Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 18th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1965
Director: Giorgio Ferroni
Writers: Giorgio Ferroni, Giorgio Stegani
Cast: Giuliano Gemma, Ida Galli, Pierre Cressoy, Giuseppe Addobbati, Franco Fantasia, Tullio Altamura, Massimo Righi, Andrea Scotti, Nazzareno Zamperla, Benito Stefanelli, Franco Lantieri
DVD released: August 24th, 2007
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono Italian, Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
Subtitles: English, Italian, Japanese
DVD Release: SPO/Imagica
Region Coding: Region 2 NTSC (Japan)
Retail Price: $41.95
Synopsis: A former Confederate army captain named Gary O’Hara has difficulty finding work. He wants to raise the money needed to start a new life with his wife out west. He eventually finds work in a poverty stricken town called Yellowstone. Gary is hired by McCoy the richest man in Yellowstone. The sheriff is out of town and McCoy wants Gary to help bring in an outlaw named Blackie. Gary narrowly escapes death while trying to apprehend Blackie who is gunned down by McCoy and his henchmen. To complicate things further Blackie was not an outlaw. He was Gary’s brother Phil who was helping protect some of the locales from bandits who worked for McCoy. After Gary recovers from his near death experience he returns to Yellowstone incognito to avenge the death of his brother.
One Silver Dollar was director Giorgio Ferroni’s first foray into the Spaghetti Western genre. Other notable films that Giorgio Ferroni directed include Mill of the Stone Women and The Trojan Horse. Throughout the 1960’s and into the early 1970’s Giuliano Gemma would become one of most in demand actors working in the Spaghetti Western Genre. One Silver Dollar was Giuliano Gemma first leading role in a Spaghetti Western. The score for One Silver Dollar was composed by Gianni Ferrio who notable scores include Death Walks at Midnight and Tony Arzenta.
The plot for One Silver Dollar features some interesting twists on the revenge western theme prominent in so many Spaghetti Westerns. The core of the story revolves around a former confederate captain named Gary O’Hara who is just trying to support his family in a post Civil War climate that is not too friendly to southern who fought in the war. The plot is filled with several interesting twists that keep things lively. The plot really starts to gain moment after the death of Gary’s brother. Even though the plot is filled with many of the Spaghetti Western genres cliches the story as a whole still manages to be engaging and fun.
This difference between good and bad is clearly defined in One Silver Dollar. The Bad Guys will shot unarmed men while Gary will only fight if his opponent is armed. The character that Giuliano Gemma plays lacks that edge that is present in ambiguous characters like Franco Nero’s Django or the character that Clint Eastwood plays in the Man with no Name trilogy.
Visually One Silver Dollar is a workman like effort from director Giorgio Ferroni. One Silver Dollar was made near the beginning of the Spaghetti Western cycle in Italy and the level of violence is tame compared to later Spaghetti Western films like The Great Silence and Django. The action sequences in One Silver Dollar are top notch. The two standout fight scenes in the film are a scene were Gary O’ Hara introduces himself to McCoy’s men when he first comes to town looking for work. The other is a scene where Gary O’Hara is tied to a fence after McCoy’s men have beaten him.
Cast in the lead role of Gary O’Hara is Giuliano Gemma under the alias Montgomery Wood. Giuliano Gemma excels during the action sequences while during the more dramatic moments he is merely adequate. Cast in the role of Gary O’Hara’s wife Judy is Ida Galli who also sports an alias Evelyn Stewart. Performance wise she is given very little to do and is used as nothing more than eye candy. Some of Ida Galli’s more notable performances include The Whip and the Body, Case of the Scorpion’s Tail, Knife of Ice and The Psychic. The rest of the cast are more than adequate in their respective roles. Ultimately One Silver Dollar is an enjoyable second tier Spaghetti Western which features one of the genres more unusual premises.
One Silver Dollar is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The image like most Spaghetti Westerns released in Japan has been transferred from a clean looking source. Colors look accurate and details look good throughout with a few instances where the image looks a tad too soft. Overall One Silver Dollar is on par with SPO’s other Spaghetti Western releases.
This release comes with three audio options English, Italian and Japanese. All three audio mixes are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. All three audio mixes sound clear and evenly balanced. There are no audio defects. Three subtitles options have been included English, Italian and Japanese. All three subtitle options are removable and not forced during playback.
Extras for this release include an Italian language trailer and an English language trailer for the film. The remaining extra content is text based (in Japanese) and it includes info about the cast & crew and production notes about the film. One Silver Dollar previously was only available as part of SPO’s Macaroni Western Bible box set series. SPO’s stand alone DVD release for One Silver Dollar has a nice looking transfer that comes with a multitude of audio and subtitle options including the films’ Italian language. This release like most Japanese Spaghetti Western releases comes with a high price tag. There are other Cheaper DVD releases of One Silver Dollar like the Shoarma Digital DVD release which unfortunately comes with only the English language track and the image in a non anamorphic letterboxed widescreen.