Anthony as "The Stranger" during the production of A Stranger in Town (1967)
Tony Roger Petitto
October 16, 1937
|Other names||Tony Petitto|
|Alma mater||Carnegie Mellon School of Drama|
|Occupation||Film actor, producer, screenwriter, director|
|Partner(s)||Luciana Paluzzi (1960s–1970s)|
Tony Anthony (born Tony Roger Petitto; October 16, 1937)is an American actor, producer, screenwriter and director best known for his starring roles in Spaghetti Westerns, most of which were produced with the aid of his friends and associates Allen Klein and Saul Swimmer. These films consist of The Stranger series - A Stranger in Town (1967), The Stranger Returns (1967), The Silent Stranger (1968) and Get Mean (1975) - and the Zatoichi -inspired Blindman (1971). Anthony also wrote, produced and starred in Comin' at Ya! (1981) and Treasure of the Four Crowns (1983), the first film being largely credited with beginning the 1980s revival of 3D films in Hollywood.
Anthony was born Tony Roger Petitto in Clarksburg, West Virginia.With his friend Saul Swimmer directing, Anthony and Peter Gayle produced the half-hour children's short The Boy Who Owned a Melephant (1959), narrated by actress Tallulah Bankhead. The three men would become his frequent collaborators. The film won a Gold Leaf award at the Venice International Children's Film Festival. Following that short, Anthony and Swimmer co-wrote the Swimmer-directed independent features Force of Impulse (1961), a Romeo and Juliet story about a high school football player who turns to robbery, filmed in Miami Beach, Florida, and Without Each Other (1962). Anthony then moved to Italy to film Wounds of Hunger and La ragazza in prestito . Swimmer had moved to England, where he befriended Allen Klein.
Anthony was in Europe when Sergio Leone's Westerns were setting box office records, but had not yet been released in America. Anthony contacted Klein, then a major stockholder at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, about releasing a Spaghetti Western, for which he had played the lead role, in the United States. Anthony had also served as an uncredited executive producer on the film, having raised $40,000 with another American, James Hagar.The film Klein released was called A Stranger in Town , starring Anthony as the 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 United Artists' Dollars Trilogy starring Clint Eastwood, it became a surprise success, and spawned three sequels in which Anthony reprised his role.
With these films, some felt Anthony's persona was not the typical tough spaghetti western hero; the Stranger was vulnerable and sneaky, with a sardonic sense of humor.Anthony recalled that director Luigi Vanzi constantly described the character to him as "a bad guy but you do good in spite of yourself. You're not Gary Cooper. You're not John Wayne. You're not the 'tall in the saddle' cowboy. You're the street guy. The audience can identify with you because you look like the guy that goes into movie theaters and says 'Well, I could be like him'." Anthony himself described the Stranger as "a dirty coal-mining cowboy". The second Stranger film, The Stranger Returns has a golden stagecoach as its MacGuffin and a Stelvio Cipriani score that had several cover versions by various orchestras. Anthony's willingness to experiment with the genre resulted in the third series entry, The Silent Stranger with another Cipriani score. Considered by some 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 between Klein and MGM, and never received a European release. Anthony later declared the film his best and lamented the cuts that MGM made to it.
His next film was Blindman , a Spaghetti Western variation on the Zatoichi series. Anthony plays a blind gunslinger hired to escort 50 mail-order brides to their husbands. By that time, Klein had been the manager of the Beatles, and 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.Starr would produce Anthony's next film, which Swimmer would direct: a road movie called Come Together . 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 1975, long after the heyday of the genre, Anthony starred as the Stranger for a fourth time in Get Mean produced by Ron Schneider. A unique film often compared to Sam Raimi's Army of Darkness , the film 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.
In 1981, Anthony returned to the spaghetti well for Comin' at Ya! , a 3D Western he wrote, produced, and starred in. In order for the film to receive a wide release, Anthony designed a low-cost projection lens which was cheaper than conventional 3-D lenses.
