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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

The Man With No Name Trilogy [Blu-ray]

 

Per un pugno di dollari aka "A Fistful of Dollars" (1964)
Per qualche dollaro in più aka "
For a Few Dollars More" (1965)
Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo. aka "
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Arturo González Producciones Cinematográficas, S.A / United Artists

Video: MGM Home Entertainment via Fox

 

Disc:

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

 

  A Fistful of Dollars For a Few Dollars More The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Runtime 1:40:04.248 2:11:42.936 2:58:41.669
Disc Size 40,403,629,192 bytes 43,846,228,705 bytes 48,394,326,810 bytes
Feature Size 32,102,989,824 bytes 35,574,841,344 bytes 41,931,319,296 bytes
Video Bitrate 36.42 Mbps 29.52 Mbps 23.02 Mbps
Chapters 32 32 32

 

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard sleeve

Release date: June 1st, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2469 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2469 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps

 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3660 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3660 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps

 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2887 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2887 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps /
24-bit)
DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1
/ 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Japanese 768 kbps 5.1
/ 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Hungarian 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 224 kbps 2.0
/ 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Turkish 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, (various), none

 

Extras (from Press Release):

'A Fistful of Dollars': The Christopher Frayling Archives: A Fistful of Dollars; Commentary by Film Historian Christopher Frayling; A New Kind of Hero; A Few Weeks in Spain: Clint Eastwood on the Experience of Making the Film; Tre Voci: A Fistful of Dollars; Not Ready for Primetime: Renowned Filmmaker Monte Hellman discusses the Television Broadcast of A Fistful of Dollars; The Network Prologue with Actor Harry Dean Stanton; Location Comparisons: Then to Now; 10 Radio Spots; Double Bill Trailer; and Theatrical Trailer.

'For A Few Dollars More': The Christopher Frayling Archives: For A Few Dollars More; Commentary by Film Historian Christopher Frayling; A New Standard: Frayling on For A Few Dollars More; Back for More: Clint Eastwood Remembers For A Few Dollars More; Tre Voci: For A Few Dollars More; For A Few Dollars More: The Original American Release Version; Location Comparisons; 12 Radio Spots; Theatrical Trailer 1; and Theatrical Trailer 2.

'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly': Commentaries by Film Historians Richard Schickel and Christopher Frayling; Leone’s West; The Leone Style; The Man Who Lost the Civil War; Reconstructing The Good, The Bad and the Ugly; IL Maestro: Ennio Morricone and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly - Part One; IL Maestro: Part Two; Deleted Scenes; Easter Egg #1 Uno, Due, Tre; Easter Egg #2 Italian Lunch; Easter Egg #3 New York Actor; Easter Egg #4 Gun in Holster; Theatrical Trailer; and French Trailer.

 

Bitrates:

 

 

 

 

Description: The box set includes the iconic Leone westerns 'A Fistful of Dollars,' 'For A Few Dollars More,' and 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly' - all in 1080P resolution. The Man With No Name (Italian: Uomo senza nome) as played by American actor Clint Eastwood in what is often called "The Dollars Trilogy".

 

 

 

 

The Film:

The "Man With No Name", as personified by Eastwood, embodies the archetypical characteristics of the American movie cowboy — toughness, exceptional physical strength or size, independence, and skill with a gun — but departed from the original archetype due to his moral ambiguity. Unlike the traditional cowboy, exemplified by actors John Wayne, Alan Ladd, and Randolph Scott, the Man with No Name will fight dirty and shoot first, if required by his own self-defined sense of justice. Although he tends to look for ways to benefit himself, he has, in a few cases, aided others if he feels an obligation to, such as freeing a couple held captive in A Fistful of Dollars and comforting a dying soldier after the bridge explosion in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

He is generally portrayed as an outsider, a mercenary or bounty hunter, or even an outlaw. He is characteristically soft-spoken and laconic. The character is an oft-cited example of an anti-hero, although he has a soft spot for people in deep trouble. While rescuing the young mother Marisol (Marianne Koch) in A Fistful of Dollars, he responds to query about his motives with a curt "I knew somebody like you, once ... and there was no one to help." This, along with the comment "I never found home that great" and stating that he hails from Illinois, sums up the only personal history the viewer ever receives about the character.

The character's distinctive appearance consists of a battered brown hat with a telescope crown, pale blue shirt, black jeans, tan boots, a sheepskin vest, and a patterned sarape or "poncho". He is usually armed with one revolver with a silver rattlesnake on the grip, which is holstered on a right-handed gunbelt. In contrast with other Western heroes of the early- to mid-1960s, The Man is unshaven, almost to the point of sporting a full beard. He habitually smokes a cigarillo while working.

