A Coffin for the Sheriff [Una bara per lo sceriffo] (1965)
AKA Lone and Angry Man & Tomb for the Sheriff
Starring Anthony Steffen, Eduardo Fajardo, Fulvia Franco, George Rigaud, Armando Calvo, Arturo Dominici, Luciana Gilli, Miguel Del Castillo, Jesús Tordesillas, Tomás Torres, María Vico
Directed by Mario Caiano
Expectations: Low, but I enjoy Anthony Steffen so hopefully it’ll be good.
Let’s just cut to the chase: A Coffin for the Sheriff is a good, enjoyable spaghetti western, but one that is very average and clichéd. The fact that it remains interesting and fun is a testament to the quality of the storytelling, with the mystery of our main character Shenandoah slowly revealed over the course of the film. If you’ve seen any movie like this before, I’m sure you can unravel it rather quickly as I did, but regardless, it’s a story well told with lots of good scenes sprinkled throughout.
The film opens with Lupe Rojo’s gang robbing a wagon and murdering the people on it. This leads into an awesome montage of wanted posters, telegraph operators and the ever-riding Lupe Rojo as he continues to skirt the law in any way he can. After this we meet Shenandoah (played by genre-staple Anthony Steffen), a mysterious stranger who rides into town and has a run-in with the bandit group. Instead of fighting against them as you’d expect though, he rides off with them, helping an injured member escape along with him. Is this Shenandoah worthy of your trust? (On a side note: The word/name Shenandoah ranks near the top of my most hated words in the lexicon of classic Western cinema and its use here continues to annoy me.)