Once Upon a Dog in the Yukon; or, Yet Another of the Worst Silver-Screen Animal Hero Westerns

Just when I thought it was safe to go back to blogging, my novel does a feint to the left, then makes a fierce uppercut to my chin and tosses me across the bar, onto a table, then out the plate-glass window. I land on my back in the mud of the road, staring up at the wide blue sky and can only think :

“Thank all that is western for Flapjack42, eternally ready to  watch bad movies SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO!”

#6 White Fang to the Rescue ( 1974) Hero: Sacchia

In this Yukon spaghetti western, White Fang is played by a handsome German Shepherd named Sacchia. The movie is shot in Italy in Weirdcolor. It goes about like a regular spaghetti western with snow, fur hats, and snowshoes. The dog leads the horse by its halter rope to the man, who saddles the horse without checking to see that the saddle blanket is flat! (Serve him right if the irritated horse throws him in a snowbank.)

The actors’ lips don’t match the dialogue, as in the best spaghetti westerns. The lips say one word, but the dialogue says, “There goes the dog! Kill him!” The dog sounds are dubbed in, too. A piece of pyrite masquerades as gold. The dogfight, however, isn’t faked. Real dogs tear each other up in the traditional round arena, surrounded by real dogfight bettors. The dogfight represents the difficulties of the spirit’s cosmos. The villain’s incompetent henchman stands for the mistakes we make as we wade through life. The Italian in Indian dress shows how difficult it is to find Native Americans in the Mediterranean. The unfaked fight between the chained brown bear and the dog is to save the boy, who goes into the bear’s pen to…?

My dog used to look like that. After she ate food from the table.

As far as animal heroes go, the dog Sacchia has many talents. Apart from kicking the brown bear’s butt, he can open a doorlatch with a paw, drag back a doorbolt with his teeth, and drag a chair to stand on so he can reach the jail door keys, freeing the hero from his unjust imprisonment. He warns the hero of an ambush, foiling the bad guys. He crawls and creeps.

In the fake snow and the fake wind, the girl is confronted by the corpse of a villain. She covers her face with her hands and then looks on in horror, but she looks like she swallowed a bug instead of horrified. The villains shoot the hero’s horse. “Bastards!” says the hero through tight angry lips, which go on moving in a looong string of words, probably cussing in Italian. The henchman gets superstitious about the hero’s dog…did he say the hero’s name was what?! BEN DOVER!!??? Ah hah hah hah!

Dramatic and vicious fight scenes are so Italian you can smell the ravioli cooking. The boy runs through the icy woods, he’s chased by wolves,  he falls over a cliff and is dramatically rescued by the dog. The noble dog falls instead of the boy and is last seen floating dead down the river, sort of like this movie.

OMG, really? I’m scarred!–Bucko

WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION: Watching this beautiful German Shepherd running through frosty rivers and through the snow mist into the sunset.  nice!–bucko


Check out other spaghetti western photos, reviews, and trivia at Westerns All’Italiana!–Bucko

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