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Gian Maria Volonté,
Klaus Kinski, freed after being framed, seeks revenge on Peter Carsten and gets it
I watched a widescreen version that was well-dubbed, had a strong sound track, but was only a fair print, especially in the many night scenes.
Little by little, I am seeing more movies with Kinski. He's the protagonist here with a solid role. I was impressed. The director showed him a lot in low shots, expressing his authority, or in closeups, showing his expressive large eyes. Sources say he was 5 foot 8 inches but he looks taller and more rugged than that in this movie. Peter Carsten, with his rugged chiseled features, consistently conveyed his character's consternation and apprehension at the re-appearance of Kinski, whom he had framed. Marcella Michelangeli made a suitable femme fatale, who had betrayed Kinski.
The production and overall movie is certainly quite good. This includes direction and music. Direction was above average. Music had a good spaghetti western feel. The story is a simple revenge tale, in which Kinski is a kind of avenging ghost out of Carsten's past. He thought Kinski would be imprisoned forever, but he was pardoned. This is not a horror story at all. There are some neat shots of silhouettes and action against the sky. The wind and church bell play a prominent part in the sound. There is a mirror scene reminiscent of The Lady from Shanghai.
The negatives are these. The story is too linear, too simple and involves a lengthy night sequence in which Kinski eliminates much of Carsten's entourage. Most of the action was hard to see. No doubt the bad print contributed. Some parts of this sequence built up tension, like a one on one scene in a tunnel where Kinski was being followed, and footsteps were being hidden by the sound of his footsteps in the mud. But from what I could tell, lots of the other shootings weren't built up to have that kind of tension.
The story regains momentum when Carsten's son and wife get involved.
This is a case where we really wish we had a restored print to view, but the available DVD doesn't offer that at all. I for one appreciate being able to see most old movies, this one included. I was in a spaghetti western mood, and this filled the bill.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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