Anthony would star in one more 3D film, Treasure of the Four Crowns . Anthony next announced a 3D science-fiction movie called Seeing is Believing,but with the 3D craze over, it could not find a financier and was never made.
Anthony's last acting role was in Treasure of the Four Crowns . He went on to occasionally produce films, such as Wild Orchid and the spaghetti-western throwback Dollar for the Dead , and ran an optical equipment company that he said sold an estimated $1 million worth of lenses up to the release of Jaws 3-D in 1983.
In late August 2009, Anthony announced he had taken the "over and under 3-D" format of Comin' At Ya! and converted it to "digital 3-D" as a part of the film's reissue.Following an exhibition at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas on September 25, 2011, the film was restored and digitalized for a 30th anniversary theatrical re-release and played in theaters throughout Texas starting on February 24, 2012.
|1959||The Boy Who Owned a Melephant||N/A||Producer and screenwriter|
|1961||Force of Impulse||Toby Marino||Also producer and story|
|1962|| Without Each Other |
(also known as Pity Me Not)
|Boy||Also executive producer (uncredited) and screenwriter|
|1963||Wounds of Hunger||Luis Ortega||Also executive producer (uncredited)|
|1964||Engagement Italiano||Franco||Also executive producer (uncredited)|
|1964|| Beautiful Families ||Luigi||Segment: "La cernia"|
Also executive producer (uncredited)
|1965||Let's Talk About Men||N/A||Executive producer (uncredited)|
|1967|| A Stranger in Town |
(also known as For a Dollar in the Teeth)
|The Stranger||Also executive producer (uncredited)|
| The Stranger Returns |
(also known as A Man, a Horse, a Gun, Shoot First... Laugh Last!)
|The Stranger||Also executive producer (uncredited) and story|
|1968|| The Silent Stranger |
(also known as The Horseman and the Samurai, The Stranger in Japan)
|The Stranger||Also producer and story|
|1971||Come Together||Tony||Also co-director (uncredited), producer, and screenwriter|
|Blindman||Blindman||Also producer, screenwriter and story|
|1973|| Pete, Pearl & the Pole |
(also known as 1931: Once Upon a Time in New York)
|Pete Di Benedetto||Also producer and story|
|1975|| Get Mean |
(also known as Beat a Dead Horse, Vengeance of the Barbarians, The Stranger Gets Mean)
|The Stranger||Also producer and story|
|1981||Comin' at Ya!||H.H. Hart||Also producer and story (as Tony Pettito)|
|1983||Treasure of the Four Crowns||J.T. Striker||Also producer and story (as Tony Pettito)|
|1998||Dollar for the Dead||N/A||Producer|
The Spaghetti Western is a broad subgenre of Western films produced in Europe, that emerged in the mid-1960s in the wake of Sergio Leone's film-making style and international box-office success. The term was used by American critics and those in other countries because most of these Westerns were produced and directed by Italians.
Sergio Leone was an Italian film director, producer and screenwriter, credited as the creator of the Spaghetti Western genre and widely regarded as one of the most influential directors in the history of cinema.
The year 1963 in film involved some significant events, including the big-budget epic Cleopatra and two films with all-star casts, How the West Was Won and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
A Fistful of Dollars is a 1964 Spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood in his first leading role, alongside John Wells, Marianne Koch, W. Lukschy, S. Rupp, Jose Calvo, Antonio Prieto, and Joe Edger. The film, an international co-production between Italy, West Germany, and Spain, was filmed on a low budget, and Eastwood was paid $15,000 for his role.
Zatoichi is a fictional character featured in one of Japan's longest-running series of films, as well as a television series. Both are set during the late Edo period. The character, a blind masseur and blademaster, was created by novelist Kan Shimozawa.
