Scaife, the sadistic leader of a gang of cattle thieves, terrorizes the people of a Colorado mountain town. Bill Ransom, the retired sheriff, is the only one to stand up against Scaife and ... See full summary »
Scaife, the sadistic leader of a gang of cattle thieves, terrorizes the people of a Colorado mountain town. Bill Ransom, the retired sheriff, is the only one to stand up against Scaife and his men, among whom is Dan El, a former friend of his. Dan El is also the father of Tony, Bill's adopted son... Written by
This Spaghetti western differs from most in one chief respect. Instead of the dusty Southwest as the setting, "A Taste of Death" takes place in the snow swept Colorado. Moreover, there are no insanely laughing Mexican bandits. In fact, the characters here are primarily Americans. Scaife (Bruno Corazzari of "The Violent Professionals") rides up to a cattle camp and guns down the four men around the fire without warning. Afterward, Scaife and his rustlers take charge of the herd, but his second-in-command, Dan El (John Ireland of "Spartacus"), informs him that snow has blocked the pass so they will have to spend the winter in a nearby town until spring comes. Initially, Scaife asks the local lawman Bill Ransom (Raymond Pellengrin of "Bitter Victory") for permission for his men to hang around town for a couple of days. Ransom allows them a couple of days, but then Scaife kills him because they will need more than just a couple of days. Indeed, after killing Ransom, Scaife decides to take over the town. He enslaves the local men to construct corrals for the cattle, and he moves in with a lonely woman. Meanwhile, Bill's adopted son Tony (Andrea Giordana of "Johnny Hamlet") escapes and sets out to kill all of Scaife's men. At first, Scaife threatens to kill Ransom's daughter, but nothing come of that. Dan El tracks Tony down and gives the rebellious twenty-something kid the benefit of his many years as a wandering gunman. "You know, revenge serves no purpose," Dan El informs Tony, "you're just adding death to death." Dan El teaches Tony how to kill with a pistol and a rifle. Eventually, Dan El and Scaife kill each other and Tony drives the rest of the outlaws away.
"A Taste of Death" lacks any sense of style and director Sergio Merolle doesn't do anything that has been done before. According to IMDb.com, Merolle directed only one movie and spent most of his career as a unit production manager on "Burn!" and "The Battle of Algiers." Evidently, based on this information, it would appear that Merolle was better suited to working as a production manager than a director. A bearded John Ireland is the only Anglo in the cast; Ireland made a handful of Spaghettis and "A Taste of Death" is nowhere near as entertaining as "Dead for A Dollar." Mind you, Bruno Corazzari makes a worthy villain, but there isn't that much excitement on hand. The screenplay by Biagio Proietti is one of those anti-violence westerns where everybody has to kill each other to make a point. At fade-out, our hero Tony throws down his six-shooter in disgust. There's nothing carefree or fun about this Italian western. Only hardcore aficionados of the genre will find time to tolerate this oater. The stunt work with bad guys getting shot and smashing through roofs as they plunge to the ground is okay.
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