They Call Me Trinity (1970) Review

I’ve been watching a lot of Spaghetti Western films lately because I’m working on my own feature screenplay inspired by the sub-genre. Enzo Barboni (credited as his pseudonym E.B. Clucher) directed what is considered by many to be one of the best Spaghetti Western films, titled They Call Me Trinity (also known as My Name is Trinity). The film stars Terence Hill and Bud Spencer, who went on to make many Spaghetti Western films together.

This was also a great quality print, especially when compared to many Spaghetti Western film prints. A lot of these films only exist on VHS, so the DVD copies are just VHS transfers. However, this print is in the correct aspect ratio (2.35:1) and has been restored. I purchased a two pack of They Call Me Trinity and one of the many sequels, Trinity is Still My Name here – (https://www.amazon.com/Trinity-Twin-Pack-They-Still/dp/B000QCU9JO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1485402154&sr=8-1&keywords=trinity+two+disc+set). It is a great set if you’re interested.

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Trinity riding in his homemade cart

The film opens with a nontraditional Western hero being dragged by his horse in a homemade cart of sorts. We soon find out that this is the central character, Trinity (Terrence Hill). Terrence Hill’s comedic performance as Trinity is one of the best that I’ve seen in a Spaghetti Western film. The dubbed lines work really well with his facial expression and reactions. Although he is a nontraditional Western hero, he is still setup as an expert gunslinger. We see him shoot behind his back without looking multiple times throughout the film.

Trinity visits his brother, Bambino (Bud Spencer), who is pretending to be a sheriff and reluctant to see him. Bambino is really a thief and a criminal, masquerading as an upholder of the law. Bambino uses many guns, but mostly uses his physical strength to attack his enemies. His signature moves are a bop on the head and a karate chop to the neck. We do see Bambino’s respect for guns in one scene where he sleeps on the floor and allows his shotgun to take the bed.

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Bambino (left) and Trinity (right)

The general plot of the film follows a Seven Samurai style story. A group of criminals are tormenting a tribe of farmers. The only difference is that these farmers are Mormons and refuse to fight because of their beliefs. Their leader, Brother Tobias, is a little too friendly to everyone. Eventually, Trinity and Bambino convince the farmers to fight using their fists. They try to train them, which has some comedic effects.

This film has some terrific comedy overall. The comedic violence is expertly crafted throughout. We have a huge Saloon brawl toward the beginning of the film that is echoed later in the ridiculous, over the top final brawl with the farmers.

Another great setup and payoff is Trinity relationship to the two Mormon women who convince him to stay with their tribe after he learns that their beliefs allow for polygamy (multiple marriages). At the end of the film, Trinity thinks he’s gotten off great until he learns that the Mormons expect him to do backbreaking manual labor every day. In response he runs off and decides to join his brother and his criminal friends.

This movie has all the great things you’d expect from a Spaghetti Western film. It has a terrific score. The theme (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_mMMI0Kc7I) is actually used as the end credit song in Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Of course there also multiple snap zooms and quick cuts at times, a staple of the sub-genre.

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What really makes the film work  is the brother’s relationship. Trinity is an initiator and loves to stir trouble, while Bambino is the straight man and only conducts violence when necessary. One of my favorite lines of the film is Trinity’s response to Bambino telling him that he needs to do something with his life. Trinity says, “Who’s got time? I’m already busy doing nothing.”

All in all, this was an entertaining and hilarious Spaghetti Western film. It has all the staples of the genre and elevates it to new heights. The terrific performances from Terrence Hill and Bud Spencer make the film, and led to their deserving success. I highly recommend this film for fans of the sub-genre or anyone who is interested in learning more about Italian Western films. It is truly a great example of what the sub-genre has to offer.

Here is a link to the trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkZQ5iXSMs8

Written by: William David Glenn IV

1.25.17

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