song, which is almost as memorable as Lee Van Cleef's solo for Captain Apache (1971).
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For fanatics only (bottom of the barrel) http://imdb.com/mymovies/list?l=21849890