The Taste of Violence / Le Goût de la violence (Robert Hossein, 1961)

(scherpschutter) #1

There’s a review of this wonderful Hossein movie available now:

(Novecento) #2

Thanks for the great review. I just found these screenshots online:

(Edit: Just thought I’d add the original link if anyone’s interested -

(alk0) #3

Great review! I will probably have a chance to see that one soon.
Btw. do you take requests for your next review? I enjoy all of your texts and i’m curious what would you make of one of my fave SWs that is in my top 20, but it’s often unfairly overlooked

(scherpschutter) #4

[quote=“alk0, post:3, topic:1653”]Great review! I will probably have a chance to see that one soon.
Btw. do you take requests for your next review? I enjoy all of your texts and i’m curious what would you make of one of my fave SWs that is in my top 20, but it’s often unfairly overlooked[/quote]


I planned to do at least the 100-120 most important SWs, so I suppose your favourite is among them, but just tell me what it is …

(alk0) #5

Per 100,000 dollari ti ammazzo aka. Vengeance Is Mine. It’s often overshadowed by 10.000 dollari per un massacro. Unfairly in my opinion

(Bad Lieutenant) #6

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:4, topic:1653”]?

I planned to do at least the 100-120 most important SWs, so I suppose your favourite is among them, but just tell me what it is …[/quote]
Yeah, I’d love to read scherpschutter’s opinion on Trinity & Sartana.

(scherpschutter) #7

No problem, I have the Spanish Sueva edition

I first do Light the fuse … then this one

(alk0) #8

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:7, topic:1653”]No problem, I have the Spanish Sueva edition

I first do Light the fuse … then this one[/quote]
Thanks, i appreciate it! :slight_smile:
Light the fuse is one of my faves as well, so i see some great reviews are on their way:)

(Novecento) #9

I finally managed to sit down and watch this last night and it was most definitely worth the wait.

The audio track was dubbed into German with Mario Adorf apparently supplying his own voice. My knowledge of German is pitiful which makes it feel strange to rate so highly a movie in which I couldn’t understand the dialogue. Fortunately Scherpschutter’s excellent review gave me the basic plot outline and it wasn’t too difficult to fill in the gaps. Although the movie initially seemed to be slightly more wordy than Hossein’s “Cemetery without Crosses”, by the second half it was familiar territory with hardly a word being uttered while the beautiful camerawork and cinematography did all the talking. It is a real shame the quality of the picture was not better in order to really appreciate its splendour. André Hossein’s score is perfectly suited and often shows similar themes to his score for “Cemetery without Crosses”. As with the picture quality, it is a shame the audio was not better on the recording available to me.

I was very interested in Scherpschutter’s comparison of this to Kurosawa’s “Hidden Fortress” released three years earlier in 1958. The similarities in the basic plot of three men (one a strong leader and two squabbling followers) taking an important woman across hostile territory are further augmented by the similar black & white film and mountainous territory. However, as with comparisons between Leone’s “Fistful of Dollars” and Kurosawa’s “Yojimbo”, these are still very different movies with very different feels to them.

As a predecessor of the Zapata Western, it is great to see just how distinctive Hossein’s work is when compared to those that followed it. Hossein later dedicated his 1969 Spaghetti Western “Cemetery without Crosses” to Sergio Leone but, rather than being stylistically derivative, the Leone-directed dinner scene is noticeably distinct. Although they share a similar love of the cinematic medium, Leone and Hossein have a very different feel which makes it wonderful to be able to appreciate them independently of each other. Having only seen these two movies by Hossein, I am eager to see if his style translates to other genres outside of the Spaghetti/Zapata Western.

This is definitely top-10 material for me and if you like “Cemetery without Crosses” you certainly won’t be disappointed. This is a relatively unknown gem which really really deserves a good DVD release.

(Stanton) #10

Glad you could enjoy Taste of Violence, Novecento, despite not understanding everything.
But this is of course a very visual film. If I would consider it as a western, it would also make my top 20 easily.

Interestingly that Hossein has remained such an unknown director. I also haven’t seen any of his other works, and also never read anything about them. Strange.

It should be mentionend that the original french version runs probably 12 min longer. Yes, a DVD would be a dream.

