Amazingly the first film festival devoted to the popular cult genre, the Los Angeles Spaghetti Western Festival premieres as a 10-hour extravaganza "created for fans of spaghetti Westerns by fans of spaghetti Westerns," according to event producer John Antoniou. That target audience includes keepers of the flame such as archivist Tom Betts of the acclaimed Westerns ... All'Italiana blog, and Bill Connolly, publisher of the Spaghetti Cinema 'zine since 1984, both based in Southern California. The festival's triple bill kicks off with the world premiere of the newly remastered Dead Men Don't Count (¿Quién grita venganza?, 1968), starring Mark Damon as an orphaned bounty hunter fighting deadly land speculators. There's also one of Tarantino's favorite Westerns, Quel caldo maledetto giorno di fuoco (titled Gatling Gun by the time it got to American audiences in 1969), in which Robert Woods battles John Ireland for a Gatling gun that might turn the tide of the Civil War if it reaches the Confederacy. And a festival of spaghetti Westerns wouldn't be nearly so complete without something from Sergio Leone: In this case, it's A Fistful of Dollars (1964). A panel discussion happens between the movies, with genre actors Richard Harrison, Woods, Michael Forest, Brett Halsey and others. Also, there will be ultrascarce spaghetti Western trailers and riffs on Morricone courtesy of venerable instrumental surf band Insect Surfers. No actual spaghetti will be served. (Sat., March 19, 10 a.m., El Portal Theatre, N. Hlywd., spaghettiwesternfestival.com.)
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