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The so-called spaghetti Western was in full swing by l968, and Guns For San Sebastian (1968), a French/Spanish/Mexican production, is a sterling example of the genre. Anthony Quinn plays Alastray, a rebel in l746 Mexico, on the run across the countryside when he's taken in by Father Joseph (Sam Jaffe). Father Joseph is soon killed by a sniper and Alastray disguises himself as a monk to evade detection. Mistaken for a real priest by Teclo (Charles Bronson), a local half-breed, Quinn is reluctantly set up as the town padre by the local villagers. He goes on to supervise the building of a dam and helps the villagers acquire guns to fight off marauding Indians from the hinterlands.
Based on the novel A Wall for San Sebastian by William Barby Faherty, this film owes a great debt to movies like The Seven Samurai (1954) and The Magnificent Seven (1960) in its story of an outlaw coming to the defense of a village. For director Henri Verneuil, a native of Turkey whose birth name was Achod Malakian, Guns For San Sebastian was a rare foray into the spaghetti Western genre. Most of his career was spent in France where he specialized in light comedies (The Cow and I, 1959) and crime dramas like The Sicilian Clan (1969) with Alain Delon and The Night Caller (1975) starring Jean-Paul Belmondo.
Producer: Jacques Bar, Ernesto Enr'quez (associate producer)
Director: Henri Verneuil
Screenplay: William Barby Faherty (novel "A Wall for San Sebastian"), Serge Gance, Miguel Morayta, Ennio De Concini, James R. Webb (English screenplay)
Production Design: Paul JolyCinematography: Armand Thirard
Costume Design: Yvonne Wood
Film Editing: Françoise Bonnot
Original Music: Ennio Morricone
Principal Cast: Anthony Quinn (Leon Alastray), Anjanette Comer (Kinita), Charles Bronson (Teclo), Sam Jaffe (Father Joseph), Silvia Pinal (Felicia).
by Jerry Renshaw