The Stranger films by Allen Klein and Tony Anthony  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
The Stranger films by Allen Klein and Tony Anthony

Allen Klein produced a trilogy of spaghetti westerns starring and written by Tony Anthony and ostensibly copying Clint Eastwood's The Man With No Name. A Stranger In Town and The Stranger Returns were released in the USA by MGM. A dispute with MGM over the last of the three, The Silent Stranger, led to it not being released for seven years after production. Klein and Anthony also collaborated on the film Blindman featuring Ringo Starr as a Mexican bandito. Klein also appeared briefly on camera, in a similar role.

Tony Anthony's friend Saul Swimmer had moved to England, where he befriended Allen Klein. Klein agreed to help Anthony and produced his first major film.

The film Klein produced was a spaghetti western called A Stranger in Town/Un Dollaro tra i Denti . A low budget clear imitation of A Fistful of Dollars, it starred Anthony as the titular Stranger, a shotgun-wielding antihero who helps a group of Mexican bandits steal gold from the US Army and Federales, and then steals it right back from them. Released by MGM to compete with the United Artists Clint Eastwood the Man with No Name film series, it became a surprise success, and spawned three sequels in which Tony Anthony reprised his role.

With these movies, Tony Anthony often brought the genre to unusual places. His own persona was not the typical tough spaghetti western hero; the Stranger was vulnerable and sneaky, with a sardonic sense of humor. The second Stranger film, The Stranger Returns/Un Uomo, un cavallo, una Pistola was a more polished entry that had a golden stagecoach as its MacGuffin. Anthony's willingness to experiment with the genre resulted in the third series entry, the self-explanatory A Stranger in Japan/ Lo Straniero di Silenzio/The Silent Stranger. Considered by many the first "East-meets-West western", predating Red Sun by three years, its release was delayed for seven years in the US due to a dispute with MGM, and never received a European release at all. Anthony later declared the film his best and lamented the cuts that MGM made to it. Both had scores by Stelvio Cipriani.

His next film was Blindman, a spaghetti-western variation on the Zatoichi series. Anthony played a blind gunslinger hired to escort fifty mail-order brides to their husbands. By that time, Allen Klein had become the manager of the Beatles, and Saul Swimmer had directed many of their music videos and concert films. Both were producers on Blindman, and their presence led to Ringo Starr accepting a supporting role as one of the bandits. Ringo would produce Anthony's next film, which Swimmer would direct: a semi-autobiographical road movie called Cometogether. In this film, Anthony plays an American stuntman working on spaghetti westerns in Rome. The film contains behind the scenes-footage of a spaghetti western being shot.

In 1976, long after the heyday of the genre, Anthony starred as the Stranger for a fourth time in Get Mean. A bizarre film that can barely be considered a western at all, it instead takes place in Spain, where the Stranger has to battle invading Vikings and Moors after escorting a princess there. It failed to find a wide audience.

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