The Night Thread of Sabata (11/3)

Sabata is a character in a series of spaghetti westerns who is sometimes played by Lee Van Cleef and sometimes played by Yul Brynner.

That is a whole lot of genuine movie western badassness to go into playing one character.  He is a mysterious drifter generally on the side of law and justice, but leaves a lot of bodies in his wake and has no problem taking the prize money when it’s there.

While Sabata is something of a loner, he manages to attract some of the weirdest characters in the West.  There’s a banjo player with shifting loyalties named banjo; Carrincha, a filthy veteran who plays at being in the game for himself but really is very loyal to his friends; and Alley Cat, a silent man who manages to find hidden trampolines everywhere and bounces from building to building.

The Sabata series is one of my favorite Westerns because it’s basically a comic book version of the Wild West. If Lee Van Cleef has you expecting his understated menace from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, or Yul Brynner has you expecting a return to his Magnificent Seven… well, it’s there, but the world around them is all topsy turvy. 

Everyone has guns with secret compartments like they came out of Trigun. In Adios, Sabata, there’s a flamenco dancer who fires bullets from his feet. A villain plot from the first movie includes circus acrobats from St. Louis. Sabata might as well be Batman, fighting themed criminals with his own cadre of colorful allies.