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Robert Harris

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After a number of one-shot TV appearances in the late 1950s and early '60s - Highway Patrol, Death Valley Days, Maverick, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Mister Ed, Clint Eastwood found a spot on a series, Rawhide, and stayed with it for 217 episodes - six years (1959-1965), and finally made his mark.

Or so some might have expected.

But he very quickly went beyond that, before settling into a new genre, the "spaghetti western," of which he made three of the best - A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966).

All directed by Sergio Leone, and all shot in a wonderful new system, Techniscope, a proprietary process from Technicolor, where half the negative footage would be used - 35/2 vs 35/4, with some interesting (also genre defining) aspects, such as extreme close-ups that seem to jump off the screen with extreme clarity.

Via the Techniscope process, the 35/2 negative would be specially cut and conformed, as splices would be too large for the frame, and would disrupt the continuity. An extra frame (or two) was added at the head and tail of every shot, and since the negatives were printed optically via auto-select, the extras frames were left out of the resultant printing matrices, just as fades and dissolves would be added.

The system worked beautifully, with one exception.

As the decades passed, and dupes were needed for direct contact printing after the era of dye transfer ended, things never really came together.

Those who have tracked the three Man with No Name series via MGM or (later) Kino releases, will be aware of the constant problems with densities and color.

Kino has finally released as perfect a product as one will likely ever find in their latest incarnations of the films in 4k, finalizing the three film series. The Good... arrived last April, and is now available on Amazon for $13.62 (+ shipping).

That works out to a bit over eight cents per minute for one of the great films - in 4k.

And while the two new offerings come in at $28 per film, the value here cannot be overemphasized, as the quality is finally in place.

Color, densities, black levels, grain structure, stability - this is spaghetti western nirvana.

And comparing them to previous variants makes the case even more, as everything that viewers found troublesome in earlier incarnations has been dealt with beautifully.

If it sounds like I'm loving these latest additions, you're correct.

As to Mr. Eastwood, after appearing in these three films, he appeared in one more Italian production (The Witches) in 1967, and then left the continent for Hollywood, making films for Universal and Warners.

There are a few good ones.

For those unaware, try Play Misty for Me (in which he also tried his hand as director), Magnum Force, Unforgiven, In the Line of Fire and Sully (as director). He was involved in a few more, but I can't recall them offhand.

Image – 5 (SDR)

Audio – 5 (DTS-HD MA 5.1 & DTS-HD MA 2.0)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors - Beautifully

Makes use of and works well in 4k - 4.5

Very Highly Recommended

RAH
 
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DanH1972

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I honestly couldn’t care less at this point. TGTBATU looked stunning and if these measure up, wow! Count our blessings.
TGTBTU looks better than previous releases, but I cannot go so far as to call it "stunning." There's a fair amount of black crush in the forced grade. It's hard to work within the Rec 709 SDR space as the provided master is in.
 

Lord Dalek

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Lets not ignore one big fact here:

At the end of the day, you will not get anything resembling 4k from these UHDs or those of any film shot in Techniscope. That resolution never existed in the first place. At best its a low 2 point something-er-other when Leone has his signature close-ups.
 

Robert Harris

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Lets not ignore one big fact here:

At the end of the day, you will not get anything resembling 4k from these UHDs or those of any film shot in Techniscope. That resolution never existed in the first place. At best its a low 2 point something-er-other when Leone has his signature close-ups.
One may not get full 4k, but especially with spherical optics, 3+ is possible. Please remember that the scanned element is the original 35/2, and that’s fine.

We’re still talking Eastman 5251 from the ‘60s, but that emulsion carries a great deal of info.
 

sbjork

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One may not get full 4k, but especially with spherical optics, 3+ is possible. Please remember that the scanned element is the original 35/2, and that’s fine.

We’re still talking Eastman 5251 from the ‘60s, but that emulsion carries a great deal of info.
And assuming a quality encode, with no Paramount-style shenanigans, better grain management as well. I still think that's an underrated aspect of making the jump to 4K.
 

JoeDoakes

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Lets not ignore one big fact here:

At the end of the day, you will not get anything resembling 4k from these UHDs or those of any film shot in Techniscope. That resolution never existed in the first place. At best its a low 2 point something-er-other when Leone has his signature close-ups.
That’s a good point, but for me the most important thing is getting the most accurate reproduction possible. It sounds like that has happened so whether 1K, 2K, 4K, or 50,000,000K it’s not important.
 

SuperClark

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The Good,The Bad and The Ugly is my fav spaghetti western.Tuco calls Clint 'Blondie'.Except his hair is brown.I guess thats better than 'the man with no name'.This is a cool site lots of detail about the style of the semi good Blondie

 

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