Cemetery Without Crosses [Une corde, un Colt…] (1969)
AKA The Rope and the Colt, Death Valley Gunfighters, Cimitero senza croci
Starring Michèle Mercier, Robert Hossein, Guido Lollobrigida, Daniele Vargas, Serge Marquand, Pierre Hatet, Philippe Baronnet, Pierre Collet, Ivano Staccioli, Béatrice Altariba, Michel Lemoine, Anne-Marie Balin
Directed by Robert Hossein
Expectations: Pretty high, this one’s supposed to be a genre classic.
Cemetery Without Crosses is another of these movies that I have a hard time rating. This stems from my ambiguous feelings toward the film, as it is definitely well-made and interesting, but ultimately I found the film painfully slow and not all that engaging. My mind wandered so much while watching this one because it is a film composed almost entirely of music over images without much dialogue. It’s similar to this year’s Drive in that way, and like that film, I feel that it is less than it could be if it was slightly more accessible.
In terms of its story, Cemetery Without Crosses looks to be a simple revenge tale. The film opens with a man desperately riding away from a group of men. He reaches his house and his wife Maria, only to be captured by the men following him and promptly hanged. Maria wants revenge on these rancher bastards, so she enlists the help of a depressed old friend Manuel who currently fritters away his time hanging out in the saloon of a ghost town, thinking about what might have been. Sounds like a good setup for any standard revenge tale, but Cemetery Without Crosses is anything but standard. Instead, it takes a somber, hard look at the reality and the cyclical nature of revenge and how it can never truly deliver the satisfaction and the freedom it initially promises.