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Sergio Sollima DVD Box review

From The Spaghetti Western Database

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This DVD is published in Germany by Koch Media. (Region 2) The DVD offers English subtitles.

Review auf Deutsch lesen

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The Films

  • The Big Gundown: Lee Van Cleef is Jonathan Corbett, a die-hard manhunter with ambitions for a seat in the US Senate. With the help of a local businesman played by Walter Barnes, he agrees to run for that seat, under the condition that he hunts down a man: Cuchillo, played by Tomas Milian, who supposedly raped and killed a girl. Corbett goes on the hunt through Texas, missing Cuchillo several times, catching and losing him several times. As he gets closer, the businesman enters the hunt, and Corbett gets suspicious. Cuchillo might be innocent. When the hunt comes to a close, the doubts materialize and Corbett makes out the real murderers....
  • Face to Face: Beauregard (Milian) is a great bandit, who is on the run from a Pinkerton Agent (William Berger). On the hunt he picks up a Professor (Volonte) as a hostage. But the professor quickly adapts to bandit lifestyle and the two join forces. But arriving at the bandits' mountain stronghold, where hundreds of outcasts and hillbillie anarchists hide out from the law, the professor moves up in the hierarchy and gains reputation for his smart plans. During a bank raid, Bo gets captured and the professor takes control of the bandits. While the villagers summon a posse to hunt the bandits down, Bo escapes, to stop the posse from massacring his mates. And in a final confrontation, the three powerful gunmen have to settle the score.
  • Run, Man, Run: Run Man Run is about the small-time vagabund Cuchillo (a wonderful Tomas Milian) who gets entangled in revolution matters when he helps a politician escape from a prison, who then gets shot and trusts Milian to a secret: the hiding place of a gold treasure, which should fuel the revolution. On his way to an American border town, where the gold is supposedly hidden, several people get on his trail: the american mercenary Nathaniel Cassidy with questionable motives, mexican renegade bandits surrounding the ruthless Riaz, two government agents and in the end, Cuchillo's lover. But there's also the beautiful salvation army sergeant. Too many people for 2 million dollars, and so, a deadly hunt begins, and in the end, only a few team up and get away with the gold...

Opinion

  • The Big Gundown: This is Sollima's first of three entries into the Spaghetti Western history. Oh boy and what kind of entry! The Big Gundown (originally called La Resa Dei Conti, which means something like The settlement of the Score or the Payment of the Check) is a western full of suspense, great acting and music all that wrapped around a plot of a great scale manhunt. Milian and Cleef, the two superstars of the genre, go face to face on this awesomely made film. Among the A-Grade Spaghettis, this film is truely a must-see. Now completly uncut, the masterpiece unfolds its true merit: Sollima delivered his masterpiece, and Morricone contributes another time his genius!
  • Face to Face: It might not be as powerful a film as The Big Gundown was, but Sollima proves that he can create a grand scale western with high production value, moral depth and visual cunning. Face to Face is a great western, that looks great, is played great, and tells a great story. Too bad that the music isn't what you might expect in terms of epicness and the ending will leave many a viewer disappointed. An A-list spaghetti nonetheless.
  • Run, Man, Run: Sollima rounds up his spaghetti western trilogy with this Milian vehicle. And oh boy what a vehicle it is. The film is so much carried by the magnificent Mr Milian, it could be called Run Tomas Run! But the film has more to offer than it's great cast. The story is many-facetted, the dialoge great, the scenery magnificent (even scenes in the snowy mountains!) and the music great as well. The music not by Bruno Nicolai, who was credited for contractual reasons, but by Ennio Morricone himself. This film is very entertaining and the cast makes this film so charming. The great Milian plays Cuchillio as if it was his alter ego. Donal O'Brian plays the brave mercenary and there's a nice supporting cast, complete with a beautiful blonde angel playing a salvation army sergeant :-)

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Artwork/Menus/Packaging

  • The box is presented in mostly white - and as you can see - subtle but fitting imagery of Sollima's films artworks. The box is of paper and contains a fold-out digipak which holds all four discs and booklets, as well as the hardcover version of Bruckner's excellent encyclopedia.
  • The menus are fittingly designed and animated and feature the great music from the films. I have seen drafts of upcoming menus for Koch DVDs and these here look slightly less delicious than those to come, though.

