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Lee Van Cleef,
Dan Hogan and his gang have held up a bank for $100,000 in gold bars. They meet up at Jackal's Ranch, a weigh station for stage coaches. While waiting for the gold to arrive they encounter a stranger, John Webb, who wants half the gold in exchange for guiding them safely to Mexico. Reluctantly, Dan agrees and they set across the brutal desert for a race to the border with the Rangers hot on their tail. Is John who he says he is? Is he really after the gold or does he have an ulterior motive? Written by
From the opening credits you get your first clue that this spaghetti western is going to be much different that what you typically get. The Mario Migliardi score is subdued, sounding quieter and playing at a much slower pace than in your typical spaghetti western. It continues this way for the rest of the movie, with the occasional addition of odd non-musical sounds.
As it turns out, this score fits this particular western very well. The focus isn't on action, but more on the various conflicts between the characters. The first half of the movie almost exclusively takes place in a coach stop building and its adjacent barn, where most of the players first meet up and start all the conflicts. This half of the movie actually comes close to being a kind of thriller, with various characters getting the upper hand at various moments, people with secrets, and an underlying feeling of tension.
All these going-ons played out with the odd score actually make the movie kind of creepy, and this feeling continues in the second half when the characters hit the trail and cross the desolate landscape. Director Giuseppe Vari keeps a feeling of mystery and uncertainty right to the end, adding some unusual camera angles to highlight this kind of disorientation. He also has a great assett with having the great Klaus Kinski as the chief villain. Though Kinski is dubbed (and with a voice that sounds far from what he sounded like in real life), he still proves a powerful villain with his creepy facial expressions and movements. Even when he simply stretches out, he does it in a way that gives you the creeps!
Highly recommended, if you can find it.
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