Tag Archives: Gianfranco Plenzio


Released on Kronos records 2014 (september).


In 1966 director Sergio Corbucci brought to the screen the character of Django, his movie which is now considered an iconic film from the spaghetti western genre set the scene and also laid down a blueprint of sorts for many other westerns that were to be produced by Italian filmmakers within the quirky, violent and above all entertaining genre of the western All’Italiana. In fact many films that were produced within the genre were re-titled in Germany to incorporate the name of Django because the character and the original movie proved to be so popular. Plus it also spawned a number of sequels which had very little in common with the Corbucci movie apart from the name of Django. In 1987, director Nello Rossatti under the alias of Ted Archer resurrected the central character for his film DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN, and also managed to persuade Franco Nero reprise his role as the central character. However DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN is something of an oddity within the genre of the spaghetti western, and in fact I for one am not sure if it at all belongs within this category. It is a very different Django that we meet in this movie. After all the original character was something of an anti hero and never really took sides but instead watched his own back and protected certain individuals that assisted him. This Django is more of a gun ho hero who pits himself against the forces of evil and fights for the downtrodden and enslaved. Although there are a number of flaws within the movie and it does not really start where the original finished it is still a fairly entertaining and fast paced film that has its fair share of gunfights and pitch battles at some points, if I told you that Django manages to dispatch 78 adversaries in the film you will probably get the idea. Set in Mexico but actually filmed on location in Columbia the story takes place some twenty years after the original and begins with a gunfight scenario between two ageing gunman, who after facing each other in the time honoured Spaghetti western fashion find that they are not as sure of hand or sight as they used to be and end up shooting a weather vein to pieces before retiring to the saloon to talk over old times, the name of Django comes up in the conversation but their reminiscing is soon cut short when they are blown to bits by naval guns that are on the vessel named The Mariposa Negra, which is under the command of a Hungarian aristocrat Orlowsky (Christopher Connely) who has been dubbed EL DIABLO-THE DEVIL by locals. Orlowsky and his troops were originally in Mexico to assist the Emperor Maximillian but after a disagreement with the Mexican government have taken to being slavers and terrorising the peasants and them forcing them to work in silver mine.

th (6)

Django has given up the ways of violence and has entered a monastery in San Domingo, calling himself Brother Ignatius and is intent on becoming a Monk. One day a woman visits the monastery and tells Django that she is dying, she wants him to take care of her daughter he initially refuses her request but she then tells him that she is also his daughter. He travels to the village where his daughter lives but finds that it has been attacked by The Devil and his men, many of the occupant’s dead others taken prisoner and held on Orlowsky’s ship. Django goes to the ship and asks Orlowsky to give him his daughter but his request is denied and Django is thrown in irons tortured and set to work in the mine. It is here that Django meets Gunn (Donald Pleasence) and with his new found allies help Django makes his escape retrieves his machine gun and returns to unleash his vengeance upon The Devil and his cohorts. DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN although entertaining in places contains a fairly complicated and implausible plot but maybe that is what the attraction is for many admirers of the movie.

th (9)

The musical score for this spaghetti sagebrush saga is by Gianfranco Plenzio, this Italian born Maestro was particularly active within film scoring during the 1960,s through to the early 1990,s and has also continued to compose music for both film and television during the 21st century. He wrote numerous scores for westerns, sex-ploitation movies, comedies and cop thrillers as well as conducting and orchestrating many soundtracks for composers such as Guido and Maurizio De Angelis, Armando Trovajoli, Franco Micalizzi and Carlo Rustichelli, he also performed piano on a number of film scores. His music for DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN is in many ways typical of an Italian western score, but there are certain features within the soundtrack that are associated with the 1980,s that do deviate a little from the sound that we normally associate with the genre, synthesised drums for example are present throughout and Plenzio also makes effective use of various other electronic sounds to create a score that is original and interesting. The composer employs a strong trumpet theme for the gunfight scene that takes place at the beginning of the movie that is reminiscent of the style of composers such as Morricone, Micalizzi and Francesco De Masi. Plenzio also effectively employs a wordless female soprano voice on a number of cues again evoking the style of Morricone when he turned to Edda dell Orso on so many of his western scores. The music for DJANGO STRIKES AGAIN has a strong South American influence with pan pipes at times being introduced into the proceedings adding some ethnic authenticity plus Plenzio from time to time includes an ominous sounding tolling church bell that punctuates and augments the events.

th (12)

The composer wrote a multi-themed score for the movie and opens the compact disc with the Mexican flavoured DURANGO which is a vibrant and infectious central motif that is performed by brass and strings that are driven along by trotting percussion and strumming guitars. The score has never been issued on Compact disc before and this release includes numerous cues that have never been released on any format. A truly entertaining work that will be at home in any soundtrack collection.



