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Enzo G. Castellari
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When outlaw Clay McCord learns the Governor of New Mexico has offered an amnesty to all who apply for it at the town of Tuscosa, he is intrigued but suspicious. He circles the vicinity, weighing the offer and encountering other outlaws, all the while troubled by occasional "spells" resembling the epileptic fits which plagued his father. Eventually McCord reaches Tuscosa where he clashes with the local marshal, Roy Colby. The Governor then arrives and tries to calm the situation, knowing that if McCord asks for amnesty, other outlaws will follow. Events lead to a shoot-out with McCord, Colby, and the Governor on one side while a band of outlaws comprise the other. Written by
dinky-4 of Minneapolis
"A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die" is a quality spaghetti western with a solid cast and an interesting storyline. It is filmed beautifully, with a relatively high production value for a film in this genre.
Alex Cord does a terrific job portraying Clay McCord, an outlaw who is suffering from increasingly debilitating seizures. He is seeking amnesty before his enemies close in on him, but is being too cocky for his own good when he asks for it. Robert Ryan delivers the best performance in the film as the governor of New Mexico. Mario Brega and Arthur Kennedy are also great here.
This movie is very good, but it doesn't stand out to me as being one of the best spaghetti westerns out there. It's lacking too much in style to be in the same league as any of the great ones. It does have some cool spaghetti overtones, but overall it's a bit too much like an American western. This is especially evident in the music score, which is OK as movies go in general, but pretty dull by euro-western standards. The soundtrack kind of reminds me of the music from "The Unforgiven." Although there is an interesting story here, it is told in a manner which is a bit too conventional for my tastes. If a spaghetti western fan and a Hollywood western fan had to watch a movie together, this one would be the perfect compromise.
All of this is not to say that anyone should avoid this film. I did enjoy watching it very much. As I said, it is a very well-done film and I recommend it to anyone who likes westerns, spaghetti or otherwise.
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