The Spaghetti Western

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Reggie W, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. Tony J Case

    Tony J Case Cinematographer

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    Oh, and Yul Brynner. How the hell could I forget that Yul did a couple, including a really awesome Sabata flick. Oh, and John Saxon - but that guy was in EVERY sort of exploitation flick!
     
  2. Vic Pardo

    Vic Pardo Screenwriter

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    In addition to those, off the top of my head: Rod Cameron, Gilbert Roland, Van Heflin, Van Johnson, John Ireland, Henry Silva, Alex Cord, Robert Ryan, Jason Robards, Victor Buono, Kevin McCarthy, Woody Strode, Brock Peters, Farley Granger, Burt Reynolds, Vonetta McGee, Wayde Preston, John Philip Law, Tony Musante, Mark Damon, etc., etc. etc.

    My point was that there are too many to remember off the top of one's head and quite a few second- and third-tier names that I had no idea were in Italian westerns, like the three I mentioned in my first post on this (John Ericson, Luke Askew, Craig Hill). And I imagine there are lots more like that who turned up in one or two films that never got released in the U.S., as well as people like Richard Harrison who only gained fame in films like these.
     
  3. WadeM

    WadeM Supporting Actor

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    Yes! Heard about this double feature with And God Said to Cain a few months ago when I e-mailed the owner asking about some other releases, so I'm glad to finally see the release date! Definite purchase.

    I've heard a lot about the Sartana films, but I haven't seen them either. I might buy them based on their reputation.
     
  4. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Shout! Factory and Timeless Media group announced these budget compilations for release July 9:

    spags1_.jpg
    http://www.amazon.com/Movies-4-You-Spaghetti-Westerns/dp/B00C81AW66/ref=pd_bxgy_mov_text_y

    spags2.jpg
    http://www.amazon.com/Movies-You-MORE-Spaghetti-Westerns/dp/B00C81AWHA/ref=pd_sim_mov_33

    Some good films in each set. Each set contains titles previously released by Timeless Media in THE BEST OF SPAGHETTI WESTERNS: In The Tradition of The Good the Bad and the Ugly, a huge box-set no longer sold by amazonUSA. It is still sold by amazonCanada and on ebay in the $28 range. I wonder if Shout!Factory's association means an upgrade in quality?
     
  5. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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  6. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Incidentally, HANGING FOR DJANGO is not actually a sequel to DJANGO (1966). Better known as NO ROOM TO DIE, it did not become a Django tie-in until it was dubbed into English. It's included in the aforementioned BEST OF THE SPAGHETTI WESTERNS set.
     
  7. Tony J Case

    Tony J Case Cinematographer

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    Ooooh, awesome! Shout does some nice work - I cant wait to get more detals here. Even just trailers would be cool.
     
  8. WadeM

    WadeM Supporting Actor

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    That Ringo set looks essential. I hope it's in good quality.
     
  9. Vic Pardo

    Vic Pardo Screenwriter

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    Are these public domain sets? The prices are unbelievably cheap ($5.99 for sets of four films each).

    Yet the Raro Video release cited in the next post, HANGING FOR DJANGO, is $19.99 for just one film.

    I don't mind buying cheap box sets for films I'm not familiar with. It's a way to get familiar with them without having to spend a lot of money.
    But if, on the other hand, it turns out to be a good film, then I'll pay more for a high-quality, legit edition.
    But if it's a high-quality legit edition and the film turns out to be mediocre, I'll feel ripped off, so I'm hesitant to shell out full prince in situations where I know little to nothing about the film.

    To give an example of a film I'd pay full price for, I would cite Sergio Corbucci's THE MERCENARY, starring Franco Nero and Jack Palance. I still have yet to see a decent legit edition of it for sale. I'm sure I have it on a p.d. VHS somewhere, but it's exactly the kind of film I'd pay full price for, should a high-quality edition ever emerge.
     
