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Link - by Avi Abrams

When Ladies with Guns and Lots of Attitude Scorched the Screen... and Blessed Your Heart!

We've featured glamorous vintage shots of beautiful ladies in many thrilling situations, like Ladies in Space and Ladies and Robots. We even spent some time looking at great girls with fabulous cars - see our Cars and Girls series. But there is a time and a place where feminine beauty gets to shine, perhaps, the most - the fantasy movie-land of Wild West!

Remember some cool and intense "spaghetti" westerns coming out of Europe in the 1960s? The plot might have seemed rehashed and overly familiar in many of them, the camerawork is shaky, the dialogue is rudimentary... but there were two factors that totally redeemed poor production qualities and acting - and even lifted some Italian western movies to cult status: stunning soundtracks, and stunning starlets:


(image via)

Vintage Westerns Had Great Music, not just by Ennio Morricone!

First, European western soundtracks - Italians can come up with great melodies, and the 1960s saw incredible proliferation of top-quality movie soundtracks (it almost seemed like Europeans dreamed and imagined American Wild West with greater clarity and intensity than Americans themselves). Everybody knows about Ennio Morricone, but many other composers delivered no less epic scores and heavenly melodies: Francesco De Masi, Bruno Nicolai, Alessandro Alessandroni, Carlo Savina, Louis Bacalov, Stelvio Cipriani - to name just a few.

To get a taste of the fantastic music they wrote, just listen to this sombre song by Francesco De Masi, taken from his superb "Arizona Colt" soundtrack - this track would make any James Bond movie proud - or sample the haunting melody of "Ringo, the Lone Rider", again by De Masi (click here).

Among other spectacular western themes by Italian composers (other than well-known Morricone scores):
- "Sartana is Coming", by Bruno Nicolai - click here
- "Have a Good Funeral", by Bruno Nicolai - click here
- "Seven Winchesters for a Massacre" by Francesco De Masi - click here
- "El Puro" by Alessandro Alessandroni, "And His Name Was Holy Ghost" by Carlo Savina, themes by Pierro Umiliani (some heard in "Kill Bill" movies), Gianfranco Reverberi, etc.

In Germany, Martin Boettcher was writing a widescreen epic music for "Winnetou" and "Old Shatterhand" movies - click here

But all this sound lushness often paled in comparison with alluring female stars:

A Beauty with a Gun

Ladies with guns and lotsa attitude warmed (scorched!) the screen - and it was good... Sample some promotion shots, posters and other photos here:

(Debbie Reynolds in a promo shoot)

(images via)

Jane Fonda (right) and Jean Carmen strike a pose:

Want to see really scorching shot of Sophia Loren in a western environment? Click here, but be careful - could be somewhat nsfw.

Here is Bridgitte Bardot in "Viva Maria!" (1965):

(image via)

The same year, Jane Fonda appeared as a fetching Cat Ballou:

Camilla Sparv in "MacKenna's Gold" (1969):

(images via)

Donna Douglas (left) and Elisabeth Taylor as cowgirls:

(images via)

Raquel Welch in "Bandolero":

(image via)

And more recently, Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz star in 2006’s "Bandidas":

(image via)

Western Dames in Vintage Art and Advertising

Pinups were a continued source of western fantasizing:

(pinup art by Gillette Elvgren)

See more Golden Pinups in this collection.

Some great pulp western action covers are in the hands of collectors today:

(image via)

No wonder, amid all this beauty, movie cowboys appear calm and relaxed:


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What? No Divine?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

обезьяна с гранатой -это очень опасно!!!!!!!!!

Blogger Guy said...

The link "Continue to thrilling movie posters" actually goes to Air Stewardesses.

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Guy, link fixed, thank you.

Blogger Tepid Halibut said...

Sophia Loren linkpic? I'm not convinced about the "Western" connection. West End London, perhaps. It's an outfit from her / Peter Sellars film "The Millionairess". Try YT for a most enoyable clip from the film.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgot Sharon Stone in the "Quick and the Dead"

Blogger Andrew said...

Can we call them 'Cow Belles'? If so, ring, ring.

Blogger Library Vixen said...

I <3 girls with guns.
all nice choices. Cat my fav.

Anonymous Janushka von Pelzin said...

There are images from one fairly obscure movie that so need adding to your list. Do a Google image search for "Les Petroleuses" from 1971 starring Brigitte Bardot and Claudia Cardinale to see what I mean. The movie's English title (for its English-language dubbed version) is "The legend of Frenchie King". The titles are also listed on IMDB of course.

Anonymous Janushka von Pelzin said...

I should add that if you have a chance to see the "Les Petroleuses" movie, you can see if you agree with me that it appears to have inspired the 2006 Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz movie Bandidas in certain ways...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

gr8 Post. covered almost all the actresses but missed Sharon Stone..

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best for me is Claudia Cardinale in Sergio Leone's most famous western, 'Once Upon a Time in the West'


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