Robert Montgomery was an American film and television actor, director, and producer. He began his acting career on the stage, but was soon hired by MGM. Initially assigned roles in comedies, he soon proved he was able to handle dramatic ones as well. He appeared in a wide variety of roles, such as a weak-willed prisoner in The Big House (1930), an Irish handyman in Night Must Fall (1937) and a boxer mistakenly sent to Heaven in Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941). The last two earned him nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actor.
Allen Klein was an American businessman, music publisher, writers' representative and record label executive. He was known for his tough persona and aggressive negotiation tactics, many of which affected industry standards for compensating recording artists. He founded ABKCO Music & Records Incorporated. Klein increased profits for his musician clients, who previously had been receiving less lucrative record company contracts. He first scored monetary and contractual gains for Buddy Knox and Jimmy Bowen, one-hit rockabillies of the late 1950s, then parlayed his early successes into a position managing Sam Cooke, and eventually managed the Beatles and the Rolling Stones simultaneously, along with many other artists, becoming one of the most powerful individuals in the music industry during his era.
Comin' at Ya! is a Spanish-American 3D Western film, featuring Tony Anthony, Victoria Abril and Gene Quintano and directed by Ferdinando Baldi.
"Heavy Music" is a song first released as a single by Bob Seger & the Last Heard. Two different vocal takes of the song were released together on either side of the single, with the names "Heavy Music Part 1" and "Heavy Music Part 2". An eight-minute fourteen second-long live version of the song is featured on the album Live Bullet with the Silver Bullet Band.
Gene Quintano is an American screenwriter, actor, film producer and director. He is best known for writing sequels to the film Police Academy and directing the western Dollar for the Dead and action parody Loaded Weapon 1, both starring Emilio Estevez.
Saul Swimmer was an American documentary film director and producer best known for the movie The Concert for Bangladesh (1972), the George Harrison-led Madison Square Garden show that was one of the first all-star benefits in rock music. He was also a co-producer of The Beatles' 1970 documentary Let It Be.
Treasure of the Four Crowns is a 1983 action adventure film directed by Ferdinando Baldi and starring Tony Anthony, Ana Obregón, Gene Quintano, and Francisco Rabal. Anthony and Quintano also served as producers and screenwriters. The musical score was composed by Ennio Morricone.
Pete, Pearl & the Pole, also known as 1931: Once Upon a Time in New York, is a 1973 Italian-American gangster film directed by Luigi Vanzi and starring Tony Anthony.
Blindman is a 1971 Spaghetti Western film directed by Ferdinando Baldi and co-written and co-produced by Tony Anthony. The film's protagonist, played by Anthony, is an homage to Kan Shimozawa's Zatoichi character: a blind transient who does odd jobs and is actually a high-skilled warrior.
The Boy Who Owned a Melephant is a 1959 American short film directed by Saul Swimmer and featuring Tallulah Bankhead as narrator.
A Stranger in Town, released in the UK as For a Dollar in the Teeth, is a 1967 Italian-American Spaghetti Western film directed by Luigi Vanzi.
Get Mean, also known as Beat a Dead Horse, Vengeance of the Barbarians and The Stranger Gets Mean, is a 1975 Italian-American Spaghetti Western fantasy comedy film directed by Ferdinando Baldi and starring Tony Anthony, Lloyd Battista, Raf Baldassarre, Diana Lorys and Mirta Miller. It is the final sequel to A Stranger in Town, with Anthony reprising the role of "The Stranger."
The Stranger Returns also known as Shoot First... Laugh Last!, is a 1967 Italian-German-American Spaghetti Western film directed by Luigi Vanzi. It is a sequel to A Stranger in Town.
The Silent Stranger, also known as The Horseman and the Samurai and The Stranger in Japan, is a 1968 Italian-American-Japanese Spaghetti Western and jidaigeki film directed by Luigi Vanzi. It is the second sequel to A Stranger in Town with twenty minutes excised for its 1975 release.
The youngest film producers in the United States – 22-year-old Peter Gayle, Saul Swimmer and Tony Anthony – are negotiating for the film rights to Arthur Miller's '[A] Memory of Two Mondays'.