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Somewhere in the middle of Nowhere, the Old West: Maria's (Michèle
Mercier) husband Ben (Benito Stefanelli) is shot before her very eyes by
the Roger-clan, the land-grabbing family of the region who have long been
after the land of Ben and his brothers (Daniele Vargas, Michel Lemoine),
and now that they were stupid enough to steal money from the Rogers, they
had plenty of reason to lynch Ben - but of course, they also got the local
sheriff (Pierre Collet) in their pocket ...
Ben's brothers just think
about splitting, but Maria wants revenge ... and thus hires her former
lover, former gunman Manuel (Robert Hossein) to help her have revenge.
Manuel is reluctant and only when Maria threatens she will do it herself
(and be killed in the effort), he wills in for old time's sake.
thing Manuel does after he has arrived in town is to save one of the
Rogers' life in a shootout by shooting three people dead and going to jail
for it. But Manuel is sprung by the Rogers in no time and offered a job,
which he happily accepts - only to in the first night stampede the Rogers'
horses, and while everyone's out trying to recapture them kidnapping the
only daughter of the house, Johanna (Anne-Marie Balin).
Now Maria only
wanted to see her kidnapped to blackmail the Rogers to give her husband a
decent burial and pretty much lose face in the process - which they even
agree upon since one of their kin is endangered ... and thus, Maria thinks
she has had her revenge - but not so her husband's brothers, who rape
Johanna, then ask for ransom - a perfect recipe to have everything spin
out of control ...
The plot of Cemetery Without Crosses
might not exactly sound very special in comparison to other Spaghetti
Westerns of its time, but the directorial approach to the story at hand
most certainly sets it apart, telling quite a bit of its story without
dialogue and via glances and gestures, consciously leaves out some scenes
to have them unfold only in the mind of the viewers, and turns very
little, simple scenes into regular setpieces. This all is of course
carried by an excellent cast and also wonderful cinematography.
not saying it's the best Spaghetti Western ever, but certainly one of the
most unusual and thoughtful!