"And God Said to Cain..." (1969), a Saghetti Western directed by Antonio Margheriti, stars Klaus Kinski, Peter Carsten and Marcella Michelangeli and is the recipient of a startling, innovative script by Antonio Margheriti and Giovanni Addessi that has a hero who prefigures Clint Eastwood in "High Plains Drifter" by being a ghost (or is he?). Even in the transcending, transgressive, aggressive genre splicing of the world of Spagheetti Westerns, this is surprising stuff.
The plot has all the hallmarks of tightly-knit Greek tragedy: it takes place in a twenty-four hour time frame as Guy Hamilton (Kinski) mysteriously seeks revenge against the rich, powerful Acombar family.
Crows shriek out whenever Hamilton's name is spoken and an ominous storms broods over the landscape; this is not so much a Western as a Horror Western. The explanation, the motivation for Hamilton's insane night of bloodletting is cursory, almost as if the filmmakers felt obliged to try to explain the unexplainable. For the film to succeed then, it has to rest on the strength of Kinski's performance, which is marvelous, a million miles away from his phone-in cameo role in the previous year "If You Meet Sartana, Pray for Your Death". The rest of the cast are admirable and the cinematography by Luciano Trasatti and Riccardo Pallottini and direction are both superb.
A Gothic Horror Western that is utterly unexpected, this is diamond that should be displayed much more than it is.
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