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The Independent Critic

Michèle Mercier, Robert Hossein, Guido Lollobrigida
Robert Hossein
90 Mins.
Arrow Films
Brand new 2K restoration of the film from original film elements;High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations; Original Italian and English soundtracks in uncompressed PCM mono audio;Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack; Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack;Remembering Sergio – an all-new interview with star and director Robert Hossein, filmed exclusively for this release;French television news report on the film’s making, containing interviews with Hossein, and actors Michèle Mercier and Serge Marquand;Archive interview with Hossein;Original theatrical trailer;Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork;Illustrated collector’s booklet containing new writing by Ginette Vincendeau and Rob Young

 "Cemetery Without Crosses" to Get Blu-ray Release From Arrow Films 

After her husband is lynched by bandits, Maria (Michele Mercier) turns to Manuel, an old friend played by Robert Hossein. Initially reluctant to become involved, Manuel soon infiltrates Maria's enemies and forces a showdown.

A bold and bleak spaghetti Western inspired by the Dollars trilogy and dedicated to Sergio Leone, Cemetery Without Crosses presents a Gallic spin on the spaghetti western and succeeds largely on the strength of Hossein's ability to weave together an overwhelming sense of melancholy with explosive set pieces and Andre Hossein's stellar original scre along with Scott Walker's tremendously effective theme song. Hossein shares writing credit for the film with Claude Desailly, though Dario Argento is also noted as having involvement with the film's script (NOTE: Hossein has stated that Argento contributed not more than a couple dozen lines to the script). Originally released under the title The Rope and the Colt, Cemetery Without Crosses is a true tribute to Leone's films and Hossein deserves credit for having crafted a film that remains faithful to Leone's ability to create emotional resonance and outstanding set pieces. Cemetery Without Crosses feels authentic and, if you surrender yourself to it, it will linger in your psyche long after the closing credits.

What lingers?

Hossein has crafted a film with sparse, intentional dialogue and devoid of distractions. It's a film where every sound seems to be another character, yet those sounds are often something as simple as the creaking of wooden planks as someone walks along or the sounds of a gentle breeze in a not so gentle scene. It's a remarkably effective sound design courtesy of Guy Villette that weaves its way into Marie-Sophie Dubus's patient, lingering editing and Henri Persin's naturalistic lensing.

Hossein himself is tremendously convincing here as Manuel, while Mercier steals the show as Maria, a woman whose emotions vacillate between hope and despair yet who is constantly compelling throughout the film.

As prepared by the fine folks at U.K.-based Arrow Films, this Blu-ray/DVD release is filled with Arrow's usual extras that are far too often saved for blockbuster films. While Cemetery Without Crosses may not be a blockbuster, for fans of spaghetti westerns it will unquestionably be one of the genre's finer examples and an inspired film dedicated to one of the genre's true icons.

Cemetery Without Crosses arrives on Blu-ray on July 20th, 2015.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic