7 Women for the MacGregors / Sette donne per i MacGregor (1967)

3.5 out of 5

Pretty much everyone returns for this even livelier, even bigger budgeted sequel to Franco Giraldi's successful comedy western. American, David Baily takes over for the role of Gregor MacGregor vacated by Robert Woods. Leo Anchoriz returns as the lead villain, Maldonado. This time, Anchoriz and his merry band of miscreants steal the MacGregor gold and the sons set out to retrieve it. Wedged in between the action is an Irish MacGregor rival who has seven feisty daughters as per the films title in what appears to have been a nod to the 1954 Hollywood musical, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.

The veritable lighter tone returns for this ambitious sequel as does several scenes of striking violence. One of the best comical moments is when the MacGregors confront Frank James, the terror of the West and brother of Jesse after he's framed for the stealing the Scottish clans gold. Whereas the first picture had only one truly violent sequence, there's several in this sequel. Actually, the filmmakers originally intended this entry to contain more exploitation elements than what ultimately made it into the movie. There was also a third MacGregor movie in 1970 that was totally unrelated to these two and was played straight.

The action scenes, while accomplished in the first film, are even better in this movie. There's a great comical fight scene where Gregor is attacked inside a general store by Maldonado's men while one of his brothers is outside attempting to charm a pretty lady. The seven women of the title also show they can hold their own with the men. Returning as Rosita, Agata Flori has a brief, but brutal fist brawl with the seductive Ana Casares. The number of stunts are increased and the generous budget allow for some choice train stunts during the explosive climax.

While most of the cast returned, several key figures behind the camera returned as well. Fernando Di Leo contributed to the screenplay again and the scope cinematography of Alejandro Ulloa is just as sprawling this time around. Ennio Morricone encores as well and while much of the score is recycled from the first film, there's also a cue borrowed from one of his Dollars compositions. The end result paid off as this production was even more successful than its predecessor. Also like the previous movie, the style is reminiscent of American westerns, but is undeniably Italian in execution. Despite these two films being less popular with fans of grittier fare, both pictures strive and achieve far more than dozens of other European western movies in my view. There are better movies, but Giraldi's two big productions offer some choice entertainment if you're in the mood for something a lot less gloomy.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics