The Beast Film Details
Overview: A Mexican couple, a maniacal Gringo rapist and a gang of cut-throat Mexican bandits are all after the large inheritance of a kidnapped Texas woman.
Review: “Buffalo Bill, Hero of the Far West” director Mario Costa’s unsavory Spaghetti western “The Beast” with Klaus Kinski could only have been produced in Europe. Hollywood would never dared to have made a western about a sexual predator on the prowl as the protagonist of a movie. Never mind that Kinski is ideally suited to the role of ‘Crazy’ Johnny. He plays an individual entirely without sympathy who is ironically dressed from head to toe in a white suit, pants, and hat. This low-budget oater has nothing appetizing about it. The typically breathtaking Spanish scenery around Almeria is nowhere in evidence. Instead, Costa and his director of photography Luciano Trasatti, who shot another Kinski western “And God Said to Cain,” lensed this horse opera in rather mundane setting around Tor Caldara, Lazio, Italy and Monte Gelato Falls, Treja River, Lazio, Italy. Nevertheless, “The Beast” qualifies as a Continental western because it deals with wholly unscrupulous characters and the action could be classified as film noir because the hero and heroine are trapped by intolerable circumstances that compel them to resort to criminal activities. Predictably, their well-laid plans backfire owing largely to the Kinski character. Indeed, the licentious Kinski character resembles a Wily E. Coyote type character. Consistently, he struggles to have sex with several beautiful women but either lawmen or outlaws frustrate each of his efforts. Ultimately, “The Beast” amounts to a tragic character study brimming with irony. The Stelvio Cipriani orchestral score sounds as if it were lifted by the Tony Anthony western “The Stranger Returns.” The Mario Costa screenplay takes place on the western frontier between San Diego and Mexico that is being terrorized by a notorious Mexican bandit called Machete (Giovanni Pallavicino of “We Still Kill the Old Way”) and his gang. They prey on the stagecoach and nobody is safe from their depredations. The first time that we see ‘Crazy’ Johnny Laster he pauses to refresh himself at a stream and spots a gorgeous looking woman washing clothes. He creeps up behind her and attacks her, but a bigger man armed with a rifle intervenes and he has to flee. He shows up in a nearby town and a snuff-snorting gunslinger recruits him to help ambush a wealthy man, Mr. Powers, on the trail and rob him. They wind up killing him and getting no money. Mr. Snuff-sniffer accidentally leaves his snuff box at the scene of the crime and the sheriff arrests on suspicion of murder. ‘Crazy’ shoots his accomplice from his hotel room so that he doesn’t have to worry about being implicated in the crime. Meanwhile, a young couple in love are having trouble making their way in the world. Riccardo (Steven Tedd of “Requiem for a Bounty Killer”) lives a Mexican couple on their ranch and helps them raise their real son Juan. In the village, Riccardo’s lovely girlfriend Juanita (Gabriella Giorgelli of “Stranger in Sacramento”) sings and dances in the cantina. Riccardo and Juanita plan to marry, but the last place that Juanita wants to settle down is on a dusty ranch. She dreams of living in the city, but life in the city requires more money than either Riccardo or she has. They team up with a blond outlaw name Glen (Paolo Casella of “Shoot the Living and Pray for the Dead”) and they plan to kidnap Mr. Power’s daughter Nancy when she comes to get her inheritance. Glen makes the fatal mistake of enlisting ‘Crazy’ Johnny to help them because Glen knows that Johnny needs the money to get women. They abduct Powers’ daughter and keep her at a remote cabin with Johnny standing guard over her. Meantime, Juanita masquerades as Powers’ daughter and shows up in town to get the money from Powers’ attorney Gary Pinkerton (Giuliano Raffaelli of “Blood and Black Lace”), but he grows suspicious because Juanita doesn’t look anything like he remembered Nancy. Riccardo brandishes his six-gun and warns Pinkerton that they have kidnapped Nancy. Unfortunately for Riccardo and Juanita, Pinkerton can only lay his hands on $50-thousand because Machete has struck such fear into the hearts of everybody that the Powers’ total inheritance cannot be shipped through the territory by stagecoach. Meanwhile, back at the cabin, horny Johnny tries to rape Nancy, but she outsmarts him, knows him out with a chair on the pretense of needing to be alone while she undresses. After she knocks him unconscious, she steals a buggy and drives it back to town. Johnny recovers, pursues her and murders her about the same time that Glen, Riccardo, Juanita, and Pinkerton meet him on the trail. They inform Johnny about the complications created by Machete’s reign of terror and give him $12-thousand as his cut of the money. Pinkerton is aghast at the sight of Nancy’s bloodstained corpse and threatens Johnny. Naturally, Johnny guns him down in cold blood on the spot. Things really begin to deteriorate as the law in San Diego sets out to capture Machete. Glen, Riccardo, and Juanita return to Mexico while Johnny attacks two women at a ranch and narrowly escapes getting caught. He rides to Mexico, finds a cantina whore and is going down on her when a bounty shoves a revolver in his face. Johnny confesses that he knows where they can find more money if they will release him. Machete’s men follow up on Johnny’s tip and capture Juanita. The villagers join Riccardo to attack Machete and Johnny rescues Juanita but she dies later on after a big shoot-out. Riccardo is left standing alone now. Machete and his men retaliated against his step parents, not only killing them but also little Juan. Everything that Riccardo and Juanita dreamed up having goes up in clouds of gun smoke for an unhappy ending. ‘Crazy’ Johnny dies and never gets to assuage his lust. If you think about Costa’s uncompromising sagebrusher, “The Beast” emerges as an interesting character study and an exercise in film noir in a western setting where everybody is punished.
Duration: 89 min
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller, Western
Also known as: Rough Justice,La belva,Die Bestie,Le goût de la vengeance,The Beast,Sammensvaergelsen,A Besta,O sadistis tou Far West,Bestia,Sammansvärjningen,Salaliitto,To ktinos tou San Diego,The Bell,Ta tsakalia tis Dysis,The Taste of Revenge