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Day Of Anger (Blu-ray)

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    Ian Jane
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  • Day Of Anger (Blu-ray)



    Released by: TC Entertainment
    Released on: December 5, 2012.
    Director: Tonino Valerii
    Cast: Lee Van Cleef, Giuliano Gemma, Walter Rilla, Christa Linder, Yvonne Sanson
    Year: 1967

    The Movie:

    I've always liked Lee Van Cleef better than Clint Eastwood. He's probably best known for his secondary roles in the 'For A Few Dollars More' and 'The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly' and he's undeniably great in those films, but personally, I've always thought his shining moments were Sergio Sollima's 'The Big Gundown' and Tonino Valerii's 'Day Of Anger.' So let's talk about 'Day Of Anger' because it's just been released on Blu-ray by TC Entertainment in Japan.

    The film introduces us to Scott Mary (played by Giuliano Gemma of Tenebre and numerous other Spaghetti Westerns), a down on his luck street cleaner working in Clifton, a small Arizona town. Life is tough for him and he's picked on sometimes. When a tough guy named Frank Talby (Van Cleef) rides into town, he and Scott strike up a friendship of sorts and Talby ends up shooting one of the bullies who'd been harassing Scott. Talby decides to move on, as he's hot on the trail of Wild Jack, a former 'business partner' who owes him a cool $50,000. Unbeknownst to Talby, Scott decides to follow him, as there's really nothing left for him in Clifton. Scott has a plan though, an ulterior motive - he thinks he can get the fast talking and faster shooting Talby to teach him what it takes to be a gunfighter.

    When the pair catches up with Wild Jack, he tells them that he was double crossed by some of the fine, upstanding citizens of Clifton, and that they've got his money, not him. But before Talby can be on his way, things get ugly and he and Scott, who proves his metal with a six-shooter, have to fight their way out. With a new respect for Scott's quick draw, Talby and his new apprentice head back to Clifton to get his money back, but Talby soon gets out of hand, and Scott, who's now been taught by the best, has to step up to the plate and take him down before things get even worse.

    Culminating in a classic showdown between teacher and student, 'Day of Anger' is a well written, and wonderfully directed Spaghetti Western classic. Lee Van Cleef has never been better as the sympathetic yet simultaneously cold hearted Talby, using those expressive eyes of his to communicate and bringing a serious sense of tension and menace to the part that a lesser actor could not have offered. Likewise, Gemma turns in what is probably his best performance as the likable and naive Scott. It's interesting to watch his character go from naí¯ve but well meaning to calculating and dangerous - but when he learns from the best, we know his transformation is inevitable.

    As a kind of Sergio Leone protégé, having acted as assistant director on 'For A Few Dollars More' two years prior, Tonino Valerii shows a demonstrated flair for extremely fluid camerawork (credit to director of photography Enzo Serafin where it's due, the movie looks great) without following in the footsteps of his mentor too closely. The seemingly required facial close ups are there, but aren't used to quite the same extent as Leone's films, and the emphasis of the film is more focused on the action and gunplay. That's not to say it's short on mood or atmosphere, just that it is maybe a little less dramatic than the Leone pictures that preceded it.

    Sorely underused throughout his career, and usually confined to type cast roles, Lee Van Cleef brings a believable dimension to his character, proving that he was more than just a great screen villain, but that he could play the leading man and anti-hero as well as Eastwood, Nero or Hilton. Rounding out the film is the catchy-as-all-Hell soundtrack from Riz Ortolani (Cannibal Holocaust, House on the Edge of the Park), some very authentic feeling sets (don't be surprised if you want to go wash the dust and grime off your face when you're done watching!), and a great European supporting cast consisting of Walter Rilla (from the Dr. Mabuse films), Christa Linder (Dracula In The Provinces), Peiro Lulli (My Name Is Nobody) and Andrea Bosic (Danger! Diabolik and Manhattan Baby).

