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Renowned gunman Richard Martin is traveling on a train, held up by Billy Kane, a former student of Martin's. Kane spares Martin, but only after shooting his hands. Years later, Martin meets an escaped convict, wrongly convicted for the train robbery. Martin trains his new student and both men seek out Billy Kane. Written by
Tom Seldon <elpuro.msn.com>
Like THE PRICE OF POWER (1969), which I watched last September, I only became aware of this obscure Spaghetti Western when it was included in an all-time best poll on the "Spaghetti Westerns Database" website. As it turned out, it's a pretty good example of the genre, though I wouldn't quite place in the top rank. Star Enrico Maria Salerno brings intelligence to the genre - much like Gian Maria Volonte' did in FACE TO FACE (1967). The credits are quite modest, but Egisto Macchi's score is certainly exemplary; interesting characterizations, too, are somewhat nipped in the bud by a mostly unfamiliar cast.
Still, the complex plot keeps one watching: featuring a traveling-show backdrop, it's essentially a revenge saga between old pals; one trains a young gun to eliminate the other, because he can no longer use his smashed hands - but the villain is revealed to be the one man who could clear the mysterious boy of murder! Though the film's tone is generally serious, an anarchist streak surfaces during one scene where Salerno's current protégé is murdered in cold blood by a cowboy in the audience, just for a lark. The climactic shoot-out is somewhat drawn-out, but it's capped by a clever bit involving a mirror.
I watched this via a slightly trimmed German DVD - where one graphic shot to the neck is missing from the main feature but curiously present in the accompanying theatrical trailer!; it also seems to cut off a little too abruptly at the very end.
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