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  • From the opening credits you get your first clue that this spaghetti western is going to be much different that what you typically get. The Mario Migliardi score is subdued, sounding quieter and playing at a much slower pace than in your typical spaghetti western. It continues this way for the rest of the movie, with the occasional addition of odd non-musical sounds.

    As it turns out, this score fits this particular western very well. The focus isn't on action, but more on the various conflicts between the characters. The first half of the movie almost exclusively takes place in a coach stop building and its adjacent barn, where most of the players first meet up and start all the conflicts. This half of the movie actually comes close to being a kind of thriller, with various characters getting the upper hand at various moments, people with secrets, and an underlying feeling of tension.

    All these going-ons played out with the odd score actually make the movie kind of creepy, and this feeling continues in the second half when the characters hit the trail and cross the desolate landscape. Director Giuseppe Vari keeps a feeling of mystery and uncertainty right to the end, adding some unusual camera angles to highlight this kind of disorientation. He also has a great assett with having the great Klaus Kinski as the chief villain. Though Kinski is dubbed (and with a voice that sounds far from what he sounded like in real life), he still proves a powerful villain with his creepy facial expressions and movements. Even when he simply stretches out, he does it in a way that gives you the creeps!

    Highly recommended, if you can find it.
  • This Italian production is an exciting S.W. movie starred by Paul Sullivan and Klaus Kinski , it is plenty of action , shootouts , double-crosses , thrills , twists and loads of violence and blood . The film deals with a cache of gold turning into several hands and it takes on a strange gunslinger against treacherous gang . This Spaghetti movie gets the usual Western issues , such as greedy antiheroes , violent facing off , quick zooms , exaggerated baddies . As an outlaw called Dan Hogan (Klaus Kinski) and his hoodlums have held up a bank robbery for $100,000 in gold bars . They meet up at Jackal's Ranch , a weigh station for stagecoaches . While waiting for the gold to arrive they meet a stranger , John Webb (Paul Sullivan/Paolo Casella) , who wants half the gold in exchange for guiding them safely to Mexico , but he is really seeking vengeance . John is a tough and rare gunslinger , he's an efficient Pistolero acting as judge , jury , and executioner . Reluctantly , Dan agrees under the condition that they give him fifty percent of the stolen gold they are transporting and they set across the brutal desert for a race to the border with the Rangers hot on their tail . Meanwhile , the nasty gang kidnaps the stagecoach passengers and the freelance gunman named John Webb is betrayed and deceived . John chases the nasty thieves and the ending settle disputes by shooting .

    It is an acceptable , passable Western with several titles ¨Renegade Gun" , "Pray to Kill and Return Alive" OR "Prega il Morto , Ammazza il Vivo", "Shoot the Living and Pray for the Dead¨, "To Kill a Jackal¨ contains an interesting but twisted plot about a gang rob a bank and then they hire a mysterious man to guide them across the Mexican border in return for half of the loot . It packs violence , double crosses , shoot'em up and results to be quite entertaining , though drags at times , balancing in ups and downs . There is plenty of action in the movie , guaranteeing some violence , crossfire or stunts every few minutes . It is an entertaining SW with lots of action , gun-play and fun . The main starring is Kinski who appears dressed in dark and with a killer look , gaining a reputation for his ferocious talent and equally ferocious temper . Here he plays with lots of gesticulation and excessive gestures . As he is fine , as he ravages the screen , hit and run and kills . It's a thrilling western with breathtaking confrontation between the protagonist Paul Sullivan against the heartless enemies formed by a brutal gang led by Klaus Kinski . This western is made during his Italian period when Klaus starred a lot of Westerns , later he collaborated with Werner Herzog with whom played several prestigious films . They later collaborated on five movies : Aguirre (1972), Woyzeck (1979), Nosferatu, (1979), Fitzcarraldo (1982) and Cobra Verde (1987). As Kinski starred numerous Spaghetti such as Black Killer , If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death , Bullet King , Shangai Joe , Clint the solitary , The Ruthless Four , Nevada Kid , The return of Clint , and specially famous resulted to be his acting in ¨For a fistful of dollars more¨ . There is a very odd implementation of shots in the camera work during some particular scenes as well as a lot of twists and turns , as the film approaches its climax , as in the final and the customary conclusion . Atmospheric Eastmancolor cinematography by Franco Villa in WideScreen , though being necessary a good remastering and filmed in Elios studios , as usual , and El Lacio . Enjoyable musical score by Mario Migliardi , including catching song heard at credit titles .

