Blu-Ray Review- Day of Anger
Distributor: Arrow Video USA
Street Date: March 31st 2015
Technical Specifications: 1080P Video, Color, 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio, Linear PCM Mono Audio
Runtime: Italian Theatrical Version- 114 Minutes, International Version- 86 Minutes
Following injuries sustained in a car crash in 1958, Lee Van Cleef’s once promising career was put on hold for recovery. After taking the proper time to heal and assist his wife in her interior decorating career, Lee discovered that he was no longer being offered the sizable roles that he had been in the past, and any acting offers that came his way were relatively minor ones. That all changed for the underused and commanding screen presence when Sergio Leone cast him in his upcoming spaghetti western; For a Few Dollars More. Soon after, he filmed the now legendary The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly with the director, and decided to stay in Italy to knock out a few more pictures. One of those films was Tonino Valerii’s Day of Anger.
In the film, legendary gunfighter Frank Talby (Lee Van Cleef) arrives in the town of Clifton, Arizona for a drink. He soon meets the disheveled local custodian of sorts, Scott Mary (Giuliano Gemma). Scott does the odd jobs around town like emptying everyone’s chamber pots, sweeping the storefronts, and securing travelers’ horses in the stable. He’s also frequently bullied by the townsfolk of Clifton, who treat Scott as less than human. All that begins to change when he meets Frank, who instantly takes a liking to him and demands that he respect himself enough to stand up to those who frown upon him. When Frank kills one of the local bullies, he’s tried, but acquitted of all charges as he drew his pistol only after he was threatened.
Frank soon high-tails it out of town, but Scott Mary is in close pursuit, eager for Frank to “school” him in the ways of a gunfighter. Scott can draw quickly thanks to his former mentor at the stables in Clifton, but he lacks the true sense of an outlaw, and needs Frank to guide him. When Frank attempts to obtain a debt that’s owed to him from a recently paroled criminal, the missing money is traced back to the crooked townspeople of Clifton. With the now-skilled Scott at his side, Frank makes his way back to Clifton to blackmail his way to the top of the town’s ranks and bring an end to the corruption. But…perhaps he has taught his young apprentice too many of his old tricks.
Day of Anger, while not in the same legendary league as Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy, is still a handsomely made spaghetti western. Everything from the music to the set pieces and thrilling camera work exudes the coolness of the genre’s best, and Lee Van Cleef turns in a rock-solid performance as Talby. The English dubbing of the Italian accents from the rest of the cast can be a little distracting, but spaghetti western genre buffs will be used to this sort of thing if they’ve seen the Dollars trilogy or any of Franco Nero’s films. The story itself is rather simple and easy to absorb and the action and plot turns are exciting throughout. It’s a fun Western film that genre fans will be pleased to add to their Blu-Ray collection from Arrow Video.
Arrow Video has delivered yet another stunning transfer to their USA launch releases with Day of Anger. The grain…the beautiful grain, is presented intact and adds so much to the experience. Plenty of care and effort obviously went into restoring the film for High Definition. The print has a very authentic feel, with dusty golds and an intentionally muted color palette on full display. There are a few occasional scratches or artifacts, but most instances have been gently removed without any sign of digital noise reduction. Textures on clothing and skin are almost tangible, and the harsh western sun’s impact on the actors’ sweaty foreheads comes through very clear. This is a fantastic looking transfer!
The Linear PCM mono audio track included here is decent, with some occasionally muffled dialogue and uneven balance of the score being the only detractors. Most of the dubbed dialogue is relatively strong for a mono effort, with action scenes coming off strong, if a little front-heavy. Overall, it gets the job done, but isn’t nearly as impressive as the gorgeous picture quality.
Arrow Video has provided fans of Day of Anger with a great selection of bonus material for this Blu-Ray release. Here’s a breakdown of what’s included:
- Interview with Director Tonino Valerii– This interview with Director Tonino Valerii was recorded in 2008 and runs nearly 11 minutes. Tonino discusses his film Day of Anger and its impact on the genre, box office success, his time spent with Sergio Leone, and much more.
- Interview with Screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi- This brand new HD interview with the legendary Ernesto Gastaldi runs just over 13 minutes. The screenwriter discusses his time spent immersed in the spaghetti western film period, his work with Sergio Leone, and finally his work with Tonino Valerii on Day of Anger. His recollection of the behind-the-scenes aspects of the production is fascinating. Great stuff!
- Money, Myths and Morality: Roberto Curti on the Westerns of Tonino Valerii- This engrossing extended interview runs more than 43 minutes and features writer/critic Roberto Curti discussing Tonino Valerii’s life and work in movies. It’s a bit on the long side, especially given a relatively static camera shot of Roberto with the occasional clip or poster insert, but his knowledge is deep, making for a very interesting featurette on the filmmaker.
- Deleted Scene- This deleted scene from the film is the sole reel from the shorter international version of the film that is NOT present in the longer Italian version. It’s only 1 ½ minutes in length, and has Scott Mary (Giuliano Gemma) talking briefly with his former mentor before setting out to ambush the deputies waiting for Talby in the street.
- Trailers- Nearly 6 minutes of trailers for the film are presented here, in fairly rough quality, which adds a fun grindhouse feel to the presentation.
This Blu-Ray edition from Arrow Video features a reversible sleeve that gives you the option of choosing the original theatrical poster artwork or the newly-commissioned artwork from Reinhard Kleist. Both options look great, and I’m having a hard time choosing which one to display on the shelf. Reinhard Kleist did a fantastic job with his artwork, and really captures the spaghetti western tone. On the reverse of the packaging you’ll find a plot synopsis, a list of special features, and technical specifications. On the interior of the case is the Blu-Ray disc with both versions of the film and bonus features, along with two separate DVD’s for each version. Last but not least, an illustrated booklet is included featuring an essay by Howard Hughes. This is yet another stellar packaging job from Arrow Video!
Day of Anger, while not in the same legendary league as Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy, is still a handsomely made spaghetti western. Everything from the music to the set pieces and thrilling camera work exudes the coolness of the genre’s best, and Lee Van Cleef turns in a rock-solid performance as Talby. The Blu-Ray edition from Arrow Video features a stunning HD presentation that remains authentic to the time period and has been cleaned up very well for the format. The Linear PCM audio is suitable for the film, but won’t necessarily knock your socks off. The good news is that Arrow has packed this release with some fun bonus material that fans of the film will enjoy immensely. Day of Anger is a fun Western film that genre fans will be pleased to add to their Blu-Ray collection from Arrow Video.
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