Five essential Bud Spencer films to watch this weekend

Italian silver-screen legend Bud Spencer passed away on Monday, aged 86.

Five essential Bud Spencer films to watch this weekend
Italian actor, Bud Spencer, passed away on Monday. Photo: Screenshot/YouTube

Although he didn't begin his acting career until the age of 38, he went on to star in 61 films, many of which gained cult status with cinema fans worldwide.

Spencer, the stage name of Carlo Pedersoli, is perhaps best remembered for his fruitful on-screen partnership with compatriot Terrence Hill during the 1970s and 80s.

Spencer's entertaining brand of low-brow European cinema made him a household name around the world and turned him into something of a national treasure in Italy.

After news of his death broke on Tuesday, even Prime Minister Matteo Renzi paid his tributes to the film-star, tweeting “Bye #BudSpencer, We loved you.”

If you're looking to remember, or even discover, the delights of the late Bud Spencer's work, here are five films you should definitely watch.

They Call Me Trinity – 1970

In this spaghetti western shot in southern Italy, Spencer stars alongside Terrence Hill, who was his on-screen film partner for some 18 films. Spencer plays a stand-in sheriff who teams up with his brother (Hill) to stop an evil land baron from taking over land belonging to a group of Mormons.

The film was a box office sensation, raking in more than each of the films in Sergeo Leone's trilogy, thanks to its blend of humour, action and the iconic theme tune by Franco Micalizzi.

Due to its success, the film spawned an instant sequel (Trinity is Still my Name – 1971) but many spaghetti western fans say its excessive use of slapstick humour and parodic use of western conventions all but killed the spaghetti western as a serious cinematic genre.

Flatfoot -1973

Flatfoot is a crime-police romp set on the mean streets of 1970s Naples, the city in which Perdersoli, aka Spencer, was born and raised.

Spencer stars as commissioner Frank Rizzo – the eponymous 'flatfoot' whose unorthodox methods to help him bust a gang of drug dealers from Marseille, who are trafficking drugs into the city using frozen fish.

The hulking 6'4 Spencer spends the majority of the film as a one-man demolition squad, punching the living daylights out of anyone who stands in his way.

In addition to the action, the film combines elements of slapstick comedy and great on-location footage of the southern Italian city. It proved to be a recipe for success: the film was a huge commercial hit and spawned no less than four sequels, which saw Rizzo fighting crime in cities all over the world.

Watch Out We're mad – 1974

This comedy romp sees Hill and Spencer star as rival race-car drivers who are battling for control of a special off-road car they both think they won as a prize.

However, when a local mobster destroys their coveted vehicle the pair join forces in a bid to get a new one…causing chaos to break loose. The film sees Hill and Spencer at their best and includes a star-turn from the late Donald Pleasence as a Freudian psychologist….

A Friend is Treasure -1981

Spencer and Hill star as two friends trying to retrieve a stash of Japanese booty left on a South Pacific island during the Second World War.

As part of the quest, the pair must overcome sharks, pirates, unfriendly natives and even a crazed Japanese soldier who still lives on the island trying to protect his treasure.

It's probably not the most politically correct film ever made, but the never-ending stream of punches, gags and the great chemistry shared by Hill and Spencer make it a delight to watch. 

Double Trouble – 1984

Hill and a noticeably paunchy Spencer star as a pair of look-alikes who are hired to stand in for a pair of Brazilian billionaires hiding out from an assassination attempt.

The pair successfully survive attempts on their life, but use their newfound identity as billionaires to live a lavish playboy lifestyle – which creates new enemies in the form of their employers.

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Berlinale to host outdoor festival for film fans in June

Organisers of the Berlin film festival said Monday that pandemic conditions in the German capital had improved enough for them to hold a planned outdoor edition in June.

Berlinale to host outdoor festival for film fans in June
An empty area outside the Berlinale Palast in March 2020. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Paul Zinken

The coronavirus outbreak forced the Berlinale, one of Europe’s top cinema showcases, to push back its usual February event and split it into two parts.

It held an all-online edition for critics and industry buyers in March and will now press on with an exclusively outdoor festival for the general public June 9th-20th.

“The Berlinale is pleased to be able to give audiences the enjoyment of an open-air cinema experience at 16 venues in total at the Summer Special,” it said in a statement.

It said Berlin’s falling infection rate “as well as positive signals by government offices” had led to the decision.

“Audiences will be getting a very special, collective festival experience – something we’ve all been missing for such a long time,” organisers said.

The June edition “is geared towards re-igniting the desire to go to the cinema, and to contributing to the revival of cultural activities with an audience”.

READ ALSO: Germany holds virtual Berlinale film fest

The programme will be made up primarily of movies shown online at the March edition, including the winners of its Golden and Silver Bear prizes, which will be awarded at a gala ceremony on June 13th.

Existing open-air cinemas throughout the city as well as a specially created site on Berlin’s historic Museum Island will serve as venues and comply with pandemic hygiene rules.

Ticket sales will begin on May 27th.

The global coronavirus outbreak has dealt a body blow to the cinema industry and created major complications for film distribution and production for over a year.

Cannes, the world’s top film festival, usually held in May, has been postponed to July 6-17 this year due to the pandemic and was cancelled outright last year.

The Berlinale, now in its 71st year, awarded its Golden Bear top prize in March to the biting social satire “Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn” by Romania’s Radu Jude.

The city of Berlin on Monday reported a seven-day coronavirus incidence just over the 100-mark, meaning cinemas, restaurants and other facilities remain closed.

However, officials are hopeful that an accelerating vaccination campaign and tightened lockdown measures will bring infections down soon, allowing for an at least partial reopening.