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lunedì 19 novembre 2012

La resa dei conti - The big gundown hits German market on BRD

     Switzerland based Explosive media, is a brand new company that operates on the German language territories.

Another label one could point out, if it wasn't only that this company is operated by Herr Ulrich Bruckner responsible for some of the best DVD editions surfaced in Germany in the last ten years. First as head of acquisitions at Koch Media and then at Sony, Bruckner has finally stepped in the market with his own outfit. I met Ulrich almost ten years ago at the now defunct Mifed in Milan. We immediately understood we were sharing the same passions and background and we kept in touch since then, exchanging opinions that ranged from titles to be released, to marketing decisions. Not to mention Bruckner wrote an amazing book on spaghetti western of which is a great fan and worldwide renown expert.
Cover of Bruckner's book on spaghetti westerns
Inside the digibook
 Yesterday I got from him the first two releases of Explosive, a good new edition of Faccia a Faccia (one of the best Italian western ever), and the brand new world debut in HD of another great western by Sergio Sollima: La resa dei conti aka as The big gundown. Housed in a splendid digibook case, this edition is spread over 3 discs: a BRD of the uncut version running 110 mins, with Italian, English and German track with English and German subs. A DVD of a shorter cut running 106 mins and a whole  DVD of extras. Not to mention the beautiful booklet featuring artworks from all around the world. I won't discuss here Sollima's merits as a filmmaker, he's one of the greatest underrated directors, whose work is in look for a definitively deconstruction and analysis. I met Sollima many times, during the years, as I took care of the US editions of Corri uomo corri, (Run, man run), Revolver and Città violenta (Violent city). He has always been kind to us and full of anecdotes and with an insight approach of his work that spanned from motivations and thematics to technical explanations on how he achieved some shots and sequences. Many of these infos are in the interview featured on the third disc, that includes also Tomas Milian as well. A gallery of Lee Van Cleef trailer and the OST of the film. I had seen this movie when I was a kid in a movie theater in a beaten up, worn out 35mm theatrical print. When it was released in Italy few years ago in DVD the master used was a kind of a let down, the colors washed up and the brightness boosted up, probably for a possible free TV use. Now it's finally time to throw all the previous editions in the trash can, since this BRD makes justice of the nice cinematography and present strong colors and contrast. No digital manipulation has been performed and there's almost no trace of dirts; a  cleaning of the original 2P negative has been handled with care, without the use of any DVNR. Any attempt to "improve" has been skipped in favor to keep the look as close to the original as possible, an ugly take, result of a dupe, has been kept that way without trying to alter it, avoiding so what would have been a possible disaster. The take in question looks exactly as it did at the time the movie hit theaters back in 1966. A certain softness in some long shots, could be the result of a telecine in HD instead of film scan, but it's not a big deal. This is a great piece of cinema and a must buy, not only for any western aficionados, but also for the occasional viewer. And if Leone is seated in the circle of movie gods, well, Sollima is just behind him...
The BRD is region B locked and requires to be played with a region free BRD player. I don't think this movie is going to look better than this for the time being.