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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Machine Gun McCain aka Gli intoccabili [Blu-ray]

 

(Giuliano Montaldo, 1969)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Euro International Film (EIA)

Video: Blue Underground Video

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:35:42.737 

Disc Size: 23,462,181,002 bytes

Feature Size: 19,789,252,608 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.98 Mbps

Chapters: 18

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 24th, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1101 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1101 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Interview with Director Giuliano Montaldo (22:36 in SD)
English Trailer (3:15 in HD!)
Italian Trailer (4:15 in HD!)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: After serving 12 years behind bars for armed robbery, tough guy Hank McCain finds himself the pawn of a ruthless mob runt's rebellion against a high level don. When McCain discovers that he's been betrayed and abandoned by his new employer, he retaliates with a high stakes Las Vegas casino heist that erupts into all-out war on the streets of Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. Not blood, nor lust, nor wedding vows can come between McCain and his money...or his machine gun.


This long-unavailable gangster classic explodes on the screen with spectacular scenes of shocking violence, an unforgettable score by Ennio Morricone (THE UNTOUCHABLES), and an all-star cast featuring Academy Award(r) nominees John Cassavetes (THE DIRTY DOZEN), Peter Falk (COLUMBO), and Gena Rowlands (THE NOTEBOOK). Co-starring beautiful Bond girl Britt Ekland (THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN) and cult fave Florinda Bolkan (DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING), Blue Underground is proud to present MACHINE GUN McCAIN in a gorgeous new High Definition transfer for the first time ever on home video!

 

 

The Film:

Hank McCain as he cruises down the Vegas strip: "Twelve years of prison and I still get a kick out of these lights."
Irene: "They're beautiful."
Hank: "They're not beautiful. They're cheap. It's an attraction for sad, fat businessmen begging for more money...for hustlers, for thieves, for pimps. I LOVE IT!"

Lean, mean and paranoid, convict Hank McCain (John Cassavetes) is sprung from prison by West Coast mobster Charlie Adamo (Peter Falk) to rob a Las Vegas casino that is owned by an East Coast Mafia boss in the same syndicate. Adamo's underhanded attempt to muscle in on his fellow gangster's territory ignites a gangland war between factions with McCain caught in the middle and running for his life after he successfully pulls off a $2 million dollar heist. Along the way, McCain is double-crossed by his own son, hooks up with a bar hostess (Britt Ekland), is briefly reunited with his former mistress (Gena Rowlands) and goes down fighting in a genuine noir finale. Although it didn't get any respect from the critics or even much notice from film reviewers at the time, Machine Gun McCain (Italian title: Gli Intoccabili, 1968) is a remarkably taut, fast-paced B-movie crime thriller that is as feral and cagey as its title hero. Cassavetes imbues his role with a pent-up intensity that threatens to explode at any moment and often does. It's one of his best performances and demonstrates why he was more in-demand as an actor in Hollywood instead of a director.

While Cassavetes and Peter Falk agreed to do Machine Gun McCain strictly for the money, the movie proved to be a lucky charm in more ways than one. It was during the making of the film that Cassavetes got to know Falk and began to collaborate with him on his next independent feature, Husbands (1970). He also recruited Ben Gazzara, who was in Europe during the same period shooting The Bridge at Remagen (1969), to complete the trio featured in the title, a story of three married friends who go on a drinking binge in London after a close friend dies of a heart attack. Thanks to Bino Cicogna, the co-producer of Machine Gun McCain, Cassavetes was able to secure financing for his film when no Hollywood studio would commit to it. Cicogna, unfortunately, was not the most reliable investor, and like a subplot from Machine Gun McCain, he ran into trouble with creditors and fled to Brazil where he was later murdered. Nevertheless, Cicogna's initial investment allowed Cassavetes to make Husbands and eventually work out a favorable distribution deal with Columbia Pictures.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

 


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
 

NOTE: Peter tells us in email: "...this transfer in no way, shape or form resembles the Technicolor prints of its release. I ran one recently, and the color was literally the star of the show: eye-gouging yellows and reds, almost a pop-art feel to the whole design. While you can't expect contemporary transfers to truly replicate the IB Tech "look", whomever timed this transfer did it with NO eye towards color saturation whatsoever." (Thanks Peter!)

 

Blue Underground continue to produce consistent Blu-ray transfers.  Like with previous HD releases City of the Living Dead, The Prowler, Django, Circle of Iron, The Bird With the Crystal Plumage and others it is not an image that will reflect the type of depth and detail that modern films can export. This is single-layered and progressive. It shows grit and grain and some limited noise. The image is clean with only a few minor speckles and colors seem fine if not exuberant as Peter tells us above. Detail has only a few impressive moments in close-up but the visuals have a consistent quality that benefits the presentation. Peter tells us that this Blu-ray doesn't resemble the theatrical appearance - in terms of color - of over 40 years ago. However, it is seemingly much better than SD-DVD could relate but it won't blow your socks of - however it is, very consistent. Hopefully the captures below will give you a decent idea of what Machine Gun McCain looks like on your system.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Blue Underground have remained authentic to the original with a mono audio track in lossless DTS-HD 1.0 channel English at 1101 kbps. It is, predictably, flat and unremarkable without range or depth. However the front driven soundstage is not without some decent moments of bass with cheesy late 60's male vocal music and the dialogue is consistent. The menus are animated and pretty cool - nice work! Blue Underground have included optional subtitle in English (SDH), French or Spanish and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

Extras :

Not that much in the way of supplements - we get a 22-minute English subtitled, SD, interview with director Giuliano Montaldo which is reasonably interesting as he reflects on the production, premiere and critical response. Also included are the English and Italian trailers in HD.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Admittedly I was more interested in seeing Cassavetes, Falk and Rowlands onscreen together than any expectations of enjoying the plot - but I did get caught up in this Italian crime drama to some degree. It has that funky era charm - gritty, very distinctive and somewhat edgy. I wouldn't say this is a classic by any stretch but this appears to be the first digital release of the film (Alex has told us of THIS French DVD edition and also an Italian one - thanks Alex!) and it is not one that plays extensively on broadcast television (although TCM has the film in their library.) So the appeal would be the performances - all three are great! - and seeing this fresh, kitschy, thriller.  Blue Underground continue to show consistency with their Blu-ray coverage and while not top tier - the purchase price reflects that and we, indeed, recommend for those even remotely keen. I was entertained. 

Gary Tooze

August 14th, 2010

 

 

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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