  10. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Your wish has been granted:

    mercenary-godsgun.jpg

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AMQGF60/ref=oh_details_o01_s01_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Each film is a widescreen, anamorphic, uncut, English dub on its own disc. The transfers are fine, and obviously licensed from the best, authorized source; nothing to complain about. Nice color and definition throughout. The films have never looked better in region 1. Fans of The Mercenary will be glad to finally see the film in NTSC. I only gave God's Gun a quick glimpse to check the quality.

    As I explained above, I have no way of knowing what Shout!Factory has in store for us with those sets.
     
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  11. Reggie W

    Reggie W Cinematographer

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    I have this set with The Mercenary and God's Gun. Picked it up for The Mercenary and I can back Richard up here and say it is well worth getting and this is the best these films have looked in Region 1.
     
  12. Vic Pardo

    Vic Pardo Screenwriter

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    Thanks, fellas. I'm adding that set to my next Amazon order.

    I first saw THE MERCENARY on a double bill with HALLS OF ANGER back in 1970. (HALLS was a high school racial integration drama that starred a predominantly black cast led by Calvin Lockhart, but the only ones who became stars out of it were Jeff Bridges and Rob Reiner.)

    I saw THE MERCENARY again three years later on a double bill with THE CHINESE CONNECTION, the first Bruce Lee movie I saw and the only one I saw while he was still alive.
     
  13. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    THE MERCENARY (1972) is one of the most highly regarded spaghetti westerns among spaghetti western aficionados, and I can see why. It is a model of craftsmanship, extremely well directed and photographed, performed with style and grace by Franco Nero, Jack Palance and yes Tony Musante. It has a fully developed and well-structured story, whereas most spags are only vague ideas for stories strung together by skits involving acrobatics and sadism in varying degrees of nihilism. My criticism of THE MERCENARY, going by last night's viewing, is that it's repetitious. There is perhaps 75-80 minutes of story here at the most, with another 30 minutes of padding. At least it looks good. It is less about the Mexican Revolution than the rise of fascism in Europe. The story is always the same: the unwashed peasant teaches the bourgeoisie what for with the aid of the bounty hunter who only believes in money, not the cause. Which is how Italians always interpret the Mexican Revolution in the "Zapata western" sub-genre -- see A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL (1966), TEPEPA (1969), COMPANEROS (1970) and DUCK, YOU SUCKER! (1972). The spaghetti western was a low-budget genre usually confined to one of the western-street backlots and surrounding landscape, but the Italians spent a lot more money on the "Zapata" films. Enough to make one wish they had read up on the subject or at least studied the many fine historical films the Mexicans themselves made about their Revolution. Because the subtext of the Mexican films is a very different thing from the Italian / Spanish films. If only Mexican films about the Mexican Revolution could get restored and released like spaghetti westerns do.

    Anyhow, I recommend TGG Direct's new DVD of THE MERCENARY.
     
  14. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    If you like Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns, you'll love the German blu-rays of Sergio Sollima's THE BIG GUNDOWN (1966) and Guilo Petroni's TEPEPA (1969). Both transfers are razor sharp and infinitely detailed. Widescreen, anamorphic, uncut, English friendly and playable on American players. They are also superior films on an epic scale. .

    Sam Peckinpah must have been influenced by THE BIG GUNDOWN when he undertook PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID (1973). In many ways PAT GARRETT is a scene-by-scene reworking in which James Coburn borrows something of Lee Van Cleef's inimitable style. The story about a politically ambitious bounty hunter who accepts a Sheriff's star to arrest an outlaw who constantly outwits him is written in the American style of westerns but directed like an Italian opera. It's a perfect cinematic marriage of two cultures. I consider THE BIG GUNDOWN every bit the equal of Leone's ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968); in other words, a brilliant western, spaghetti or otherwise.

