I know all of five of you that come to my site are expecting only horror movie reviews, but every once and awhile I like to treat myself to something different. Thanks to Arrow Video, that little treat was the spaghetti western Day of Anger, starring Lee Van Cleef. Day of Anger is an Italian western that was released in 1967 and comes off like most of the movies out around that time. That certainly doesn’t make it a bad one, as it fact it’s actually good, much in thanks to the performances by Giuliano Gemma and Mr. Cleef. It does run a little long in the teeth, especially when you decide to watch the longer Italian version (more on that later,) but when the action does take center stage, it’s a lot of fun. Read on to see if Arrow Video’s Blu-ray release is worth your hard earned dollars…
DISCS: 3 (1 BD, 2 DVD)
RUN-TIME: 114/ 86 min
ASPECT RATIO: 2.35:1
AUDIO: LPCM 1.0
LANGUAGE: Italian / English
REGION: A / B
RATING: Not Rated
PRODUCTION DATE: 1967
When Sergio Leone turned Lee Van Cleef into a major star with For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the actor sensibly stayed in Italy to make several more spaghetti westerns, including this one from Leone’s former assistant Tonino Valerii that genre aficionados rank amongst the best ever made.
Giuliano Gemma plays street cleaner Scott Mary, relentlessly bullied by the people of the small town of Clifton. When legendarily ruthless master gunfighter Frank Talby (Van Cleef) rides into town, Scott seizes the opportunity to lift himself out of the gutter, and possibly even surpass Talby’s own skills. But what is Talby doing in Clifton in the first place?
This lively, intelligent western, notable for the chemistry between its charismatic leads, some memorable action set-pieces (including a rifle duel on horseback that has to be seen to be believed), and a jazzy Riz Ortolani score, is presented here in an exclusive high-definition restoration from the original Techniscope negative.
Day of Anger is a straight forward revenge tale. Scott Mary (Giuliano Gemma, Blood for a Silver Dollar, A Pistol for Ringo) is being constantly picked on by the town and in strolls Mr. Frank Talby (Lee Van Cleef, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Escape from New York) on horseback and teaches him the ways of the killing cowboy of old times. Of course, in much the same way a Sith Master’s apprentice will become more powerful than the teacher, so too will Scott Mary. (What? I can reference Star Wars in a western movie review. It is after all a western in of itself, just set in space.)
I really like the story in Day of Anger and Lee Van Cleef is a master when it comes to being a badass. His rules of being a cowboy are awesome and how he deals with any situation with a bullet to the chest just screams macho. Sadly, the actual movie runs a little too long and has a little too many stretches of nothing. There are times where not much is going on and you are just waiting for the next big shoot-out to occur. Thankfully, when they do happen, be it a big shoot out amongst rivals, or a crazy horseback / rifle duel, the movie excels. It’s just getting to those scenes that have you dozing off.
Arrow Video gives you a Blu-ray full of choices. Offering you not one, but three ways to see the movie. First up, you have the Italian version of the movie, titled I giorni dell’ira, which runs 1 hour and 53.51 minutes. The second version is the same as the first, but dubbed in English. The last choice is the International version titled Day of Anger. This is a more streamlined version of the movie, clocking in at 1 hour and 26.10 minutes. I didn’t watch this version, as I only saw the longer cut, but in all honestly, the shorter International version would probably be the way to go if you prefer a quicker flick. Besides that, you got three interviews, one with Director Tonino Valerii, running about 11 minutes; screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi, running roughly 14 minutes and finally Tonino Valerii’s biographer Roberto Curti, running a whopping 44 minutes. Rounding it all out is some trailers, a deleted scene and of course, a very nice booklet.
The video is looking fantastic in this release. It’s bright, clear and looks like it was shot yesterday. The audio on the other hand has some issues. Pops, hisses and moments of it just dropping plague the entire movie, but I feel like this isn’t an Arrow Video issue and more just the source material. The music for the movie however is phenomenal. Audio comes in two flavours, depending on which version you choose. English LPCM 1.0 and Italian LPCM 1.0.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
- Brand new restoration from the original 35mm Techniscope camera negative
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of both versions of the film: the original Italian theatrical release, and the shortened version that was screened internationally
- Original uncompressed mono audio, with English or Italian soundtracks on the longer cut and an English soundtrack on the shorter one
- Newly translated English subtitles for Italian audio and optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for English audio
- Brand new interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi
- Brand new interview with Tonino Valerii’s biographer Roberto Curti
- Previously unreleased 2008 interview with Tonino Valerii
- Deleted scene
- Theatrical trailers
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist
- Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Howard Hughes (author of Spaghetti Westerns), illustrated with original poster designs
I rather enjoyed Day of Anger, but I was bored a few times during the longer cut. I’m thinking with the trimming in the International version, that would be the way to go, as the action scenes are intense, with plenty of shoot-outs and deaths galore. The ending is pretty harsh, which goes to give the movie a raw, gritty feel. Arrow Video’s Blu-ray release is looking stellar, both in packaging and media. The video is crystal clear and the features are plenty informative. Add it all together with some choices of cuts to watch; well partner, you got yourself a mighty fine deal on your hands. *Sorry, that’s my best western slang I can muster up.*