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Cimitero senza Croci

Cemetery Without Crosses
Une corde, un Colt ... / Una cuerda, un Colt / The Rope and the Colt / Death Valley Gunfighters / Friedhof ohne Kreuze

Italy/France 1969
produced by
Jean-Pierre Labatut, Jean-Charles Raffini (executive) for Fono Roma, Loisirs du Monde, Les Films Copernic
directed by Robert Hossein
starring Michèle Mercier, Robert Hossein, Guido Lollobrigida (as Lee Burton), Daniele Vargas, Serge Marquand, Pierre Hatet, Philippe Baronnet, Pierre Collet, Ivano Staccioli, Béatrice Altariba, Michel Lemoine, Simón Arriaga, José Canalejas, Álvaro de Luna, Charly Bravo, Benito Stefanelli, Cris Huerta, Lorenzo Robledo, Ángel Álvarez
written by Robert Hossein, Claude Desailly, Dario Argento, music by André Hossein

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Somewhere in the middle of Nowhere, the Old West: Maria's (Michèle Mercier) husband Ben (Benito Stefanelli) is shot before her very eyes by the Roger-clan, the land-grabbing family of the region who have long been after the land of Ben and his brothers (Daniele Vargas, Michel Lemoine), and now that they were stupid enough to steal money from the Rogers, they had plenty of reason to lynch Ben - but of course, they also got the local sheriff (Pierre Collet) in their pocket ...

Ben's brothers just think about splitting, but Maria wants revenge ... and thus hires her former lover, former gunman Manuel (Robert Hossein) to help her have revenge. Manuel is reluctant and only when Maria threatens she will do it herself (and be killed in the effort), he wills in for old time's sake.

First thing Manuel does after he has arrived in town is to save one of the Rogers' life in a shootout by shooting three people dead and going to jail for it. But Manuel is sprung by the Rogers in no time and offered a job, which he happily accepts - only to in the first night stampede the Rogers' horses, and while everyone's out trying to recapture them kidnapping the only daughter of the house, Johanna (Anne-Marie Balin).

Now Maria only wanted to see her kidnapped to blackmail the Rogers to give her husband a decent burial and pretty much lose face in the process - which they even agree upon since one of their kin is endangered ... and thus, Maria thinks she has had her revenge - but not so her husband's brothers, who rape Johanna, then ask for ransom - a perfect recipe to have everything spin out of control ...

 

The plot of Cemetery Without Crosses might not exactly sound very special in comparison to other Spaghetti Westerns of its time, but the directorial approach to the story at hand most certainly sets it apart, telling quite a bit of its story without dialogue and via glances and gestures, consciously leaves out some scenes to have them unfold only in the mind of the viewers, and turns very little, simple scenes into regular setpieces. This all is of course carried by an excellent cast and also wonderful cinematography.

Now I'm not saying it's the best Spaghetti Western ever, but certainly one of the most unusual and thoughtful!

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD