Deserto di fuoco [Desert Of Fire] (1971) Chinese Mr. T July 6, 2021 15:36
If I were suffering from the lingering stages of heat stroke and dehydration in the middle of the Sahara, Desert Of Fire seems like the type of hallucination I might experience. That's at least the best comparison I can come up with to explain a film starring a blonde Italian beach bum with a golden guitar, a Chinese Mr. T, and French goddess Edwige Fenech, all hunting for a hidden cash of weapons in the middle of the desert.
Desert Of Fire begins with an attack by nomad raiders on a jeep carrying the payroll for a construction company working in the nearby town. The raiders are lead by El Marish (George Wang), a bandit who wanders the desert in a cape, barefoot, shirtless and wearing a large metal necklace. But El Marish's plans are thwarted by an unknown presence who blinds him by bouncing the suns rays off a metallic object into his eyes, stealing the payroll of cash from him.
Edwige Fenech is Juana, daughter of a Berber woman and an Englishman. She longs to escape the desert and go to her father's homeland of England. We soon learn that she was in cahoots with El Marish to steal the payroll in hopes of finally securing enough money to escape her nomadic life. With that hope dashed her last chance at escaping may rest in the hands of her father, Zero, who knows the location of the rumored treasure of weapons hidden by her grandfather (her mother's father). Only he apparently knows it's location but there's a lot of people who would love to get their hands on it and he is too old and afraid to recover it himself.
Enter in Peter Martell as Bill (he made a brief appearance in The French Sex Murders under the name Pietro Martellanza), here as a chiseled blonde beach bum drifter who not only seems to know as much about the treasure as Zero but has a map to it. He offers to reclaim the cash of weapons and pay Zero handsomely for them, all he asks is for a truck and one man to assist him. The idea of not having to risk his own life and finally being able to return to England and take Juana with him boosts his spirits, but when Zero's wife finds out she sends El Marish in to intercept Bill, unaware of her daughter's involvement.
My biggest complaint about Desert Of Fire are the plot holes, either through bad editing or bad writing there is very little to no explanation regarding pretty much everything in this film. How does Bill have a map to the treasure that supposedly only Zero knows the location to? How does Juana know and is already in a relationship with Bill? And how does El Marish not have a serious case of skin cancer? These are a sampling of a few things that may cross your mind that will never be answered, along with a main story-line that never seems to go anywhere.
In the end, Desert Of Fire is probably only a film for Edwige Fenech completists, though she really doesn't play that important of a role in the film and only randomly pops up here and there standing around looking pretty, nothing wrong with that but would have been nice if she's actually had some purpose. What makes the film mildly entertaining is the bizarre and amusing characters and the mystery of trying to ascertain where the plot is going. The only version of this film that seems to be out there is this very low quality Greek release with English dubbing, so quite possibly this is simply a butchered release, but at the same time I wouldn't be completely shocked if this is the complete version of the film. It's good for a few laughs, and I'd probably watch it again if a better quality version came along but aside from that there is nothing special about it.