Der Lange Tag der Rache DVD Review
DVD R2 of Long Days of Vengeance, released by X-Rated Kult, Germany 2006 (2 covers available)
- Italian edit, uncut, 118 minutes, Not-Anamorphic widescreen - 1,85:1
- Audio: German, Italian, English DD 2.0
- Spanish edit, cut, 90 minutes, Not-Anamorphic widescreen - 2,35:1
- Audio: German, Spanish, English DD 2.0
- US opening and end credits
- German opening credits
- Alternate scene
Loosely based on the 18th Century French novel Le Comte de Mont-Cristo, and co-written by Fernando Di Leo, this film, the only western by director Florestano Vancini, tells the story of Ted Barnett, a young man framed for a crime he did not commit. His escape from prison alarms several inhabitants of Kartown, a community close to the Mexican border, among them his former fiancée Dolly, whose false testimony sent him to prison. Dolly has married Douglas in the meantime, the town's sheriff, appointed by Cob, a corrupt landowner and arms smuggler. Barret goes to Kartown to find out who really killed his father, and why, and when he has gathered all the information, he decides to play it by the book and inform the local judge. But once again he accused of a crime, and this time he literally risks his neck as he is condemned to be hanged ... This film seems to divide fans of the genre : some find it overlong and tedious, others reckon it among Giuliano Gemma's best movies. For a comprehensive film review, see: Long Days of Vengeance Review
Note that the info on the cover is wrong: it states that the Spanish version is the uncut one, while the Italian version is said to be cut. A text that says the DVD is only for sale in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, appears when you choose any language track other than the German one and cannot be removed. The problem can be solved by removing the menu while making a copy with "shrink DVD". It's a bit drastic, but if it's your own DVD, it's not illegal.
For the Italian version, the same master was used as for the Italian Shendene release. On an Italian forum I read that this master was also used for the Italian VHS release of the previous decade, so it may well be the only uncut print available. Video: The aspect ratio is said to be 1,85:1, but in reality it's a bit less. That is, it's some 1,90:1 during the opening credits, but it turns to about 1,74:1 afterwards. The print is not in pristine state, but has been cleaned up a little; there's less print damage and grain than on the Italian DVD, but colours are not very vibrant enough to answer to the original intentions of director Vancini, who shot nearly the entire film in burning sunlight to give it a (literally) dazzling look. Overall the image is a bit soft, occasionally leading to some smudgy outlines during fast camera movements. Audio: The German audio track is incomplete and turns to Italian - with German subtitles - during scenes that were never dubbed in German. The English soundtrack falls silent during a few minutes, without English subs to meet with the problem, but people who chose this track (and didn't speak one of the other languages) have stated that they had no problems to understand what was happening on-screen.
The Spanish version presents the film in it's correct ratio of 2,35:1, and both sharpness and contrast are a lot better, but at some instances (especially near the end of the movie) the image seems a little out of focus, resulting in some colour bleeding and blur. Colours are very strong, respecting the dazzling colour scheme the director originally had in mind, so even if you prefer to watch the uncut version, I advice you to have a quick look at this shorter one. There's a Spanish (instead of an Italian) language track and it's a very acceptable one, but Gemma has been given a bit of a snarly voice. The English audio occasionally changes briefly to Spanish, with no subs available.
This is the best available release of this movie, and it's unlikely that we'll have a better one in the near future. It's a DVD every fan of the genre should have in his collection.