Anyone who is a fan of Italian exploitation films will knows the name and the face of actor David Warbeck. Warbeck was the handsome, rugged, and surprisingly likable New Zealand-born actor who went from studying at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts to appearing in films that were directed by everyone from Russ Meyer to Antonio Margheritti to Lucio Fulci. He played a small but pivotal roles in Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dynamite and then went on to star in The Beyond, The Black Cat, The Last Hunter, Rat Man, and so many others. While his films may never have been critical favorites at the time of their release (though several have been positively reevaluated), Warbeck’s movie did well enough at the box office that he was even considered for the role of James Bond, Warbeck was one of those actors who was consistently good, regardless of the quality of the film in which he was appearing.
Sadly, Warbeck passed away in 1997, before many of his films were rediscovered. It’s a shame because — as the commentary track that he and Catriona MacColl recorded for The Beyond shows — he was a charming raconteur who had a way with a story. Fortunately, in 1996, Warbeck did sit down and gave a lengthy interview to Jason J. Slater, in which he discussed his career and shared many anecdotes about his life as an international exploitation superstar. That interview is at the center of a short but interesting book called David Warbeck: The Man And His Movies.
The book not only features the interview with Warbeck but it also takes a detailed look at his filmography, reviewing some of his more interesting (and, in some cases, infamous) films. The reviews are well-written by people who obviously love these often underappreciated films.
If you’re a fan of Italian exploitation, this book is simply a must-have. Admittedly, it’s not an easy book to find. I ordered a copy off of Amazon and it wasn’t cheap. But it was worth it!