(Novecento) #11

[quote=“Stanton, post:10, topic:1653”]Glad you could enjoy Taste of Violence, Novecento, despite not understanding everything.
But this is of course a very visual film. If I would consider it as a western, it would also make my top 20 easily.[/quote]

Well if “Cemetery” counts as a Spaghetti Western, and Zapata Westerns are a legitimate subgenre of Spaghetti Westerns then I don’t see why you don’t include it. It’s definitely going in my top-20 (well actually top-10) when I compile one.

I just looked him up on Wikipedia where it said the following: “Although Hossein had some modest international successes with films like Toi, le venin and Le vampire de Dusseldorf, he was much singled out for scorching criticism by the critics and followers of the New Wave for the unashamedly melodramatic frameworks of his films. The fact that he was essentially an auteur director with a consistent set of themes and an extraordinary mastery of original and unusual approaches to staging his stories, was never appreciated. He was not averse to trying his hand at widely different genres and was never defeated, making the strikingly different spaghetti western Une corde, un Colt and the low-budgeted but daringly subversive period drama J’ai tué Raspoutine. However, because of the lack of wider success and continuing adverse criticism, Hossein virtually ended his film directing career in 1970, having concentrated on theatre where his achievements were never questioned, and subsequently returning to film directing only twice. With two or three exceptions, his films remain commercially unavailable and very difficult to see.”

I would love to see that.

(Novecento) #12

Actually there’s a small debate going on at the SWWB regarding the difference between Eurowesterns and Spaghetti Westerns:;article=170080;title=Spaghetti%20Western%20Web%20Board

I guess “The Taste of Violence” may be considered Eurowestern beacuse it was made before the Spaghetti Western boom but in terms of being a non-Italian production, it is no less a Spaghetti than “Cemetery without Crosses” which was made during the Spaghetti boom years and even dedicated to Leone.

(Stanton) #13

I don’t think it’s a western at all. It has indeed some western elements, but I would call it at best a half western.

You can debate about several of the revolution westerns if they are really westerns, or if they are more likely war films or political films or whatever. Of course they are often also war films (like Giu la testa), or political films (Quien sabe? is probably more connected with Damiani’s polit thrillers, than with most of the other SWs), but they contain enough western elements to be called as such by me.

Taste of Violence is obviously a Hossein film, but the western elements are very vague. And the setting is not intended to be Mexico but a different Middle- or South American country. It’s interesting to watch it in the context of the later made revolution westerns, but I don’t include it.

Some people also view american films like Viva Villa (1933, co-directed by Howard Hawks) and Kazan’s Viva Zapata as westerns, I don’t.

Another difference is that Quien sabe? and it’s successors were made directly in the context of the SW boom, and therefore included more elements of western directing than other films which were dealing with revolution themes.
The western status of Quien sabe? and Tepepa can be questioned, but they were always considered as westerns by me. Taste of Violence is like O cangaceiro or Pontecorvo’s Queimada out of the canon. But like the similar discussion about Spaghetti- , Paella- , or Euro westerns it’s a matter of definitions which everybody has to make for himself.

On the other hand, due to their style and their directing, it was never questioned by me that Corbucci’s The Mercenary and Companeros and Leone’s Giu la testa are 100% westerns.

(Spaghetti Monkey) #14

I would agree that VIVA VILLA is not a western, also agree that QUIEN SABE?, TEPEPA, THE MERCENARY, COMPANEROS and GIU LA TESTA are westerns for me also.

(ENNIOO) #15

Simple story but not much western feel for me. The performances are good and do like some of the visual shots. In particular near the end. Glad we did not have a Hollywood type of ending. When the woman is no longer needed at the end and released, it’s one of those endings for me what was the point of things to a degree. But, that may be the point…


I’m still undecided on whether to go after this one or not. Just looks overly Zapatic for my likes…

(Novecento) #17

I’m still waiting to see a decent release of this. It’s a shame that Gaumont never released it.

(I love you M.E. Kay) #18

Very much so, I thought there would be more Francophone Hossein fans than that. But who knows, maybe in the future.

(El Topo) #19

I must start by saying that Le Goût de la Violence is wonderful gem of a little film. Those who know me would probably guess I would love this film, I know its a selfish feeling but it seems Hossein made the film for my personal taste.