Originally released on a BEAT records LP back in 1972, this delightful and at times complex sounding score is one of the many Italian soundtracks from that era which is sadly not that familiar to many collectors of Italian and European film music. Directed by Nello Rossati, and starring Eva Czemerys, Silvano Tranquilli and Antony Fontane LA  GATTA IN CALORE was an erotic thriller that was a sequel of sorts to Rossati’s directorial debut WIFE BY NIGHT (1971). The score by composer Gianfranco Plenzio, is a varied and pleasant one, and contains numerous cues which feature the distinctive vocalising of Edda Dell Orso. Plenzio began his musical career during the early 1960s and worked as a composer in his right as well as conducting scores for many of his fellow Italian Maestro’s such as Rustichelli and Micalizzi. He also collaborated with moralize on a number of scores ie; THEY CALL ME TRINITY and THE GUNMEN OF THE AVE MARIE, and given Micalizzi’s inexperience at this time in his career it is probably true to say that those two western scores contained more of Plenzio’s music than that of Micalizzi’s. IL GATTA IN CALORE is in my humble opinion a classic piece of film scoring, and this re-issue onto compact disc is long overdue. Edda’s mesmerizing and sexy vocals are obviously an instant attraction to any seasoned collector of Italian movie music, but Plenzio’s haunting melodies are exquisitely provocative and steamy in places, and are evocative of the style employed by Morricone, Nicolai and Piccioni etc during the late 1960s thru to the end of the 1970s. Female voice is accompanied by delicately placed strings which are in turn enhanced by a lightly stroked piano creating an atmosphere that is sensual but at the same time slightly tense. The re-mastering work carried out by BEAT is indeed impressive, as I seem to recall some slight distortion on a few of the LP cues, the sound for this release is wonderfully clear and crisp, the compact disc release also features 6 additional cues to that of the original release. Art work is attractive  sound quality is excellent so yet another worthy release from BEAT, and one that should be in every self respecting film music enthusiasts collection. Highly recommended.



Yet again BEAT records in Italy pull another great score out of their what seems like bottomless vaults, this cop thriller from 1976 was directed by Romolo Guerrieri and starred Stefano Patrizi, Max Delvs and also respected actor Tomas Milian. The music score was the work of Composers Gianfranco Plenzio and Enrico Pieranunzi. The sound that is achieved on this soundtrack is one that fuses dramatic music with a pop laced jazz style. Listening to this on the first occasion I was reminded somewhat of the style of British composer and jazz musician Roy Budd, because Plenzio utilises piano a great deal within the work, which is very effective. The composer employs harmonica alongside light sounding brass, understated percussion and piano with a sparing use of saxophone on the opening track, which creates an almost sunny sounding composition that one would play to accompany a drive in the country or a walk on a summers day. The theme is repeated on track two, but is arranged in a very different way with the composer engaging keyboards, and vibes combined to open the cue, harmonica returns with a laid back sounding percussion as background, then Plenzio introduces jazz flute very much in the style of Schifrin adding a touch of coolness to the proceedings. Track three, is a nice piano showcase track, jazz sounding piano is accompanied by bass, drums and bongos which come together nicely and flows so smoothly. The remainder of the score is very much in the same style, it is a work that is most certainly pleasing, and one that also shows off the versatility of Plenzio as a composer, orchestrator and arranger. The sound achieved on this score is masterful, as jazz and also a pop orientated easy listening style come together and segue with ease into more dramatic compositions. As well as being reminded of the sound of Roy Budd I also had reminders of Baclov’s CUORI SOLITARI, and Michelini’s IL DECAMERONE NERO whilst listening to this score. This is one of the first discs in a new series of CDs that will be issued on the famed BEAT label, these LTD editions will be released in a Digipack case and will contain extensive notes and a 24 x 36 cm poster, they will also all have multi media digital content which will be interviews with either composers or directors. So a series well worth having, and if this is one of the first then I think we can look forward to some more exciting releases from BEAT in the future, recommended.