A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe Film Details
Overview: Three rogues set out to rob $300,000 from an Indian-hating cavalry major.
Review: “Un genio, due compari, un pollo” or “A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe” is a co-production betweeen Italy, France and West Germany from 1975, so this film has its 45th anniversary now in 2020. As you can see from the title, the heart of it all is Italian and this is also the language spoken in here from beginning to end. Nonetheless, especially the German component here is somewhat defining because in several areas of production we have one Italian contributor and one German. You can check out the crew list for yourself. France’s involvement seems smaller: There is Miou-Miou in the cast, but not too much more honestly. Robert Charlebois, the second male lead, may sound French, but he is Canadian. The director is Damiano Damiano (what a name!) and he is known for frequently penning his own films and he is also one of many writers credited for these over two hours. The biggest name there is certainly Sergio Leone, even if it “only” says “idea” with him. Still, his name always attracts attention. There is at least one bigger name thouggh. Probably Terence Hill, as much as I like him, is not a bigger name than Leone. The one who is, is Ennio Morricone, who died really not too long ago at a very ancient age and he has been in charge of the soundtracks from many defining western films over the course of his eternal career. Also not the only time he came up with the score for a Terence Hill movie. This one here is of course also a western. A spaghetti western. This was from the time when Hill and Bud Spencer made many films together and they both started off in western films, but those, a few years earlier, were films in which Hill played a more defining character most of the time before it took a turn in Spencer’s favor. He is not in this movie, so it is a bit back to the roots for Hill, but also not back to the roots because his older western films were on the more serious side and this one here is actually pretty light. Just take one of the most serious moments, actually a rare occasion when somebody gets shot, probably killed, namely when a Black fella on a black horse is heard screaming a warning to another character. And the man vanishes and is somewhat replaced by Hill’s character on a white horse. How they say: “Oh look, now it is a White man on a white horse” was pretty funny with the music that came with it. So even those in factg more dramatic moments always are a bit on the lighter side. There are many other moments that have a certain tongue-in-cheek comedy to them. On some occasions we are reminded that men do not have the nicest smell on them in these films and this also includes Hill’s main character. Most memorable scene there would be when he enters a woman’s apartment through the window and she is crushing on him immediately and wants to kiss him and when he finally agrees and the two lock lips, we see her hold her nose. But yeah, apart from this little imperfection, it is also again very telling because Hill with his light hair and bright blue eyes always has a heartthrob component to him in these western films especially. Certainly more than in his Spencer collabs, even there he is also more often the one from the two who has a bit of romance to his character. I’m kinda glad the man is still alive (in contrast to Buddy) and he is in his early 80s now. Hopefully he’s got a few more years left. The aforementioned Miou-Miou and Charlebois are also still with us at this point. Miou-Miou sounds a bit Asian to me, but she is really the opposite, namely a French blonde. Somehow I felt though that she did not really fit in this film at all or at least did not make a lasting impression, which also has to do of course with how her character was written. This is one key criticism I have here, which already may explain my low rating a bit. I will elaborate on others later on. One is that it feels as if a good cast got a bit wasted here. I mean everybody kinda adds their share, but it could have been so much more/better with a better script and story. Just take Kinski who is only in the first thirty minutes and basically does nothing except emphasize how cool and skilled Hill’s character. A nothing character to propel another really. Not fair to Kinski, especially if we look at how great he did with Herzog during that time. I do not even say that Kinski should have been the main antagonist. McGoohan is another pretty gifted actor, but, even if he has the screen time in the second half of the film, he is never on a level where he stunned me and kinowing how good he is from other stuff I have seen him in, I think it is not the actor’s fault.Harmstorf and Battaglia are other actors who feel a bit wasted here. I guess the many German people working on this film are also the reason why the movie received the Golden Screen (Goldene Leinwand) here in my country, an awards for films seen by an extraordinarily high amount of people in movie theaters although having Hill and/or Spencer on board always increased a movie’s chances to do so. I think some of the Winnetou adaptations did so as well and there Hill is also in one. At least one, not sure if more. But back to this one here: A few general statements: There are more animals in here than I expected, especially early on. Like not just horses, but also poultry, a little monkey on one occasion even (not sure if I remember correctly) and a majestic bird, who certainly does not belong in that cage. Also one thing I find really baffling is how here in Germany (and apparently in other countries too), this film was advertized as a sequel to the movie Hill made with Henry Fonda a few years earlier. Which I think it is not. At least not officially. But they even call the main character Nobody in here, which has nothing to do with his real name and I find it really bizarre how basically the dubbing artists and whoever picked the German title turned this film into something that it wasn’t at all, only because the same actor was in it and the same genre and he played a similar character. Oh by the way, those that are gonna miss Spencer here, don’t worry: If you are going for the German dub, at least you will find a minor character who has Spencer’s German voice actor in charge. Felt pretty strange though because the character was also bearded, evein if a completely different hair color. Everybody is kinda bearded in these films and a bit on the gruff side. Maybe this is what made Hill so considerably stand out in these films because physically he is the exact opposite apparently. But at least he does not smell any better either. As for the film’s quality, I think that unfortunately it never turned into a success. The plot inclusions on gold and Indians rarely felt convincing, let alone get you on the edge of your seat. The beginning was still okay, but the longer it went, the more forgettable it became. Already talked about my issues with the female lead here, but with Charlebois’ character it wasn’t really any better. He felt a bit of a grupp companion to Hill’s character, but so uninteresting, basically like a really poor man’s Spencer here and there and his (alleged) Indian background added almost nothing although it was meant to be a crucial part of the story. Also no clue why the girl near the end all of a sudden picked him to stay with after her signs throughout the movie that she wants Hill’s character and nobody else could not have been any more obvious. And don’t tell me please that the approach to depict the latter as a lone wolf made it credible whatsoever. Alright, I think that is all then. I only hesitated initially, but gotta give this one a thumbs-down here. It comes short in almost every department and that also includes Morricone’s music, even if he is of course not bad or anything. But in the aforementioned Hill movie with Fonda, the tune was so incredibly catchy and joyful that he had a hige challenge here to come only close to this level. Maybe okay for Morricone lovers to check this one out, but just don’t expect too much. For my fellow Terence Hill fans, him in the lead alone is not enough to see a great deal of quality in this film. It’s more on the forgettable side overall. Watch something else instead because, especially looking at the cast, this turned out a missed opportunity.
Country: Italy, France, West Germany
Duration: 126 min
Genre: Comedy, Western
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