Attention all Spaghetti/Euro Western lovers: there’s a new sheriff in town by the name of Dorado Films. With only a handful of releases under their belt (including NOW THEY CALL ME SACRAMENTO, THE THREE MUSKETEERS OF THE WEST and MISSION BLOODY MARY), Dorado Films is already showing some serious potential to Euro westerns and spy film aficionados. One recent release, THE MAN FROM OKLAHOMA (aka OKLAHOMA JOHN) is a delightfully campy western, joint-produced by our friends in Spain, Italy and Germany.
As lighthearted as can be, THE MAN FROM OKLAHOMA is very reminiscent of the bygone American cowboy feature from the golden era of Saturday matinees -- with a twist of the “Euro” filmmaking style. The film’s hero, Rick Horn, is about as big and dumb-looking as they come. He can be observed in several scenes with his mouth hanging open and an expression upon his face that would rival even John Malkovich’s Lenny in OF MICE AND MEN. For a better visualization, think Lou Ferrigno as GUNSMOKE’s Matt Dillon. Dutch actor Horn (aka Anton Geesing/Anton Geesink) only made a few more films during his limited acting career, including Samson in THE GREAT LEADERS OF THE BIBLE.
When Rio Rojo’s old sheriff is murdered in cold blood by the resident group of villains, in rides Oklahoma Dan (Horn) to take over. Appointed by the powers that be to replace the late lawman, Sheriff Dan (also known as Thomas Hunter or Oklahoma John, depending on which version you see) comes complete with a kung-fu grip as well as a venerable assortment of gunplay tricks to challenge the local baddies. Making the acquaintance of local Georgina White (Sabine Bethmann, also seen in DR. MABUSE VS. SCOTLAND YARD), Sheriff Dan decides to help the poor landowner out by finding out who murdered her father several years earlier. Was it the local dubious rancher Rod Edwards (veteran Euro actor José Calvo)? Or was it Edwards’ drunkard of a son, Jim (George Herzig) and his pal, the ne’er-do-well Hondo (Karl-Otto Alberty)? Perhaps it was all the devious plan of Georgina’s own fiancé, saloon owner Watson (Tom Felleghy)?
If you’ve seen even one vintage B-Cowboy picture, you’ve probably figured the whole ending out already -- but that doesn’t take away any of the cheesy fun found in THE MAN FROM OKLAHOMA. Between actor Horn’s constant expression of “Duh…” and the god-awful dubbed voice for Karl-Otto Alberty’s Hondo character (somewhere, Louis L’Amour is gritting his teeth), you’re bound to get a good laugh or two out of this one. The more “serious” Euro Westerners will also get a kick out of THE MAN FROM OKLAHOMA, as it contains a few good musical queues and some decent photography throughout.
On DVD, Dorado Films has given THE MAN FROM OKLAHOMA an anamorphic transfer. The box art says the film is framed at a 1.85:1 ratio, while it plays on TV in a 2.35:1 form. However, the whole image looks as through it’s been stretched a little bit, vertically -- making it a bit hard for me to determine the actual aspect ratio here. The transfer itself is much better than you’d expect from a fairly new and independent company. While the print used contains its share of imperfections (mostly minor), the overall presentation of the film is very good. An English mono stereo soundtrack accompanies the film, which comes through loud and clear (and tinny, like all good mid-1960s Euro Westerns should be). The disc is NTSC formatted, and is playable in Region 1 and Region 4 DVD players.
Special features for THE MAN FROM OKLAHOMA include seven vintage International trailers for other forgotten westerns: THE THREE MUSKETEERS OF THE WEST (with George Eastman -- as a good guy for a change), GATLING GUN, HANDS OF A GUNFIGHTER, RIDE AND KILL, THE IMPLACABLE THREE, THE SHADOW OF ZORRO (this one, I need to see), and TWO VIOLENT MEN. All of the trailers are presented in anamorphic widescreen. For more info on Dorado Films and a look at their other titles, please visit www.doradofilms.com. You’ll thank me later. (Adam Becvar aka Luigi Bastardo - email@example.com)
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