Professionals for a Massacre (1967)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Edd Byrnes in Professionals for a Massacre (1967)

The Terrible Trio

Tim Dooley (George Hilton), Chattanooga Jim (Edd Byrnes) and Fidel Ramirez (George Martin) are as thick as thieves. Well in truth they are thieves, a bandit trio who during the Civil War joined up with the South but spend most of their time looting in the towns they attack and selling guns to the enemy. Unfortunately they end up caught and looking at facing the firing squad for their treachery. But their talents end up saving them when a general offers them their freedom if they, under the supervision of a Confederate officer, retrieve a fortune in gold. Trouble is they are not the only ones after the gold which makes it a dangerous mission.

June 1967 and the always popular "The Dirty Dozen" gets released in the States, 6 months later and in Italy "Professionals for a Massacre" gets released. The year of release is not the only thing that "Professionals for a Massacre" shares in common with "The Dirty Dozen" as it also shares the idea of rogues facing the firing squad being offered a chance of redemption by going on a dangerous mission except here we have a terrible trio rather than a dirty dozen.

George Hilton and George Martin in Professionals for a Massacre (1967)

As such whilst "Professionals for a Massacre" is a Spaghetti western rather than a war movie it does follow a familiar pattern especially now almost 50 years later. The first half pretty much focuses on the humour of these rogues from their stealing exploits whilst soldiers to the almost training like scenes when they start their mission to find the fortune. And if you enjoy Spaghetti westerns it is entertaining enough with director Nando Cicero delivering a nice amount of energy to everything so despite lacking a memorable style it keeps on moving.

As for the acting, well there are some familiar faces in this such as George Martin and Edd Byrnes with the main actors having good chemistry when it comes to the crafty nature of their characters. But like the movie in general these performances are not memorable which for me is down to the routine nature of the writing and the director's ordinary styling.

What this all boils down to is that "Professionals for a Massacre" is an enjoyable Spaghetti western, employing a familiar theme but almost cut down on a budget. But it isn't a great Spaghetti western due to its almost ordinary style and lack of great writing.


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