Death Rides a horse
Director: Giulio Petroni

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Rapists & murderers attack a boy's family & he alone survives the carnage. From his hiding place he memorizes something about each of the attackers, & afterward recovers one of their lost spurs. He grows up to be the avenging super-sharpshooter fast-draw Bill Meceita, played by pretty-boy John Phillip Law, in Death Rides a Horse (Da Uomo a uomo, literally As Man to Man, 1967).

Death Rides a horseUltra-cool Lee Van Cleef as Ryan is newly out of prison after fifteen years at hard labor. He has a vendetta against those who double-crossed him, the same bad guys John Phillip Law is hunting.

Ryan tracks down & demands $15,000 from Cavanaugh (Anthony Dawson), a thousand for every year spent in prison. Meceita has learned this is one of the men who killed his family, & kills him before Ryan can collect the debt.

The next bad-guy is Walcott (Luigi Pistilli). He has in the intervening years become an upstanding citizen & banker, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. From him Ryan wants $30,000, but ends up in a cellar, dropped through a trapdoor into the arms of a crew of thugs.

Death Rides a horseWalcott robs his own bank in a somewhat silly convolution of plot, setting Ryan up for the blame. So it's up to Bill Meceita to bust him out of jail by colorful means.

More revenge killings follow, more captures & escapes, with love/hate exchanges between Ryan & Bill, until the all-too-obvious revelation about who Ryan really is sparks the beginning of the climax.

Like a lot of westerns, Death Rides a Horse borrows a bit from Akira Kurosawa, with a big finale in a Mexican rather than Japanese village where peasants have been united by the samurai-like white guys to stand & face the gang of evil banditos.

A nice enough spaghetti western, Death Rides a Horse has the requisit grizzled faces & scruffed up dusty costumes, with Van Cleef turning in an ideal hammy performance, & Law not sucking too much.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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