Directed By: Ferdinando Baldi
Starring: Rita Pavone, Terence Hill, Lucio Dalla
Line from the movie: "You are taking a risk far too big, and it bugs me"
Trivia: The movie was also released as Crazy Westerners
Little Rita, also known as Crazy Westerners, appeared to be a spaghetti western / musical with tons of personality. Too bad I have such a shitty copy of it, otherwise I'd know for sure whether it is or isn't.
Gunslinger Little Rita (Rota Pavone) roams the west, gathering up all the gold she can from outlaws and murderers. It’s not that Little Rita is greedy; on the contrary, she plans to destroy the gold she's collected, believing it to be the root of all evil. Chief Sitting Buffalo (Gordon Mitchell) and his tribe support Rita in her quest, and even allow her to hide the gold she’s already recovered in one of their caves.
With the help of her German friend John Fitzgerald (Lucio Dalla), Rita also takes on two of the area’s most notorious criminals, Ringo (Kirk Morris) and Django (Enzo Di Natali), and manages to add their gold to her cache. Her luck runs out, though, when she encounters Mexican bandit Pancho (Fernando Sancho), who takes her prisoner. Fortunately for Rita, she also meets up with Black Star (the always charismatic Terence Hill), who aids her in her time of need. But is Black Star really all that he claims to be?
Despite being half as tall as everyone else in the film, Rita Pavone won me over with her portrayal of the title character, and she even got to kick some ass along the way (not convincingly, mind you, but she did her best). The movie also made me laugh quite a few times (in the opening scene, a bandit, holding up a stagecoach, says to the driver “Here, let me help you down”, then immediately shoots the poor guy in the belly. On paper, it might sound mean-spirited, but trust me, it was funny!). As for the musical sequences, they were always up-beat, with people dancing and jumping all over the place, and it looked like everyone was having the time of their life.
It’s here, though, that my DVD copy of Little Rita let me down. Part of an 8-movie western pack released by Echo Bridge Entertainment, the version of Little Rita I saw was dubbed, and not subtitled. To be fair, I knew this going in; Echo Bridge almost always opts for the dubbed version, and most of the time it isn’t an issue (not much of one, anyway). But this 1967 film was also a musical, and each and every song was still in its original Italian! And seeing as there was a musical number every few minutes, there’s a whole chunk of this movie I couldn’t understand. I’m not saying they should have dubbed the songs as well (that would have sucked more). Some subtitles would have been helpful, though.
I would love to see a completely subtitled version of Little Rita. It’s a goofy movie, but also a lot of fun.