    The motion picture was middlingly directed by Joseph Warren or Giuseppe Vari (1916-1993) and it was filmed in parallel with another spaghetti western, The Last Traitor, which also was directed and written by Vari and Bolzoni in 1971 . Vari was a craftsman who directed all kinds of genres such as Sci-Fi : Urban Warriors , Wartime : Raiders of the Bloody Beach , Adventure : Legend of the Sea Wolf , Nunexploitation : Sor Emmanuelle , Cloak and Sandals : Revenge of the Barbarians , Rome versus Rome , Conquest of the Normans , and specially Spaghetti such as 1971 Il Tredicesimo è Sempre Giuda , 1969 Un Posto all'inferno , 1968 Un Buco in Fronte , 1967 Con Lui Cavalca la Morte , 1967 Un poker Di Pistole , 1967 The last gunfighter and 1966 Deguello .
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Shoot the Living and Pray for the Dead is an average-at-best spaghetti western that has its entertaining moments, though it has many faults.

    The acting is very dry and somewhat wooden, except for Klaus Kinski in the role of Dan Hogan, the leader of an outlaw gang. Hogan is an over-the-top, ruthless character who is very entertaining to watch due to Kinski's mannerisms and acting style. Kinski is the only reason this movie merits a rating of 6, rather than a 4 or 5.

    The storyline isn't all that interesting. It starts off as one of those "everyone's a bad-guy and we're all after the gold" flicks, then, near the end of the movie, we learn it is really a revenge story. The problem is, a good revenge story needs build-up. We see nothing of how the protagonist was wronged, nor do we see any anger or emotion of any kind from him. We only learn of his motivations when a Texas ranger matter-of-factly tells them to someone. As a result, we can't become all that drawn into the story, and are only mildly interested in seeing the revenge played out.

    There is lots of sitting in a room, and walking through the desert in this movie. It would have helped if there was more action.

    The music score is pretty decent, and there is some good camera work, especially during some of the close-ups of the characters' faces.

    If you are an avid spaghetti western fan, there is enough here to make this worth a watch, mostly thanks to Kinski.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    His movie has so many titles - Pray to Kill and Return Alive, To Kill a Jackal and Renegade Gun - but I went with the one closest to the original Italian title (Prega il Morto e Ammazza il Vivo).

    It's directed by Giuseppe Vari, who brings something artistic to every movie beyond just straight exploitation. As Joseph Warren, he made the giallo Who Killed the Prosecutor and Why? He also a very early zombie movie, 1963's peblum War of the Zombies, as well as Urban Warriors and Sister Emanuelle, in which Laura "Black Emanuelle" Gemser renounces her sexual sins and becomes a nun until a spoiled rich girl (Mónica Zanchi) reawakens her lust just in time for an escaped murderer (Gabriele Tinti, husband to Gemser) to hide out amongst the nuns. Whew!

    Dan Hogan (Klaus Kinski) and his gang have made off with $10,000 from a stagecoach and are due to meet at a saloon on the Mexican border. As the men wait for his girlfriend to bring their money to them, they encounter John Webb, who has killed the man who was to be their guide to Mexico. He asks for half the money to take them, but in truth, he's wanted to pay back Hogan for years.

    Writer Adriano Bolzoni (A Fistful of Dollars, Minnesota Clay, The Mercenary, Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key) infused this movie with a film noir edge, with Kinski's character making his first appearance is similar to Edward G. Robinson's first appearance in Key Largo.

    Seeing as how this is number sixteen on Quentin Tarantino's top twenty Italian Westerns of all-time list, it's not a stretch to say that this movie directly inspired The Hateful Eight.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Underrated mystery western with Kinski as gangster boss in big form, that means near to explosion in every minute of the story. First forty minutes take place at one setting, a post office station / boarding house and bear high tension.
  • I typically find Klaus Kinski's performances in these Spaghetti Westerns failing to live up to his reputation, but there's a brief scene near the end of this 1971 release that may actually convinced Werner Herzog that Kinski was right for '72s AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD. In any case, I enjoyed this despite the lackluster dubbing of Kinski, the annoyingly ridiculous "lovable old coot" dubbing of Dante Maggioa as Grandfather Jonathan, and a rather awkward final reveal. Still, there is effective tension throughout this psychological game of cat n' mouse, plus an interesting score... highlighted by the fun and jazzy singing of Ann Collin on "That Man" and especially, "I'm Not Your Pony"