A personality switch between a bandit leader and a dying university professor might have made an interesting variation on more familiar Italian Western themes, but here the script is so tediously predictable that interest fades well before the half way mark, despite competent performances from Gian Maria Volonte and Tomas Milian. Though the collapse of the professor’s high-mindedness is plausible enough, the corresponding improvement in the character of the gunman is much less convincing. Some very obvious cuts (from imminent rape to a train robbery, for instance) may be partly to blame, but the treatment is in any case a little short on imagination.
Review from Monthly Film Bulletin, June 1969.
Comment: Most of the time the Monthly Film Bulletin reviews are pretty spot on, but in this case I fear the reviewer is wide of the mark. Face to Face is a great film, let alone a great spaghetti western; I know it’s divisive and a lot of people find it less impressive than me, but I think this is the pick of Sollima’s films, right up there with the Leone westerns. Maybe the cuts had something to do with it?