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Death Rides a Horse

3 Ratings: 3.0
A movie

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Tags: Movies
Genre: Action, Adventure, Western
Release Date: 1967.8.31
1 review about Death Rides a Horse

Hot and Cool

  • Aug 5, 2011
  • by
This minor Spaghetti Western features all of the genre's requisite elements: dynamic cinematography, brutal violence, gunplay galore, quirky black humor, goofy dialogue, sloppy dubbing, a double-digit body count and the Tabernas Desert substituting for the U.S.-Mexico border region. Fans of Leone's and Castellari's contributions to the genre will find a lot to enjoy in Giulio Petroni's dark, cunningly plotted effort.

As usual, Lee Van Cleef is perfect in the lead, portraying a former convict bearing a murderous longstanding grudge with his sly trademark arrogance. John Philip Law's performance is adequate, but superficial; the cult actor clearly hadn't yet found his niche. Their characters are separately in pursuit of the same gang of aging SOBs, and they function as both partners and rivals in revenge - while Law's hotheaded young desperado only intends to settle the score in a series of duels, Van Cleef's experienced gunslinger is willing to subdue his malice for the opportunity to turn a profit. Most of the villains are played by the genre's familiar thugs, and Mario Brega and José Torres are as sleazy here as they ever were. Anthony Dawson is particularly revolting as a bandit turned two-bit casino owner.

Like so many of his early scores, Ennio Morricone's music is vital, rousing, chaotic and altogether thrilling. Although the film's composition is somewhat haphazard, the vibrant Technicolor stock yields at least a few beautiful scenes.
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