Zanna Bianca Alla Riscossa Download Torrent ->->->-> DOWNLOAD (Mirror #1)
Original Title: Zanna Bianca Alla Riscossa
Set at the end of the 19th century in Canada's gold rush Klondike area, wolf-dog White Fang teams up with a prospector when his master is killed. Together they try to avenge his death.
Here's a lower-budgeted sequel to Lucio Fulci's near classic WHITE FANG of 1972, which spawned an official sequel and lots of cheaper imitations made by the likes of trash auteurs Joe D'Amato, Alfonso Brescia, and this film's director and my personal favourite of the bunch, Tonino Ricci. Ricci was a man who dabbled in the genres throughout the late '60s and early '70s before finding his niche as an action director, giving the world such classics as THE SHARK'S CAVE and RUSH THE ASSASSIN in the early '80s. Despised by many, Ricci can always be relied upon to deliver a cheesy, action-packed escapade and WHITE FANG TO THE RESCUE (an obscure item thankfully now seeing the light of day thanks to an el cheapo DVD release in 2001) is no exception, packing lots of chases, shoot-outs, and fist-fights into its predictable but appealing storyline.
Most of the appeal comes from the exploitation cast which nearly equals that of Fulci's first shaggy dog story. Any fan of Italian cult movies will see lots of familiar faces popping up but more on that later. First up is the visual appeal of the film which makes great use of supposedly Alaskan locations (actually filmed in Austria I think, like the rest of this unofficial sub-genre), all snowy hillsides, bleak forests, and small mining towns. You can almost smell the atmosphere and the chilly setting is a nice change from the scorching dry locales of the spaghetti western. The script makes some fine attempts at characterisation and the decent dubbing makes it easier to take the on screen activities more seriously than usual. Although there are no special effects aside from a couple of dodgy shots, Ricci creates an impressive movie by focusing on the acting and actors. Sure the action isn't top-notch but it involves people we get to know and love (or indeed hate in the case of the baddies) which makes it interesting and darned entertaining.
The one thing I didn't like about this movie is the bear-baiting sequence which is nearly as bad as the animal snuff seen in the Italian cannibal genre which surfaced five years after this movie was released. In it a chained bear is repeatedly attacked and mauled by an Alsatian dog (supposedly White Fang) with both animals trading blows and bites. Very hard stuff to watch and dwelled upon far too long, this is both distasteful and cheap exploitational film-making at its lowest. Ah well, what more can you say? Some people would film anything for a buck and it makes for the film's one true moment of horror. WHITE FANG TO THE RESCUE is worth sitting through to be gobsmacked at the hilarious conclusion, set in the middle of nowhere, which sees bloody battles, men shot dead, and the villain being savaged and brutalised by the dog before his lifeless body - or perhaps that of a dummy - drifts down the river. White Fang goes on to save the life of a boy hanging off the edge of a cliff. Here the funniest moment of the film comes - Fang slips himself and falls in, leading to a quick cut of a what looks like a sack of potatoes, covered in fur, being chucked into a river! A hilariously inept effect and one which had me reaching for the rewind button.
Cast-wise the lead is taken by Franco Nero look alike Maurizio Merli playing a character incredibly called Benjamin Dover! Merli appears in his breakthrough performance here and his first hard-edged leading man role although he's noticeably softer and more likable than in his bad-mannered "Inspector Berti" type roles in the Italian polizia genre which made him famous. Saying that he still gets to engage in plenty of fisticuffs so Merli fans are well served. Meanwhile the supporting cast is made up of the attractive Gisela Hahn as the icy love interest and the inimitable Henry Silva as the scary bad guy, one of my favourite screen villains just because of his evil intense ol' face. Finally there are two great turns from Donald O'Brien and Luciano Rossi as a sleazy pair of bandits - the latter has a very amusing dubbed voice that makes him an unforgettable character. The cast is an added bonus and enhances this family adventure tale into being something good and worthwhile.
You know this film isn't half bad! For a dollar at the Shop Mart you can do a lot worse, though I doubt most people who glom onto it will really understand what they are seeing. This is essentially a later era Spaghetti Western made at a time when the form was becoming passé. To jazz them up Italian directors were making hybrid versions with Kung-Fu subplots, comedy shenanigans or in this case, plundering the writings of Jack London & moving the locations up into the Rockies (played here by the mountains of Sweden and still coming off well).
Crime thriller star Maurizio Merli is brought in as the indomitable prospector looking to avenge the murder of his former partner and finding himself saddled with the movie's requisite plucky young tyke, an obnoxious element thrown in the mix to appeal to the film's target audience of 8 - 12 year old boys. Sexy Gisela Hahn plays the saloon harlot with the heart of gold (necessary to keep the tag-along fathers interested) and the always enjoyable Henry Silva takes on the Jack Palance role of the crooked town crime boss who's schemes the hero interrupts. This one has the added twist of Merli adopting the identity of his murdered friend in a bid to get to the bottom of things, which of course requires lots of desperate walks through the snowy wilds, bar room fistfights, shootouts with the bad guys and displays of wintertime survival skills.
But the star of the film is of course the dog, arbitrarily called White Fang: There were about a dozen of these Jack London derived Doggy Adventure Snow Westerns cobbled together, and the real hero is a German Shepard unconvincingly cast as a white timber wolf who befriends our plucky young tyke, saving him and Merli's necks a bunch of time as he does clever and exciting things like bearing down snarling on secreted assassins, finding the key to the jail cell or fighting off the inevitable wolf attack that is also a vital if unfortunate element of the formula. I say unfortunate because the animals were more or less coaxed to actually fight on camera and sensitive viewers might be concerned that the doggies were perhaps being exploited. Chances are they were, but for $1.00 per DVD nobody seems to care.
Then there's the bear. One of the more absurd subplots in this outing has the local shysters bring in a bear (which is substituting for the hired killer role of this were a standard issue oater) and White Fang has to contend with the beast on no less than two snarling, sprawling, overlong fight sequences that once again remind us that in 1974 nobody gave a damn about "animal rights". For a family film it's pretty fierce stuff and kids may want to know why the bear and the doggie are fighting when in all actuality they would probably have just avoided each other if they weren't thrown into a pen together by a bunch of thick-skulled Italians.
But those segments aside this is a very passable if somewhat violent movie that you can pretty much all watch together, and fans of genre cinema will be delighted by some of the familiar supporting cast faces like Renzo Palmer, Benito Steffanelli, Luciano Rossi and the insane Donald O'Brian. Written in part by Giovanni Simonelli with music by the always dependable Carlo Rustichelli and directed by Spaghetti Western legend Tonino Ricci, this is actually a film with some respectable talent on display and interesting low budget production design. What's going around is a full-frame English language printing on various public domain DVDs priced appropriately at about $1.00, and you can do a lot worse for that $1.00; I've already watched mine about six times, which is a pretty good cost to entertainment value ratio if I might say.
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