Spaghetti Westerns, Part 8

Tepepa (Tepepa) (1968)

One more Zapata western and then I’ll move on to something a bit different. This one again features Tomas Milian, this time in the title role as morally ambiguous revolutionary Jesus Maria “Tepepa” Moran.

Opposite Milian, John Steiner plays an English doctor who has travelled to Mexico to pursue a personal vendetta against Tepepa. However, in order to have his revenge, he has to first save Tepepa from a firing squad. From then on he finds himself consistently thwarted by Mexican’s cunning and his own humanitarian instincts.

Giulio Petroni does a fairly decent job in the director’s chair and Ennio Morricone provides another sterling soundtrack. If you have seen any of the Zapata westerns I’ve previously mentioned, you will know what to expect. This is fairly standard stuff, but it has that epic feel which is particualrly to Zapatas. That quality was enchanced for me in this instance, as the English doctor’s adventures in Mexico put me in mind of films like Lawrence Of Arabia or The English Patient.

Tepepa is not overly formulaic and it does have a few peculiarities. Not least of which is the appearance of Orson Welles as dastardly Colonel Carrosco. It isn’t Welles’ best role, but he’s a very welcome addition to an already rewarding film.


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