Audio and Video

  • German Dolby Digital 1.0 mono
  • Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 mono
  • Optional English or German subtitles

Audio

  • The Big Gundown: The DVD boasts the German dub which is interrupted a lot by scenes where no German track was available, and where the Italian version "jumps" in. While the Italian audio sounds kind of "fresher", both tracks don't sound that great. There are crackles and there's hissing and sometimes the sound looks too low. Actually I was a bit disappointed, but like the transfer, this might very well be as best as they could do. And honestly, it doesn't sound too bad.
  • Face to Face: The audio tracks sound fine. Better than The Big Gundown, although not perfect. They really did do a fantastic job of restoring this material and you can hear it. And this time, the sound is a lot more dynamic. On the other hand, the dubbing doesn't sound all that good, although you can hear they tried hard.
  • Run, Man, Run: The film sounds very good. While there are crackles and some scenes where the music sounds a bit worn out, there is great dynamic. The italian track sounds a lot more realistic than the german dub, but both are good to watch. All in all a mostly flawless restoration of the soundtrack.

Video

  • The Big Gundown: The material surely shows where it comes from. The booklet accompanying the box shows how this film has been cut thousands of times and yes, the film looks like it comes from sources of different quality. Sometimes it looks great, but then it changes to slightly less sharp and grainier material. While Koch Media surely did and outstanding job, I've certainly seen way better, but most likely they are not to blame because there might just not exist better material, and for that, it's great. The colors are pretty good and the dirt and damage is minimal.
  • Face to Face: The print is visibly in good shape, and aside from some grain and minimal speckles this film looks gorgeous, aside from some parts that look kinda washed out. Koch Media did a great job with this. Awesome transfer.
  • Run, Man, Run: the film looks great in colors and quality. There is noticeable grain and minimal speckles, but in general it looks stunning and there's great detail. A very good job by Koch Media.

Extras

  • Booklet: A very detailed look at all the different versions of the three films. From video and super8 ones to different TV and theatrical versions. This gives and insight into how hard it must be for a company like Koch to locate and sight all the material to create an uncut original version.
  • Trailers: On each DVD, there's the threatrical trailer of the film.
  • THE BOOK by Ulrich P. Bruckner is a great little Spaghetti Western encyclopedia (although not as flexible as this one) listing all films with important data, color poster and a little 2-sentence review. It's in German, but non-German speakers will have their fun with it as well, especially when you are confused with different titles and so on. This book is considered the "little brother" of Bruckner's other "big" book, which will be re-issued soon. It also holds an interview with Sergio Sollima
  • There are trailers for 5 other Spaghetti Westerns one of which isn't released yet.
  • The Sergio Sollima featurette is a 56 minute documentary called "Sergio Sollima - Face to Face". It is basically a lenghty speech by Mr Sollima going on and on about Spaghetti Western and his three films. He gives in-depth analysis and tells funny stories. It is very unfortunate that this intelligent man only did three of these films. The documentary also includes nice facts like Morricone doing the score for Run Man Run, not Nicolai and Milian actually singing the revolution song himself. Too bad the featurette has NO english subtitles (only german).
  • the rest of the extras are various trailers, a super 8 version of face to face, a french graphic novel of face to face, various location to screen comparisions and different picture galleries.

Verdict

Koch Media brings us the greatest piece in their portfolio. The Sergio Sollima box is an essential release for any Spaghetti Western fan. Three A-list films in great presentation. The Quality is great, the extras are awesome (although not english subtitled) and the packaging is luxurous. The book rounds up this great box. Koch Media has done an outstanding job with this, you whould definitely have this in your shelf


--Sebastian 18:17, 27 Sep 2005 (CEST)

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