The score was due for re-issue on the fin de siecle label in 2008, but was cancelled.
GUNMEN OF THE AVE MARIA.
Released in 1969, this impressive and inventive Italian western is an above average example of the genre. Although the movie may at times lack pace and is somewhat subdued in the action department, it has a solid script which contains clever twists and turns within a plot that is full of character and charisma. The movie borrows unashamedly from the style of Sergio Leone, making effective use of some of the master filmmakers techniques, ie: close ups of the protagonists faces concentrating on their eyes, the use of flashbacks to explain more fully to the audience why certain things have occurred and ultimately why the main characters do what they do and also the Director like Leone, seems to have a certain attraction to showing perspiration upon characters faces. Director Ferdinando Baldi, creates a movie that utilizes some near operatic moments within its story line and although this is a low budget project it still manages to press all the right buttons and tick all of the proverbial boxes for fans of the genre. Baldi although being active in film-making during the 1960,s and 1970s never really received the credit he so richly deserved and we must not forget that it was he who brought to the screen a shining example of the spaghetti western genre in the form of TEXAS ADDIO (1966) and was particularly active within the area of the Peplum before making the transition to the production of Spaghetti westerns. Like so many Italian/Spanish co-produced westerns GUNMEN OF THE AVE MARIA is a tale of vengeance and centre’s upon a murder that was carried out twenty years previous to the period in which the film is set. Anna Carrasco (Luciana Paluzzi) and her lover Tomas (Albert de Mendoza) together orchestrate the killing of her husband a famous General, Juan (Jose Suarez), who is murdered brutally during a massacre. Many years later Anna and Juan’s son Sebastian (Leonard Mann) assisted by Rafael (Peter Martell) set off to avenge the murder. Sebastian witnessed the killing of his Father and the memories of this violent act have haunted him. Rafael to is plagued by memories of the massacre. The movie was known by many titles, GUNMEN OF THE AVE MARIA, THE FORGOTTEN PISTOLERO, LAND OF THE BASTARDS and in Germany as HIS BULLETS WHISTLE THE DEATH TUNE. Which itself is a different slant on the German title for ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST-SPEIL MIR DAS LIED VOM TOD (PLAY ME THE TUNE OF DEATH).
The musical score for GUNMEN OF THE AVE MARIA is pure spaghetti through and through, composers Roberto Pregadio and Franco Micalizzi collaborated on the soundtrack and came up with what is probably one of the most familiar themes for an Italian western away from the obvious as in anything by Morricone. It is in a word Iconic and contains within its opening theme many of the trademarks and sounds that are now associated with the Italian western score. It has been utilized in recent years within TV ads, and shows and even in other movies to depict the atmosphere of the spaghetti western, ie in duels, stand offs and scenes of tension. As soon as anyone hears the opening bars of the composition they immediately think Italian Western, so this says much for the quality, style and longevity of the music. GUNMEN OF THE AVE MARIA was in fact the first western score written by Franco Micalizzi, who went on to create memorable works for THEY CALL ME TRINITY and SACREMENTO, . The music penned by both Pregadio and Micalizzi not only contains the raw savagery that is synonymous with the Italian western but also has a lighter almost romantic sound to it and even contains some waltz infused compositions. Roberto Pregadio, was no stranger to scoring films when he co-composed the score to GUNMEN OF THE AVE MARIA, and like Morricone and many other Italian composers penned numerous Italian western soundtracks, the composer was also active within other genres of film, and created infectious and haunting soundtracks for EMMANUELLLE BIANCA E NERA (1976) and MEDICO LA STUDENTESSA (1977), his many contributions to the world of cinema remain popular some thirty years on. His western scores include, L’ULTIMO KILLER(1967), CICCIO PERDONA (1968), UN BUCO IN FRONTE (1968) and EL HOMBRE QUE VINO DEL ODIO (1971), and THEY CALL ME TRINITY again with Franco Micalizzi.