The Last Gun & 4 Dollars Of Revenge (Blu Ray) 1964 Aug 11, 2011 18:07:19 GMT -5
Post by Erik Rupp on Aug 11, 2011 18:07:19 GMT -5
This is a pretty interesting Double Feature Blu Ray.
Two obscure movies from the mid 1960's packaged together on blu ray. Two Spaghetti Westerns that came very early in the cycle. Neither movie is great, in fact, one of them is mediocre, but both are entertaining.
The first movie, The Last Gun, features American actor Cameron Mitchell (well, his face and mannerisms, but not his voice). It was released just six weeks after Sergio Leone's breakthrough Spaghetti Western, A Fistful of Dollars. It was a few weeks and a few dollars short.
To be fair, there isn't anything horribly bad about the movie outside some of the dubbing. The basic plot is fair, and the script itself isn't bad (it isn't particularly good, but it isn't bad). The actors do a decent job, but no one is particularly good. The direction does lean towards the European side of the Atlantic, but still has plenty of elements that were firmly rooted in Hollywood circa 1959.
The movie moves along at a deliberate pace, never really getting all that exciting, but never completely bogging down, either.
Now, one performance should be noted - that of Livio Lorenzen as the villain, Jess. He is perfect in his role. His is an amoral bad guy who is just out to get what he wants and if someone stands in his way? Well, that person isn't left standing. He has a gleeful charm to go along with the menacing persona that he portrays very, very well. The fact that he was well into middle age and bald gave him a unique look, too. This was one inspired bit of casting.
So, while not living up to the upper echelon of Spaghetti Westerns, The Last Gun still has plenty of entertainment value in it's one hour and thirty-six minutes.
The print used for this blu ray is pretty well worn. Some shots look really good - great color and contrast and plenty of detail. Other shots? Faded, too bright, grainy, sometimes just a little fuzzy. The shootout at the end is hard to watch as it's daytime and then it looks like night time, and then it's daytime, and so on. Still for such a cheap blu ray from a company known primarily for cheap public domain titles this isn't a bad effort. It clearly looks a lot better than it would on DVD.
The better movie in the set is 4 Dollars Of Revenge.
Co-written by Django co-writer Bruno Corbucci (and brother of it's director and other co-writer), 4 Dollars Of Revenge is a tightly written, fairly well directed early Spaghetti Western.
Starring Robert Woods as Captain Roy Dexter, a man framed for a crime he did not commit, 4 Dollars Of Revenge has a satisfactory cast playing out a fairly well written story with some slightly more than passable dialogue. That doesn't exactly sound like a ringing endorsement, but in actuality the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts. This really is a good movie. Not a great one, but a good one.
Dexter is framed for setting up a robbery of a military gold shipment (and also the murder of the men under his command). Given life in prison rather than the death penalty due to his decorated military service, Dexter cleverly escapes after surviving an attempt on his life. Revenge then becomes his goal. He single mindedly pursues his quest to find out who framed him in order to clear his name.
It's a pretty simple, pretty basic plot, but it's also pretty well executed so that doesn't hurt the movie.
The direction may not be up to Leone or Sergio Corbucci standards, but there are still some nice shots to be seen and the movie is paced very well.
Like The Last Gun this print fluctuates in quality. This one may be a little more consistent, but like the other there is more than a little print damage (scratches, dust, etc). The contrast and color also fluctuate, but not as much as with The Last Gun. This is a slightly better print overall, and Mill Creek did a decent job mastering the blu ray.
Overall, this is a double feature well worth buying if you are a Spaghetti Western fan. If you're not? Well, it still might be worth buying just to see a couple early Spaghetti Westerns if you like Westerns overall.
The price is certainly right.