Written by Hossein himself, got the pure simplicity of greatness, a love story a tragic drama, a political statemant, all that in a wonderful study on humam behavier and condition, with every character portraiting a specific role showing the most important feelings that in the end makes us what we are … humans, love, hate, greed, courage, sorrow and so on. For instance I liked the part that Perez sister represented, how she tried to conveced her brother to give up, and how she end up killed by the hands of her brother’s enemies, wich make her a enemy of them, no mercy for my enemies.
The story is set in some non specific place in Central America, I would risk to say somewhere in the South of Mexico or beyond, but that its not important. Still Hossein makes one reference to Zapata, near the end of the film in the scene we see the row of hanged man near the church, Perez says to one of the hanged man “Emiliano”, in what seems to be a specific reference to Emiliano Zapata. Its common knowledge that Zapata and Villa were both allies during the revolutionary war in Mexico, but while Villa (also with Indian blood) represented the small tierratenientes/landlords of Northern Mexico, and had more conventional demands, Zapata represented and fought for the native people of Southern Mexico (Chiapas) and their struggle for land against the rich landlords of the region, and of course for the self determination of the native people. He was indeed betrayed by someone that was infiltrated among his man, that 's how they caught him with the help of a traitor, and he was indeed hanged.
To know a bit more about the Mexican revolution, this could be a small, very small introduction to the matter,3036.msg114306.html#msg114306

This is a bold statement, but I would dare to say that the film was a major influence in Leone’s posterior work, in Perez I can see somehing of Bronson harmonica man character even in Coburn of Giu la testa, also like in Leone’s work, Kurosawa was also a big influence for Hossein direction style in this film, the same solenitude always present in the Japonese master work, is also visible here, so Cemetery whithout crosses didn’t happen just by chance. And there’s some overwhelming scenes, like the one they tell the mother that her son is dead, or how the townfolks stalk them to the corn field, and they had to set it on fire to escape, that just one scene tells more about the revolution and what really matters than so many intelectual works with their meaningless messages. I also don’t see any Nouvelle Vague elements in the film, something that you could expect for a 1961 French film, Clouzot yes, but still quite an unique direction style, maybe some counterpoint message about the political situation of France at the time, with the troubles before in Indochina and happening at the time in Algeria, but to be honest that doesn’t seem to be Hossein 's intention.
The technicall stuf is also great, the camera doesn’t move more than necessary, there’s some great framings , and the black and white is filmed in all his glory, the soundtrack made by Hossein senior is just beautiful. Every scene is made with a build up tension that is so rare to see these days, its all about feelings like Fuller once said
It got some fantastic landscapes, it was filmed in Montenegro so maybe forumate Djvaso can help about the locations, at least for the Cathedral scene.

For many years I though that Hossein was just the guy from those Angelique flicks or from the French Police thrillers, or that Adorf was only in some weird German flicks after watching the Tin Drum in some TV night session. Thank God for the Internet to show me the all picture. Both actors are perfect in their roles, no overacting no nothing, even the unknown actor who played Chico was good in his naifness, and Giovana Ralli was lovely as ever in Black and white, like someone you could fall in love to easy. Hossein must be the better actor I know portraing the same mood, in the end being good that way must be real something.

A small masterpiece, that to my shame I only had the chance to watch now, I have to pay more attention to all the films Hossein directed, this one is a winner by any accounts, it shows in the most beautiful and poetic way the true meaning of human condition, no philosophies, no hidden agendas no panflets, just pure human nature in less than 90m.
My favourite scene? Well maybe that one with both man and woman in the beach before receiving the news that will separate them, but the all film is great.
I agree with Stanton its not a SW, not even a Western, its of no importance, but for me SW is the general classification for all those films made after the first one directed by Michael Carreras, in Spain, Italy, Yugoslavia, Israel, Eurowesterns, it doesn’t matter, all are specifications/subsidiaries from the real name SW, even those DDR made films .
But I got a problem, this is just to good to not be in my Top 20, so I will go agaisnt my own non relevant opinion, and I will draw a new line for SW, starting from this one, it does have Adorf and Hossein, so by offical Topo’s decree Le Goût de la Violence it’s now a SW, for me at least, and it will go straight to my top 20.

Why this small wonder doesn’t have a propper release with so many shit beeing edited, is just something I can’t understand. I know we are living in a major crisis in this small part of the world, ruled by some non elected unknown authority that represents God knows what, but still I can assure at least 5 sales of a DVD from this one ( me Pereira and Emanuel, and another two friends I know would buy it), its a poor commercial objective I know, but its a start

5 stars

(scherpschutter) #20

Great writing, El Topo, deserves its place in the database