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21 user 38 critic

Cemetery Without Crosses (1969)

Une corde, un Colt... (original title)
Not Rated | | Western | 25 January 1969 (France)
Manuel is a leather-clad killer, drawn into a tragic kidnap/murder plot by his former flame Maria Caine.

Director:

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1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Robert Hossein ...
Guido Lollobrigida ...
Thomas Caine (as Lee Burton)
Daniele Vargas ...
Will Rogers (as Daniel Vargas)
Serge Marquand ...
Larry Rogers
Pierre Hatet ...
Frank Rogers
Philippe Baronnet ...
Bud Rogers
Pierre Collet ...
Sheriff Ben
Ivano Staccioli ...
Vallee
Béatrice Altariba ...
Saloon Woman
Michel Lemoine ...
Eli Caine
Anne-Marie Balin ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Simón Arriaga ...
Employé de Rogers
José Canalejas ...
Un frère Valley
Álvaro de Luna ...
Adjoint du shérif
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Storyline

Manuel is a leather-clad killer, drawn into a tragic kidnap/murder plot by his former flame Maria Caine.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

| |

Release Date:

25 January 1969 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Cemetery Without Crosses  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On an interview included on the German DVD, Robert Hossein claims that Dario Argento was not involved in writing the screenplay. Dario Argento is listed in the credits on the Italian and German versions but not on the French version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Denn sie kennen kein Erbarmen - Der Italowestern (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

The Rope & The Colt
Composed by André Hossein (as A. Hossein)
Lyrics by Hal Shaper
Sung by Scott Walker
Produced by Norbert Saada
Published by La Compagnie
Conducted by André Lafosse (as Andre Lafosse)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A pure spaghetti western; once upon a time in the west...
14 June 2008 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

It's always very difficult for me to articulate my thoughts on films that leave me as speechless and mesmerized as Cemetery without Crosses did. The hardest part is not to describe the mechanics of plot but to convey the emotional truth that resonates through them. In the vast spaghetti western desert populated by everything from goofy slapstick comedies to leftist political westerns set against the Mexican revolution to gritty revenge flicks to schematic allegories about iconic men with no names carrying coffins, CEMETERY WITHOUT CROSSES occupies a peculiar place: it is a pure spaghetti western, one of the very few that dared follow in the footsteps not of the picaresque THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY but of the elegiac ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST.

In a way it encapsulates the very essence of what the genre is about in its most poignant undiluted form. The old American west seen through the eyes of fascinated Europeans. If American westerns were myths about history, this is a myth about a myth. An iconic world and a dusty limbo. The archetype behind it all. In that sense we're talking about a dance of death, a term Sergio Leone coined to describe his magnum opus Once Upon a Time in the West. As if the universe conspired to prove future reviewers right, the film closes with a dedication: "Robert Hossein dedica questo film all' amico Sergio Leone"…

I won't go into plot details because they are of little importance to the overall picture. Very elemental, very stripped-down, something you've seen many times before but not quite this way - Raymond Chandler's praise of Dashiell Hammett's talent, how to spin a familiar scene in a unique way. Hossein himself stars as a leather-clad killer, drawn into a tragic kidnap/murder plot by a widow. What makes the difference here is the execution, the style and the form. The mythic place Cemetery without Crosses takes place in leaps into the screen with an opening sepia-tinted scene of horses galloping; a wounded man is being chased. When all is said and done, a long shot of a dusty ghost town in the middle of the sierra fades back into sepia and the film ends.

A wise man once said "silence teaches you how to sing". Hossein here silences everything and lets the defeaning silence and a Mexican guitar say it all. Dialogue is totally absent for long stretches, a mournful Mexican deguello sounding in the background, glances and gestures carrying all that needs to be communicated. Just watch how total silence can make a dinner scene so captivating. Perhaps the pinnacle being a completely wordless exchange between a man and a woman in the middle of an empty street; they say so much by saying nothing. The score leaps to sudden crescendos then falls back to a sea of melancholic chords. But in the same time Hossein has taken great care to preserve a near perfect sound design. Everything is audible, from the wooden planks creaking at the weight of footsteps to the sounds of the night. Such attention to detail is always appreciated.

As far as the look of the movie is concerned, it matches the audio both in tone and style. Everything looks grungy and torn; a plain wooden cabin, long dusty raincoats, a ghost town falling to shambles in the middle of nowhere, a cemetery seen from afar, figures in the landscape, a funeral procession, a hanged man's feet dangling mid-air; no place for squeaky clean studio backlots trying to pass for the real dea, no clean-shaven cowboys. Rugged faces, a perfect mirror of the film's world, just the way Sergio Leone used them. Tired eyes, scars and wrinkles, unkempt beards, sullen and ugly people, the human face as a landscape unto itself.

The light is bright at first but as the film progresses to its inevitable end, everything turns dimmer. After the 40 minute mark, the film exists in a twilight world. Truly a land of some other order. A land that Hossein practically leaves behind in the desert when the film ends. It's like a mythical place we were allowed to glimpse for 80 minutes. Elegiac.


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