Twenty Paces to Death (1970)

  |  Western

Twenty Paces to Death (1970) Poster

The story of Mestizo, a young mixed race man who fells in love with a white girl. In order to gain his happiness he must fight against the racial prejudices and a gang of ferocious outlaws.


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17 August 2016 | ma-cortes
| A Paella/Butifarra/Spaghetti Western in short budget with noisy action , thrills , shootouts and vendettas
Entertaining though embarrassing Macarroni or Gazpacho Western with plenty of movement , crossfire , brawls , double-crosses and loads of shots . The film is set in Appomattox , 1865 , after the Battle of Palmito Ranch , it is commonly regarded as the final land battle of the war and subsequently the signing of the surrender . This event triggered a series of surrenders across the South , signaling the end of the war. The story of Alec Kellaway (Alberto Farnese) who returns from war and he meets Mestizo (Dean Reed) , a young mixed race man who is saved . Later on , Alec adopts to him and carries at home . But then , Mestizo falls in love with a white girl who results to be Kellaway's daughter (Patty Shepard) and things go wrong . In order to gain his tranquility he must fight against the racial prejudices and a bunch of ferocious bandits led by Clegg (César Ojinaga) and henchmen .

¨Twenty paces to death¨ is just an inferior Tortilla Western filled with go riding , fights and duels , though mostly developing in poor scenarios . Middling screenplay by the prolific Spanish author of Western and Sci-Fi pulps, Lou Carrigan , sometimes under the alternate pseudonym "Walter Carrigan" who wrote other Butifarra western as "Stagecoach of the Condemned" , ¨And the Crows Will Dig Your Grave" and "Four Candles for Garringo". Here appear important main and secondary actors from Spaghetti/Tortilla or Paella Western that give mediocre interpretations . It is a Spanish made western that came to the big screen when the top time of the genre was falling down . In fact , the late sixties and 'seventies' is not the best time to find out good spaghetti westerns . It's a Spanish/Italian realization , two country co-production but is clearly dominated by the Spanish contingent and the traditional leanings of the Italian producers of the time have their stamp on the entire proceedings . But this one is pretty bad with some exciting moments , it drags at times , balancing in ups and downs ; turning out to be entertaining enough , but below average . The movie contains typical particularities Spaghetti , as is full of fury , sadism , bloodbaths , and close-ups of grime-encrusted faces . It does not follow utterly the typical paths of the European western wave around seventies , it lacks both the sarcasm and the Eastwood type of antihero . Early deceased Dean Reed gives a subdued performance but lousy acting , as a two-fisted but upright mestizo . Here playing a tough young become into a terrible avenger when his protectors are wrongly murdered . Dean plays as a relentless half-breed young using his arc and arrows , a violent young who seeks justice , an usual plot in Spaghetti western . Dean was a successful singer and activist . His politics moved to the left but he never joined the Communist party . He was deported from Argentina in 1966 and ended up in Rome , where he made "spaghetti westerns" , such as : ¨Adios Sabata¨, "Buckaroo: The Winchester Does Not Forgive" , "God Made Them... I Kill Them" , "Challenge of the Golden Fist" , "Robin Hood, Arrows, Beans and Karate" for several years . He continually got into trouble with US State Department for protesting Vietnam War and attending International Peace Conferences . He moved to East Germany (GDR) in 1973, made numerous albums, starred in several films such as : ¨Sing cowboy sing¨, ¨Blutsbruder¨ , ¨Kit and Co¨ and wrote and directed his own . But in 1986 , Dean Reed's body was found in the lake near his home outside of East Berlin . Many close to him suspected suicide ; his family and friends in America believed he was murdered . Furthermore , here shows up a largely secondary cast , plenty with Spanish/Italian secondaries , all of them ordinary in Chorizo/Pepperone western such as : Maria Pia Conte , Alejandro Ulloa , Antonio Molino Rojo , Indio Gonzalez , Gustavo Re , among others .

Worn-out and faded cinematography by Antonio L Ballesteros , adding inadequate exteriors shot in unsuitable Spanish landscapes . Mostly filmed in atmospheric though poor scenarios on location in Fraga , (Huesca) , similar to Almeria , Natural Park of Montseny , Bigas , and a Western village located in ¨Spugles De Llobregat¨ built by Balcazar Productions and in studios Rome, Lazio, Italy . In these places were shot a great number of Westerns by Catalonian filmmakers as Juan Bosch , Jose Maria Zabalza , Alfonso Balcazar , Juan Jose Balcazar and others . Incoherent and inappropriate musical score by Enrique Escobar , Iquino's ordinary . The film was middlingly produced by Ignacio F. Iquino (IFI) that financed lots of Westerns . Most of them starred by Richard Harrison , Jorge Martin or George Martin , Luis Davila , Daniel Martin , Dean Reed , or Robert Woods . The motion picture was lousily co-directed by Manuel Esteba and Antonio Mollica , including a lot of flaws , gaps and failures . They managed to make a fluid though absurd Western and filled with thrills , gun-play , attacks , and shots , but inferior and in low budget . Esteba was a Spanish craftsman , writing and directing ; working from the 60s in all kind of genres and B movies . Esteba wrote , directed and was Second Unit Director or Assistant Director of various films , especially Terror : ¨Sexo Sangriento¨, ¨Espectro¨, ¨Horror story¨ ; Softcore : ¨Trampa Sexual , ¨Situación Limite¨ ; comedy : ¨El E.T.E. y el Oto¨, Kalatrava Contra Imperio De Karate¨, and Western : "You Are a Traitor and I'll Kill You!" and this ¨20 Pasos Para Muerte¨ . While Antonio Mollica or Ted Mulligan only directed tree films : ¨Nato Per Uccidere¨ or ¨Born to kill¨, ¨El Corsario¨ and this one.

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Plot Summary




Release Date:

9 April 1970



Country of Origin

Spain, Italy

Filming Locations

Fraga, Huesca, Aragón, Spain

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