Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media

His Name Was King aka Lo Chiamavano King (1971)
All Seasons Entertainment Video | Review by Dan Taylor

I knew I was in trouble with this one as soon as I heard the opening theme song, with lines like, "His name is King, he has a gun..." ohhhh. (All I could think of was the old Monty Python sketch featuring "Dennis Moore.")

Yes, the dreaded attempt at creating a thrilling Spaghetti-Western character like Eastwood's "Man with No Name." Yet notice my use of the word "attempt" in that sentence. Webster's Dictionary defines attempt as "to make an effort toward," something which describes HIS NAME WAS KING perfectly. Yes, they try and they try hard to make this an exciting and enthralling western/mystery, but it just don't work.

Richard Harrison plays the title role of "King," aka John Marley, aka The Greatest Bounty Hunter in the World. After he kills members of the Benson Gang at the outset, the flick becomes a long and drawn-out revenge tale with the Bensons trying to get King and King trying to get the Bensons. Along the way there is a plot line dealing with arms smuggling, but it went totally over my head.

Though Kinski is pictured on the video box for this flick, don't be fooled. While his role isn't nearly as small as the also-reviewed A FISTFUL OF DEATH (aka Giù La Testa...Hombre!), it is certainly that of a supporting character. Here, K2 plays Bryan Foster, a small town sheriff and a poker-buddy of Marley's. When King's newly-widowed sister-in-law is raped by the Bensons, it is Foster who takes care of her while King goes a huntin'. Does this strike you as odd? Maybe it's because I've seen so many Kinski flicks in my life and especially over the last few months that I immediately begin to suspect that he is the villain...and if you go on this belief, any sense of mystery to the film is lost the first time they don't show you "the Boss."

But despite the lack of any suspense to the flick (you know what is going to happen at almost every turn thanks to the heavy-handed direction of Giancarlo Romitelli, aka Don Reynolds), there is a sense of fun. Too bad that Richard Harrison was chosen for the starring role. Yes, I know there are those out there who are ardent supporters of Harrison, but I must admit that I don't think I've ever seen him in a film where he looked comfortable! The guy never looks like he knows exactly what he is doing, and in HIS NAME WAS KING he looks like an outcast from the Village People...you would never believe this guy was living in the time frame of the Old West, let alone be the world's greatest bounty hunter.

Too many drawbacks and not enough madcap Kinski brings HIS NAME WAS KING a rating of thumbs down.

By Bruce Walsh

K2 is sheriff Bryan Foster. Richard Harrison is John "King" Marley, Bounty Hunter. Don Reynolds/aka Giancarlo Romitelli is the director of this weak Spaghetti-Western, direct from Foro Film Roma.

There's alot of fun stuff like: the cavalry, a wagon train, gun smuggling, Mexican bandits, a Gatling gun, and revenge. Unfortunately, none of these elements are used or abused to their fullest potential.

I know, you want to know what's wrong with it. Well,
1. A general lack of K2.
2. An edited-for-television feel.
3. Horrendous dubbing.
4. Moronic dialogue (refer to problem #3).
5. No worthwhile babes.
6. A bunch of brutish macho bullshit.
7. No babes.
8. Not enough K2.
9. No babes.
10. No babes.

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