If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death
|If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death|
Italian theatrical release poster by Renato Casaro
|Directed by||Frank Kramer|
|Produced by||Aldo Addobbati|
|Screenplay by||Renato Izzo
Theo Maria Werner
|Story by||Luigi de Santis
|Music by||Piero Piccioni|
|Edited by||Edmond Lozzi|
Paris Etoile Film
|Distributed by||Paris Etoile Film|
If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death (Italian: Se incontri Sartana prega per la tua morte), also known as Sartana, is a 1968 spaghetti western film directed by Gianfranco Parolini. The film stars Gianni Garko, William Berger, Fernando Sancho and Klaus Kinski, and features a musical score by Piero Piccioni.
If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death was the first in a series of spaghetti westerns based on the character Sartana. It was followed by four other official Sartana films: I Am Sartana Your Angel of Death (Sono Sartana, il vostro becchino, 1969), Have a Good Funeral, My Friend... Sartana Will Pay (Buon funerale, amigos!... paga Sartana, 1970), Light the Fuse... Sartana Is Coming (Una nuvola di polvere... un grido di morte... arriva Sartana, 1971) and Sartana's Here... Trade Your Pistol for a Coffin (C'è Sartana... vendi la pistola e comprati la bara, 1970), in which Garko was replaced by George Hilton. All the four sequels were directed by Giuliano Carnimeo, whereas Parolini was chosen to direct The Sabata Trilogy, after producer Alberto Grimaldi saw his work with the first Sartana film. As with Django a few years earlier, several directors, such as Demofilo Fidani, made unofficial sequels to cash in on the success of Sartana.
The name "Sartana" first appeared in the film Blood at Sundown (Mille dollari sul nero, 1967), in which Garko played an antagonist called El General Sartana. The film was very successful in Germany and known by the short title Sartana. Italian producer Aldo Addobbati noticed the film's success and set up a co-production with a German producer in Italy. Garko was offered a contract and he accepted after inserting a clause stating that the script must be approved by him. In a 2005 interview, Garko said he wanted a subject that would not be based on vengeance, as he had already portrayed characters bent on revenge in Blood at Sundown and Guns of Violence (10.000 dollari per un massacro, 1967). After he turned down several scripts with a revenge theme, Renato Izzo wrote a story about a smart, non-sentimental character that profits by putting himself between two rival groups. Sartana's use of mechanical gadgets was added by director Parolini, who was a fan of the James Bond films. If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death then went into production.
An elderly couple on a horse-drawn carriage is attacked by a gang led by Morgan (Kinski). Sartana (Garko) arrives on the scene and kills the robbers except for Morgan who gets away. Soon after,a stagecoach is robbed and the passengers murdered by a Mexican gang, at the order of General Jose Manuel Mendoza (Sancho). However, the gang is ambushed and killed by Lasky (Berger) and his men. Lasky then tells his gang that he will meet them later. As the men are about to open the strongbox from the coach, Lasky kills them all with a Gatling gun. After opening the box, he found it only contained rocks instead of gold. He heads to town to meet Jeff Stewal (Sydney Chaplin) and Alman (Gianni Rizzo), a politician and a banker, to collect his payment as part of an insurance fraud.
After Sartana takes Lasky's money in a card game, Lasky sends Morgan, his now-partner, to kill Sartana but he fails and is killed himself. Lasky then collects a gang and goes after Sartana. A shootout ensues and Sartana kills Lasky's men but allows Lasky to get away. After Lasky blackmails Stewal and Alman, the two inform Mendoza that it was Lasky who killed his men. Mendoza's men capture Lasky and try to make him talk, thinking that he knows where the gold is hidden. Lasky tells him that only Sartana knows the location of the gold.
Meanwhile, Stewal plans to escape with the gold, supposedly hidden in the late mayor's coffin, and Alman's wife, Evelyn (Heidi Fischer). After Sartana tells him that Mendoza is going to dig up the coffin with the gold and keep it all for himself, Stewal goes to check if it is true and is killed by Mendoza's men. Thinking that Mendoza now has the gold, Lasky attacks his residence and kills him and his men with his Gatling gun. Sartana also arrives and the two open the coffin and discover it is filled with rocks instead of gold. The gold has been hidden by Alman, who tells his plan to his wife. Evelyn betrays and kills him and takes Lasky to the gold, hidden in another coffin. Lasky kills Evelyn, but as Sartana arrives the two engage in a duel. Sartana kills Lasky and rides out of town with the coffin full of gold.
Wild East Productions released this in a now out-of-print R0 NTSC DVD in 2005. It is slated to be re-released by them in a box set with three other films in the series: I Am Sartana Your Angel of Death, Have A Good Funeral My Friend Sartana Will Pay, and Light the Fuse Sartana Is Coming. Originally scheduled to be released in late 2013, Wild East ran into licensing issues and shelved the project for a later date. The release date has yet to be announced.