Monday, April 1, 2024



This is a 1972 Euro Western in the Trinity style, a "comedy" that deals with a very different type of bounty hunter and the scruffy, doltish outlaw he keeps capturing and turning in over and over again. 

Spaghetti Western icon Tomas Milian plays Providence, a bounty hunter who, with his scruffy suit, bowler hat, and umbrella, resembles Charlie Chaplin instead of The Man With No Name. Unfortunately Providence acts like Charlie Chaplin as well. He travels throughout the Old West in a former Wells Fargo coach tricked out with all sorts of gimmicks and gadgets. Providence's latest venture is capturing the Tennessee Kid (Gregg Palmer), turning him in for the reward, and breaking him out and repeating the procedure. The Tennessee Kid isn't very happy with this arrangement, and he and Providence have a series of bizarre adventures involving a deceitful saloon girl, a lawman who is a counterfeiter, a group of drunken Confederates, and a congregation building a church. 

LIFE IS TOUGH, EH PROVIDENCE? was directed by Giulio Petroni, who made a number of excellent serious Euro Westerns such as DEATH RIDES A HORSE. Apparently Petroni wanted to jump on the Trinity bandwagon here, but the humor here falls even short of what Terence Hill would accomplish. PROVIDENCE is filled with some of the lamest gags I've ever seen, along with cartoonish stunts and a series of slapstick brawls that would make even Jules White sadly shake his head. Perhaps 7 and 8 year olds might find this funny, but I think little kids would just wonder why all these adults are acting so weird. 

Tomas Milian must have seen this role as a change of pace. Instead of Milian's rebellious machismo, we get the actor attempting to channel silent movie comedians. Milian's performance here has all sorts of facial ticks and physical contortions--he must have known the material was weak, so he decided to play it as broadly as possible. American character actor Gregg Palmer also hams it up as the Tennessee Kid (Bud Spencer must not have been available, because the role of the Kid was essentially made for him). 

Horst Janson (CAPTAIN KRONOS) has a very small role as a sheriff, while Euro Cult veteran Paul Muller, who doesn't show up until the last part of the film, is wasted in what is also a very small part. The movie does feature a quirky score by Ennio Morricone. 

PROVIDENCE doesn't have what one would call a proper plot--it's mainly a series of goofy incidents that the two main characters find themselves involved in. The silly elements get tiresome after a while, especially since there's no real point or overall goal to the story. For whatever reason, this movie was successful enough in Europe to prompt a sequel also starring Milian and Palmer. (Dare I watch that as well??)

I discovered LIFE IS TOUGH, EH PROVIDENCE? on the Tubi streaming channel. It was in the proper aspect ratio and uncut, with an English voice track. Euro Western and Tomas Milian fans might want to see it as least once, but it's nothing more than a subpar Trinity knockoff. 

No comments:

Post a Comment