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Requiescant

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    Mark Tolch
    Senior Member

  • Requiescant



    Released By: Arrow Video
    Released On: November 17, 2015
    Director: Carlo Lizzani
    Cast: Lou Castel, Mark Damon, Franco Citti, Pier Paolo Pasolini
    Year: 1967
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    It started off as a beautiful day outside of San Antone, as a group of displaced Mexicans and representatives from the US Army met to sort out a dispute over land. With the decision swaying in their favour, the Mexicans kicked off the celebrations and started up the band; a band quickly drowned out by the rapid-fire sound of the army's machine guns as they and their fellow party-goers were massacred. With the gunsmoke cleared and the dust settled, the grassy pueblo revealed hundreds of dead and dying, betrayed by the government.

    Fortune smiled on one small boy, however, who managed to wander out of the fray with a superficial head wound and through the brush into the lives of a surprised family. With a new mother, father, and new sister named Princy, the boy was raised in the ways of the Lord, the massacre of his biological family soon forgotten. So taken was the (now) young man with his new family life, in fact, that he was compelled to follow Princy when she suddenly vanished, following a troupe of old west chorus girls across the country. Initially armed only with a copy of the New and Old Testament, the young man becomes armed with a six-shooter when he inadvertently thwarts a robbery by the infamous Brad Brothers. When witnesses partially overhear his eulogy to the dead men, "Requiescant In Pace" the legend of Requiescant is born, a deadly master of the quick-draw who is just as fast with a bible verse.

    Finding Princy in a saloon down in San Antonio causes a brief moment of joy from Requiescant, but that is quickly shattered by the realization that the girl is now a prostitute, won in a card game and pimped out by a blond, nasty piece of work named Dean Light. While shooting Dean in the face and riding off into the sunset with his scantily-clad sister (hey, she's not really his sister) seems like an option, Requiescant also has to contend with Light's mentor, George Bellow Ferguson; a very wealthy man with friends in high places, ownership of everything in town, and some interesting ideas about slavery. After besting Ferguson in a shooting match and casting some bad light on Dean Light, it seems that Requiescant may be free to leave with his sister, but he instead finds himself battling Ferguson's hired guns and hanging judges who will see him dead one way or another. Rest in Peace? Not likely, when adding to the chaos is the appearance of a mute old man that stirs the ghost of his family's execution, and a band of Mexican freedom fighters who seem determinted to make Requiescant the hero of their revolution.

    While it's been compared here and there to Leone's westerns, Requiescant doesn't quite rise to the sweepingly grand levels of the Man With No Name films or Once Upon a Time in the West. It does, however, still stand up as a damn fine genre film, with the majority of the praise belonging to Lou Castel in the title role. Growing from innocent and naive to coldly effective in the short running time is no easy task, but Castel takes us there with each hardship that Requiescant overcomes. The rest of the cast doesn't slouch either, with Mark Damon, Barbara Frey, Ferruccio Verotti, and even Pier Paolo Pasolini turning in great performances.

    Renowned Director Carlo Lizzani takes wonderful advantage of the scenery with some powerfully intense framing and keeps things tight, moving Requiescant along at a good pace with few dead spots, and Riz Ortolani shows us how awesome one guitar can be in a score when used effectively. Indeed, Requiescant is a prime example of the sum of the parts working together, and kicking out a mighty fine film.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Arrow Video presents Requiescant on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition 1.85:1 widescreen transfer that looks fantastic. The almost half-century old film contains a striking amount of detail and crispness with deep black and dynamic colour palette, restored beautifully. While it's (in my opinion) no DAY OF ANGER as far as jaw-droppingly clean, and some scenes are noticeably softer and dirtier than others, this is a wonderful looking transfer that is sure to please.

    There are two audio tracks available, both LPCM mono (Italian and English 48k/24b) and all I can say is WOW. This single channel is one of the most dynamic tracks I've heard, with dialogue perfectly balanced with score and sound effects, and every instance of sound coming through the speakers breathes in a way one would only think possible in a multi-channel environment. If there were any flaws, I certainly didn't notice them, and there are a few cluttered 5.1 tracks on other discs that could take a lesson in mixing from Requiescant. Both tracks are perfectly fine for the film (I predominantly used the Italian track) with a bit of a boost in the vocals appearing on the English track.

    For the purposes of this review disc, I did notice that the subtitles started lagging around the halfway point, becoming more obvious toward the end of the film. Arrow Video has pushed back the release, confirmed to me that this issue did appear on the first pressings (review discs included), but has now been fixed for the November release.

    Two extra features that will certainly be of interest to fans come in the form of interviews. The first is with Lou Castel (13:38 subtitled) in which he discusses acting, politics, working on Requiescant and other films, and a number of other subjects.

    The second interview is with Director Carlo Lizzani (27:43, subtitled) in which he talks about his participation in the Neo-Realism movement, working with Dino DeLaurentis, his success, and the politics and censorship he endured during his career. For the uneducated, this is a very informative and entertaining interview.

    A Trailer for the film is also included.

    The Final Word:

    Another fine western gets another stellar release from Arrow Video. Highly recommended.


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





















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