Due to budget considerations, Eastwood made the initial investment for his character's appearance and demeanor. Most of the clothing was purchased second-hand in California (with the exception of the sarape or poncho, which was provided by Leone); the gunbelt and holster were from Eastwood's previous TV series Rawhide. The Man's trademark cigars were also from California; their harshness put Eastwood in what he called a "scratchy mood", which aided in his characterization. The trademark squint was partly due to these cigarros.

Director Leone has admitted that the iconic brown poncho, so indelible to the character now, was less a style decision than an attempt on his part to make the conventionally built Eastwood look more like the actor he originally had in mind: American muscleman Steve Reeves, fresh from his years starring in Italian Hercules movies.

Excerpt from Wickipedia located HERE

 


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

All transfers are dual-layered and in MPEG-4 AVC 1080P in the 2.35-2.4 aspect ratio offering the English language title cards.

 

With a virtual yoke of anticipation - reviewers and fans awaited the 'Man With No Name Trilogy". I won't overly dissect the image quality as the screen captures below should help with a lot of conclusions.  There are some obvious issues with this Blu-ray set.  Starting with 'A Fistful of Dollars' - as compared to the European (RHV), Region FREE, Blu-ray (made from a restoration made by Cineteca Nazionale) already reviewed HERE - it appears to be cropped or 'zoomed-in'. It isn't the same transfer with flesh tones being less red. While it looks to have paler contrast - it seems to have as much grain. I actually don't mind the appearance but question the reason behind the cropping which can be quite significant on the right edge (as well as top and bottom). It is possible that either the MGM is vertically stretched a shade or the RHV is horizontally compressed - it's hard to be sure.

 

Being more positive - "For a Few Dollars More" looks better than I anticipated. It shows more consistent grain than the other two editions and while I suspected edge-enhancement I wasn't able to identify it conclusively when zooming-in. It looks quite good and the grain gives a solid texture to the visuals.  It could be the best appearance of the three, occasionally exhibiting some depth, - also looking most film-like on Blu-ray.

 

Unfortunately, but as expected, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is, essentially the same Blu-ray transfer as the hi-def one we reviewed HERE. I didn't scrutinize a comparison (I only matched two frame grabs - not included) but disc and feature size match up as does running time to the 1/1000th of second. It looks to have the same level of inconsistent, waxy softness, DNR. Much of the iconic film looks fine but those sensitive to Digital Noise Reduction may find it irritating. Personally, I wasn't bothered but still believe that the title could look much better. Saying that, as a comparison to modern films-to-Blu - these Spaghetti Westerns can only look so good due to production limitations. 

 

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

Per un pugno di dollari aka "A Fistful of Dollars" (1964)

 

1) MGM ('No Name' Trilogy Edition) - Region FREE Blu-ray - TOP

2) RHV Ripleys Home Video - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) MGM ('No Name' Trilogy Edition) - Region FREE Blu-ray - TOP

2) RHV Ripleys Home Video - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) MGM ('No Name' Trilogy Edition) - Region FREE Blu-ray - TOP

2) RHV Ripleys Home Video - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) MGM ('No Name' Trilogy Edition) - Region FREE Blu-ray - TOP

2) RHV Ripleys Home Video - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Per qualche dollaro in più aka "For a Few Dollars More" (1965)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo. aka "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966)

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is quite acceptable with each transfer offering a lossless DTS-HD Master 5.1 at between 2400 - 3700 kbps. Ennio Morricone's bold scores seem to overtake certain scenes and while separations exists they are never as crisp as we might have hoped. Still this would be more a product of technical production I think. For the most part these sound wonderful - with rich bass and, original, tinny high-end. Subtitle options vary but most have multiple options. I tested all three disc on my Momitsu and each is identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

Extras :

For the most part supplements are repeated from various DVD editions, but they still get full marks for the mass included on one disc. We get a lot from Film Historian Christopher Frayling including commentaries on all three films (joined by Richard Schickel on 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly'). There are featurettes of varying lengths including Clint Eastwood Remembers and Clint on on the Experience of Making the Films, Location Comparisons, 20-minutes of Leone's West, and a 1/2 hour of The Leone's Style plus much more. The package is very worthwhile in regards to the extras and this is one facet we can whole-heartedly endorse. "A Fistful of Dollars" and "For a Few Dollars More" have a 'My Scenes" ability.

NOTE: Menus are consistent in all three discs - also, they are very well animated.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This set is a real dichotomy as in one respect the films are so enduring that an endorsement would seem a no-brainer - but in another regard the video transfers seem to have limitations that some fans and serious HD enthusiasts will find too disappointing. Personally, on Blu-ray the good outweighs the bad and the visual uglies don't come into play enough for me to not to have thoroughly re-enjoyed The Man With No Name Trilogy. There are some impressive moments in 1080P. As far as the film experience goes - it never seems to diminish. If you taken into consideration the audio and supplements as well I think the package is definitely worth the indulgence. I do so with a pack of cigarillos and whisky bottle on hand. 

Gary Tooze

May 22nd, 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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