    This one doesn't get the sort of respect outside of Spaghetti Western circles that some better known films do, but it's absolutely worth all the accolades that those in the know have showered it with over the years and it absolutely ranks up there with the best of the Italian westerns of the era.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Previously released on DVD by Wild East in a non-anamorphic but otherwise decent quality transfer, TC Entertainment brings Day Of Anger to Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080i high definition transfer framed properly at 2.35.1 widescreen. Their Blu-ray release of The Great Silence looked pretty dire, but this transfer, while not without its problems, is much better. Once again the interlacing is much more obvious in the screen caps than it is when the disc is in motion. Compared to the DVD, colors look better and the picture shows nicer contrast. There is still an issue where skin looks a bit waxy but look at the fifth screen cap - at least you can see that Lee has pores on his skin. Texture isn't reference quality but color reproduction looks decent, if not mind blowing. This isn't an amazing transfer by any stretch and it would be a lie to say that there wasn't a fair bit of room left for improvement but it's perfectly watchable is occasionally a little soft and a little noisy. Just don't expect a massive improvement over past DVD releases, because it's not a massive improvement, just a minor one.

    Audio options are provided in Italian (which is the track the disc defaults to), English and Japanese in DTS-HD Mono with optional subtitles provided in Japanese only - which means you're basically stuck with the English track here unless you speak Japanese or Italian. The audio doesn't sound vastly improved over the DVD release but it's fine for what it is. Levels are properly balanced and whatever hiss or distortion does creep into the mix is pretty easy to get past. Riz Ortoloni's score sounds good. All in all, there are no problems here.

    Ok, as far as the extras go, the main supplement is the inclusion of the 1:22:28 version (the US cut of the movie), but it's presented in non-anamorphic standard definition and not in the best of shape. It's nice to have it here, but the uncut version is the better film and likely the one most will go back to when they decide to rewatch the film. An interesting addition to the disc, but not something you'll probably want to watch more than once.

    Aside from that, we get an interview with Gemma in Italian with Japanese subtitles entitled Gemma On Gemma (this originally appeared on the Wild East DVD with English subtitles) and then a second featurettes with Gemma that clocks in at 8:57, also in Italian with Japanese subtitles. Two US trailers are provided as is an Italian trailer, and there's a US TV spot included here too. The Almeria Then And Now location comparison featurettes that was included on the Wild East DVD finds its way to this disc as do the alternate English language opening credits. Also included here is a still gallery, menus and chapter stops. Everything, as far as the extras go, is presented in standard definition. Once again, inside the admittedly very nice packaging for this release is an insert booklet containing some art and text relating to the film, but not surprisingly it too is all in Japanese.

    The Final Word:

    While Day Of Anger is one of the finest Spaghetti Westerns ever made to feature Lee Van Cleef in a starring role and one of the high points of his interesting filmography, this Blu-ray release really isn't anything to write home about. Yes, it's a modest upgrade over past DVD releases but the movie deserves better than a modest upgrade, because those DVD releases weren't amazing in the first place. While there's an alright selection of standard definition extras on the disc, the upgrade in picture quality is probably what most will be interested in and the disc doesn't score high marks there.

    Now… with that said, the Wild East DVD is long out of print and generally commanding pretty serious prices amongst collectors. You can get this Blu-ray for quite a bit less than a used copy of that disc and the disc is Region A and therefore compatible with North American Blu-ray players. For those without a past DVD release of the movie, this might make a bit more sense. Yes, it's expensive, but it's less money and less effort than tracking down an out of print non-anamorphic disc pressed about a decade ago.

    Special thanks to Horace Cordier for use of the Blu-ray disc for purposes of this review.


    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!










































    • Andrew Monroe
      #1
      Andrew Monroe
      Pallid Hands
      Andrew Monroe commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for doing these reviews as it's great to have a reliable source for information on them. And special thanks to Horace for taking a chance on these. This one sounds like a viable alternative if you don't have the WE disc. I still wonder what the others are like, if ONE SILVER DOLLAR was like this and not SILENCE I might be tempted...

    • Mark Tolch
      #2
      Mark Tolch
      Senior Member
      Mark Tolch commented
      Editing a comment
      This one looks way better than GREAT SILENCE, but what's up with these interlaced transfers? What year is it?
    Posting comments is disabled.

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