DAY OF ANGER – ARROW RELEASE

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The Devil has the eyes of an angel, and his name is Frank Talby (Lee van Cleef).

Arriving on Blu-Ray for the first time ever from Arrow Video on Mar 31st, comes ‘Day of Anger’ in a 3-Disc dual format set:

Bonus Materials

  • Brand new restoration of the original 35mm Techniscope camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of both the Italian and International versions of the film
  • Original uncompressed mono audio
  • 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
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist
  • Booklet featuring new writing on the film by spaghetti western expert Howard Hughes, illustrated with original archive stills

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Welcome to the town of Clifton: home of scorpions, tumbleweed, and a sweet, quick-drawing, piss-bucket toting boy named Scott (Giuliano Gemma), the butt of everyone’s jokes and taker of all their abuses.  It’s not his fault, though. He’s a motherless bastard without even a last name.  His only real friend/mentor/employer, Murph (Walter Rilla), taught him how to quick draw, and while Scott dreams of being a tough gunfighter, Murph assures him that the time of Doc Holliday are over and that the world is more civilized.

One day, a mysterious, cold-eyed stranger named Talby rides in to town, with Scott looking upon him with quiet awe. During an exchange of pleasantries, Talby gives Scott a last name, Mary, the name of Scott’s mother. During a later meeting at a bar, Scott gets to see Talby in action, quick-drawing and shooting a bar patron dead in self-defense, and realizes then and there that he wants Talby to train him.

One day, Scott follows him into the desert, where Talby takes him on as an

apprentice after Scott saves his life, teaching him his lessons of survival:

  • First Lesson: Never beg another man.
  • Second Lesson: Never trust anyone.
  • Third Lesson: Never get between a gun and its target.
  • Fourth: Punches are like bullets. If you don’t make the first ones count, you might just be finished.
  • Fifth Lesson: You wound a man, you better kill him because, sooner or later, he’s going to kill you.
  • Sixth Lesson: The right bullet at the right time, well aimed.
  • Seventh Lesson: If you untie a man, make sure you take his gun first. (Eighth Lesson, courtesy of Scott: Don’t give a man more bullets than he’s got use for.
  • Ninth Lesson: Sometimes you have to accept a challenge, or lose everything in life anyway.
  • Tenth Lesson: When you start killing, you’ll never stop.

Talby buys Scott a gun, a belt and some clothes, turning Scott into a whole new man.  He proves his mettle in a gunfight saving Talby’s life a second time, cementing their partnership.  As the days go on, Scott starts showing the town what he’s made of, firing off shots at signs and not taking any more shit from anyone.  Soon though, Scott realizes that Talby isn’t the friend he thought he was.1

As before, this is my first time watching ‘Day of Anger.’  It’s funny how my taste in film has evolved over the years.  When I was a kid/teenager, I hated films like the ‘Godfather,’ ‘Planet of the Apes,’ and ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,’ well maybe it was more of that I didn’t appreciate them, but now they are some of my favorite films.

The influence of Sergio Leone is unmistakable in this film, as the director of ‘Day of Anger,’ Tonino Valerii, was Leone’s former assistant.  This has all the tropes of a Leone film: almost every time Talby’s name is uttered by a character for the first time, a guitar strums, there are many extreme close-ups of characters’ eyes, etc.  One scene, though, was all Valerii: The horseback front loading rifle duel. Talby faces off against Killer (Giorgio Gargiullo.)  Each have an unloaded front loaded rifle and as they are riding towards each other, they have to load and shoot before the other guy. Naturally, loading a front loading rifle is not an easy task, but on horeseback? The scene was masterful to say the least.  I’ve never seen anything like it, the editing, the music, the use of far shots and close ups…it’s definitely one of the best, if not the best, scenes in the film let alone in any western. Another thing I particularly enjoyed was the way they talked about the gun of Doc Holliday, giving it a sort of mystical, Excalibur-like, quality, like if you have it, you are unstoppable.  Murph tells Scott the story of when Doc Holliday died and people killed each other racing to get his gun.  237333_1020_A

This is the best North American Arrow release yet!  The 1080p transfer from the original negative is flawless.  All the colors are vibrant and vivid with unimaginable detail. Riz Ortolani’s score is crystal clear, as if it were recorded yesterday. The unreleased 2008 interview with Tonino Valerii is a must watch, as he talks about working with Sergio Leone and shares a couple funny stories about him.

‘Day of Anger’  from Arrow Video needs to be on every Spaghetti Western fan’s shelf.  Pre-order now at Amazon.

From Arrow:

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.

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