Peter Martell


  1. Franco Nero, Le colt cantarono la morte e fu… tempo di massacro (UK/US : Massacre Time), Italy, 1965. What began as an Italian-Spanish spaghetti Western with Peter Martell ended as a lower-budgeted all-Italian affair with the far better Franco Nero. He was recommended by assistant director Giovanni Fag, based on not so much actual footage but stills  of him in Sergio Corbucci’s just completed  Django.  This was the first of three tough oaters from horror director Lucip Fulci (the others being I quattro dell’Apocalisse (UK/US: The Four of the Apocalypse), 1974, and Sella d’argento (UK/US: Silver Saddle), 1977. Uruguayan co-star George Hilton said Fulci had an “overbearing personality and that could be difficult. The real names of Martell and Hilton are Pietro Martellanz and Jorge Hill Acosta y Lara. 

  2. Franco Nero, Django, Italy-Spain, 1966.    Italian maestro Sergio Corbucci was not overjoyed with his three spaghetti Westerns and decided, therefore, to write his own (with his brother Bruno). He named the hero after his favourite jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. Who should play him? One producer wanted Peter Martell (actually Pietro Martellanza), the other chose the US actor Mark Damon. Just awful, cried Corbucci’s assistant Ruggero Deodato. OK, who would you choose? Franco Nero! “Everyone still hesitated,” recalled Nero, “until  Sergio and his producers took our photos to the distributor Fulvia Frizzi… and he chose me immediately.”  And the rest is… well, a body count of 180, including 79 kills by our hero and a whole slew of 17 unofficial “sequels” (many with Django in the title rather than in the cast!) plus Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 homage: Django Unchained

  3. Terence Hill, Dio persona… io no  (US: Blood River and God Forgives… I Don’t), Italy-Spain,  1967.     Hill’s (literal) big break… The official version: Martell (aka the Spaghetti Western hero, Ringo) fell off his horse and  busted his leg.  The truth: in yet another fight  with his lover, he tried to kick her, missed, and  struck a wall with such force he broke the leg.  Director Giuseppe Colizzi chose Hill due to his likeness to Franco Nero, who couldn’t get away from Camelot for the Western  And so, the Bud Spencer-Terence Hill team was born, instead of Spencer-Martell.  The duo’s next 17 films  were more comedic and less brutal than this one.
  4. Bud Spencer,  Lo chiamavano Trinità (USA: They Call Me Trinity), Italy, 1970.   For his second movie, director EB Clucher originally wanted to team Peter Martell and George Eastman, a Genoa advertising artist pushed into movies by Rome friends because of  his good looks. Instead it became the fourth Bud Spencer-Terence Hill oater and the #1 film in Italy that year. Just as Martell and Eastman were born Pietro Martellanza and Luigi Montefiori, Spencer and Hill were really Carlo Pedersoli and Mario Girotti… and their usual director, EB Clucher, was Enzo Barboni.

 Birth year: 1938Death year: 2010Other name: Pietro MartellanzaCasting Calls:  3