Fistful of Dollars, was the earliest of the Clint Eastwood / Sergio Leone Italian western imports.
There were thousands that followed, mostly with unidentified talent, and sold packaged with the better films, if you wanted those for distribution.
It was photographed in Techniscope, 35/2.
For those unaware, the process, designed by Technicolor, specifically for dye transfer 35/4 anamorphic prints, allowed a production to shoot in scope format, using 50% of the raw footage, and end up with 35/4 anamorphic dye transfer prints for distribution. Generally, the process worked well, with the exception of a more grainy appearance.
The antithesis of Technicolor’s majestic Technirama process, it was used for low budget productions, first appearing in films such as Gladiators 7, an Italian production released in October of 1962, and arriving in the U.S. in May of 1964.
Also, in 1964 it was used (strangely) for Paramount’s Roustabout, as well as Fistful of Dollars, released in Italy in September of 1964, and in the U.S. in January of 1967.
It would become the standard of many beloved “spaghetti” westerns.
Fistful was produced on a tiny budget, which can be seen in obvious problems with Kino Lorber’s new Blu-ray.
Constantly shifting colors, and lack of overall color continuity, may be processing problems – they tend toward yellow, mixed with cyan-blue – along with what appears to be light struck shots, possibly some sort of camera or later optical problem, as the bottom of certain shots flares to yellow-orange.
Those fans of the genre will want to add this film to their libraries, but be forewarned that quality is all over the map, presumably based upon MGM’s transfer, as delivered to Kino.
Image – 2
Audio – 4
Pass / Fail – Fail
Upgrade from DVD – Doubtful, unless there is a need