His Name Was King (1971, directed by Giancarlo Romitelli)

During the dying days of the old west, John Marley (Richard Harrison) is the bounty hunter that they call King.  When King is hired to bring in the Benson brothers, who are thought to the head of a smuggling ring, he kills one of the brothers.  The gang takes revenge by tracking down and killing King’s brother and then raping his brother’s wife.  Now, King is the one who wants revenge.

Fortunately, the Sheriff, Brian Foster (Klaus Kinski), is an old friend of King’s and seems to be willing to give him the freedom necessary to get his vengeance.  What King doesn’t know is that Foster himself is the head of the smuggling ring and he has plans of his own.

His Name Was King is a short Spaghetti Western.  The version that I saw, which was poorly dubbed into English, only had a running time of 75 minutes.  Since most sources state that His Name Was King has a 90-minute running time, I can only assume that 15 minutes must have been edited out for the American release.  This was often done when Spaghetti Westerns were released in the U.S.  Unfortunately, it makes the plot to His Name Was King feel incoherent and I’m going to guess that the poor editing job is why Klaus Kinski was only in a few minutes of the version that I saw.  It’s unfortunate because, with Richard Harrison sleepwalking through his role, Kinski’s sinister turn was the best thing in the film.

His Name Was King does have a wonderful score from Luis Bacalov but it’s otherwise, in its edited form at least, for Spaghetti Western completists only.

One response to “His Name Was King (1971, directed by Giancarlo Romitelli)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week in Review: 4/20/20 — 04/26/20 | Through the Shattered Lens

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