    Thomas Milian stars in both films as a Mexican peasant on the run. I agree with the widely held consensus that Milian is a brilliant actor at the peak of his form in these films, but he is also wildly eccentric and prone to making faces. He puts more energy into a single minute than most stars put into an entire film. In contrast, Orson Welles undercuts Milian in their scenes together by understating his Mexican generale in TEPEPA. Welles brings a calm, dignified, bemused intelligence to the proceedings. His performance is so effortless you'd think he wasn't acting; but he is. I enjoy his performance so much I wish it were longer.


    [​IMG]
    THE BIG GUNDOWN (Der Gehetzte der Sierra Madre)
    Limited Edition Mediabook contains:
    Glossy color 24-page booklet with essay written in German reproducing posters and stills.

    Disc 1 BLU-RAY:
    all-region fully functional in American players.
    4K transfer of uncut 110-minute version.
    Italian, old and new German dubs, English dub with English subtitles for fragments with no English audio.
    English Subtitles
    2.35:1 (16:9)

    Disc 2 DVD:
    region 2 PAL
    106-minute USA theatrical release in PAL region 2.
    English with subtitle options.
    2.35:1 (16:9)

    Disc 3 DVD:
    region 2 PAL
    featurette on film music of Ennio Morricone
    documentary about the film with interviews (Sergio Sollima, etc.)
    Several trailers and opening credits to the film
    Lee Van Cleef spaghetti western trailers
    Buy It Now: http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B009229EQI?ie=UTF8&&tag=italowestern-21


    [​IMG]

    all-region Blu-Ray fully functional in American players.
    4K transfer.
    Video: 2.35:1 (16:9)
    Audio: German, Italian, English
    Subtitles: German
    completely uncut with restored Italian scenes defaulting to English subtitles.

    Extras:
    German & Italian Trailer
    Introduction by director Giulio Petroni.
    Deleted scene
    Alternate opening scene.
    Commentary with Giulio Petroni
    Picture Gallery
    Interview/Featurette "Friends and revolution" with Giulio Petroni and star Tomas Milian.
    NOT ALL EXTRAS ARE ENGLISH FRIENDLY

    Buy It Now: http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B009YQTDBI/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&seller=
     
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  15. WadeM

    WadeM Supporting Actor

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    I ordered Tepepa. Thanks
     
  16. WadeM

    WadeM Supporting Actor

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    I'm gonna wait for Grindhouse Releasing's blu-ray of The Big Gundown.
     
  17. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    My guess is that they will be the same quality as the Timeless box since Shout merged with Timeless awhile back. Also, four films on one single sided DVD means lots of compression artifacts, but it should still be watchable. That Timeless box set was actually pretty good given that many of the titles were anamorphic widescreen. I had no idea it was OOP.
     
  18. Wade Sowers

    Wade Sowers Second Unit

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    Another rave for the German Blu of TEPEPA - a very nice looking disc. I have also been watching the German Blus of westerns written by Karl May, a 19th Century German who wrote many, many westerns that were/are? very popular over there.

    http://www.amazon.de/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_8?__mk_de_DE=%C5M%C5Z%D5%D1&url=search-alias%3Ddvd&field-keywords=karl+may&sprefix=karl+may%2Cnull%2C462

    I have the first and second sets of his films, the three I have watched have obviously been restored, have an English DTS-5.1 track as well as German, and most also have English subs if you want to watch the Native Americans speak German. These are not hard, edgy films like those from Italy, more like American Saturday afternoon movies, but I have had a good time those I have watched and look forward to the others.
     
  19. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    I agree with Wade about the KARL MAY movie adaptations from Germany. They are very entertaining and nice DVDs. I only wish the rest of the series had English subs.

    As for the GRINDHOUSE Blu of THE BIG GUNDOWN, I doubt it will rival the German 3 disc set, but I guess we will have to wait and see. I just hope the German one doesn't go OOP during the interim.
     
  20. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Has Grindhouse Releasing announced a release date for their blu-ray of THE BIG GUNDOWN ? I'm glad they are back in business, but I doubt if their blu-ray will be competitive. I wouldn't wait too long to get the German edition. It gets rave reviews everywhere and the film's reputation is on the upswing. It's also a limited edition.
     

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