Wednesday, December 7, 2011

God Forgives...I Don't

One of my favorite lines in Robert Rodriguez's certifiably insane Machete is when Cheech Marin says, while pointing a gun at the head of a man begging for his life, "God has mercy...I don't."

A fantastically blasphemous statement punctuated by Marin pulling the trigger and blowing the man's brains out. What's better is that Marin plays a priest, so what he says, while not subtle, is hysterically offensive.

Machete began as a faux trailer in the Rodriguez/Tarantino film Grindhouse and Rodriguez developed it into a feature film that easily could have played second or third tier at some drive-in back in the 1970s.

What I recently learned was that the Marin statement actually spins off from an Italian film from 1967 called Dio Pardona...lo no! The American release was renamed Blood River, possibly because the distributors were nervous about the actual translation - God Forgives...I Don't!

The film stars Terence Hill who plays a character named Cat Stevens. Hill goes on to play this character in two other films: Ace High (1968) and Boot Hill (1969). These films also star Bud Spencer.

Terence Hill and Bud Spencer may not be known here in the States now but - believe it or not - in the early 1970s, they actually got some play and kids that hung out at Saturday or Sunday afternoon matinees during this time probably remember them.

Hill and Spencer paired up for a double shot of spaghetti western mayhem in My Name is Trinity (1970) and Trinity is STILL My Name (1971). My father took me to see both of them when I was really young. He must have liked My Name is Trinity because it wasn't long after seeing it that he hauled me to see the sequel.

I haven't seen either one since they came out but I do remember snippets. I remember Trinity riding into town, laying on a make-shift wooden sled pulled by his horse. Hill played Trinity so laid back that the character simply oozed charismatic obstinance. He was the perfect character for a generation trying to adopt a "What, me worry?" attitude despite the Vietnam War, campus violence, skyrocketing inflation, the gas crunch - all raging in life's background.

What's changed since then? Besides Vietnam, that is. The truth is we need Trinity now more than ever.

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