The Italian title of this movie may mean As Man to Man, but in the U.S. it got the great title of Death Rides a Horse. The original title of the film was Duel in the Wind, but star Lee Van Cleef came up with the Italian title while he was discussing the movie with John Phillip Law, as he saw the movie as having a “man to man” story. Van Cleef remarked, “Why don’t they call it From Man to Man?” The Italian producers liked how it sounded in Italian and used it.
Directed by Giulio Petroni, who made Tepepa, an Italian western with Orson Welles and written by Luciano Vincenzoni (For a Few Dollars More, Orca, Raw Deal), it’s the story of Bill (John Phillip Law), a man who once watched his entire family defiled and murdered before his eyes and their home set on fire.
Now, 15 years later, he’s finally gunning for vengeance. He remembers one thing about each of the five men: a tattoo of four aces, a scar, an earring, a skull necklace and only one face. As he tracks them down, he runs into Ryan (Van Cleef), a man out of jail and hunting the same men after they framed him for armed robbery. While Bill manages to kill the first, played by Anthony Dawson, Ryan wants the rest all to himself.
Bill tries, but it doesn’t go well. He’s captured by the outlaws and buried alive with just his head emerging into the hot sun. He’s rescued by Ryan, who ends up being the man with the skull necklace. While he was present during the murders, but he claims that he arrived late and did not participate. He’s also the one who rescued Bill from the fire.
Ryan gives a pledge to the younger man. Once the gang has been dealt with, he will face whatever justice Bill wants to dish out.
An excellent film with a great Morricone soundtrack, this film saw writer Vincenzoni break away from Sergio Leone just as the director was starting The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
You can watch this on Tubi.
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