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

Since I hate watching movies on a laptop; I ripped the DVD, applied the subtitle file to it, then burnt the new subtitled version to a DVD-R :+1:

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Good idea - I haven’t done this before but will give it a go

Agreed, but I don’t really see this as a western but more of a “quasi-spaghetti” which is how I see MP&V. I’ve always put the latter at the end of my top 50 even though I actually prefer it to some others I rank between 40-50 like Texas Adios and Fort Yuma Gold etc. and I just did the same thing with A Taste of violence even though I definitely prefer it to the likes of Navajo Joe and A Pistol for Ringo (which I have ranked in the early 30s).

I wouldn’t rank it that high myself but I can definitely see why. I without doubt think Hossein’s one of the genre’s best directors after finally seeing both his films.

Great idea. I guess that’s what I’ll end up doing. :slight_smile:


Of films Hossein directed I have seen Cemetery Without Crosses, The Vampire of Dusseldorf and now this. I would argue that first 2 mentioned are very solid films, but this one stands above them. I would also argue that this movie influenced Leone. 2 scenes illustrate this theory best. The one in which Perez iz looking at the field of burned trees (although during the most of the scene we don’t know what’s he looking at) and Maria is looking at him with the camera zooming in and out of their faces and the Latin song getting more and more louder and dramatic (the most beautiful scene in the movie not short of them). And than the ending scene, static shot which shows 2 horses far away riding in oposite direction.

But never mind Leone, it is also amazing that this is proto “Zapata western” which in terms of script, directing, acting, memorable scenes, message and thought provoking stands shoulder to shoulder with the best of them, Quien sabe?, Duck, You Sucker, Tepepa, you name it. Only it was made quite some time before those movies.

I would also argue that the ending of this movie is much bleaker and more disturbing than the one in Il Grande Silenzio. Later feels somewhat artificial, like it serves its own purpose. The ending of Taste of Violence feels real, and therefore it really hits in the guts.

Criminally underrated movie, deserves Criterion release imo.

Ps: I had no idea where it was filmed prior of watching it, so it took me by surprise: “Hey, this is Stradun, this Dubrovnik!”


Under the write-up for Cemetery Without Crosses, it says that this film is Hossein’s “single endeavor into the genre”. Isn’t The Taste of Violence also widely accepted to be part of the genre?

where do you see this?
edit: ah in the top 20 list. fixing it now

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Not really, I don’t think that is a western, even if there are similarities to the political westerns within the SW.

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What separates it, in your opinion, from other political westerns within the genre? Because it doesn’t specifically say that it is Mexico? Just asking out of curiosity. And as far as it being widely accepted as part of the genre, it is listed in every compiled list of spaghetti westerns that I have ever seen.

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Mostly that, probably. The SWDb lists it because we have a gray area of “sw-adjacent” flicks…

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For me, I see the film in much the same way that @scherpschutter does in his review as he says that it is “a prototype of the so-called Zapata westerns”.

The Taste of Violence Review - The Spaghetti Western Database (

But, part of what makes this site entertaining is everyone’s differing viewpoints.

yeah in the end it comes down to a whatever specific definition of what constitutes a “western”. Academic literature isn’t entirely in agreement on this, and that’s part of the beauty, too. For a geographic definition, a movie would have to take place - albeit as a work of fiction - somewhere in the “wild west”, which would include Mexican territory today part of the United States, including maybe areas that are vaguely the border area(s). If Taste of Violence is unspecific as to the country it takes place in, that makes it hard to nail it down from that perspective.

The films set in the Mexican Revolution are only westerns for me if they are directed like a western, and this one here is not directed in a typical western style. It doesn’t feel like western, while the later films associated with the genre mostly do. Il mercenario is for me without any doubt a western, and Quien sabe? also, despite its director claiming that it is not one. But Quien sabe? is also on the border.

Another tricky example is Viva Cangaceiro. Being located in Brasil it does not look like a western, but it was clearly made in the context of the SW, and uses many of the typical tropes of the political westerns, so it makes sense to watch it as part of the political cycle of Spags. While the Hossein film is a kind of its own, and is imo quite different from the typical political Spag.

Bur amongst the prototypes of the Italian political westerns are also several US films, and while some of these are westerns (like Bandido, 1956), others are not, especially Viva Zapata (Elia Kazan, 1952) is not a western imo.

But then, some view it as SW, and I accepted it in the counting for the top 20, as I did accept a few more films which do not belong to the genre imo.
If I would view it as a western, it would have made my top 20 without a doubt.

Well, some do not even view Cemetery Without Crosses as a SW for being a French film, and some would say that Giu la testa is more a war film than a western.

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I re-watched Cut-Throats Nine over the holidays, and spent most of the runtime contemplating whether or not it’s a SW.


and why wouldn’t it be? just because it takes place in the snow? would you feel the same if it was shot in the deserts of almeria? :wink:

Nah, it’s one of those “Eurowesterns” :wink: a broad term we all love. Its production was rather on the Spanish side I believe.

The first time I watched this movie, I thought it was more of a horror movie and didn’t rate it too highly - I have softened on that opinion after a few watches.

For me all Spanish westerns from these years are as much Spags as the Italian ones.
Euro-Westerns are e.g. the German or the British ones. And while Cemetery Without Crosses is without any doubt a “real” SW, Guns of San Sebastian is not one, and actually Red Sun for me neither.

why, though?

Red Sun, or better Soleil Rouge, is mainly a French film by a British director, shot in English (I think) and with basically a French crew and an international cast. (Yes, I know the Italians gave some money too)
And the film’s style is typically 70s, of course, but not much like a SW imo. I never viewed it as a SW, it was always a typical Euro-Western for me.
Actually it looks more like an US western shot in Spain than a SW.

(Apart from that all it is for me a mediocre film anyway, which spoils most of its possibilities.)

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