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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Face to Face" or "Cara a cara" or "Il était une fois en Arizona" or "Zwei links, zwei rechts und Halleluja" )

 

directed by Sergio Sollima
Italy/Spain 1967

 

Outspoken New England school teacher Fletcher (Gian Maria Volante, FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE) is forced into retirement by poor health and moves out west to Texas. An act of kindness to captured outlaw Beauregard aka Soloman Bennet (Thomas Milian, DJANGO KILL!) gets Fletcher taken hostage by the wounded man. Rather than letting him die, Fletcher nurses him back to health in his gang's mountain hideout. Charlie Siringo (William Berger, FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON) - whose credentials include several wanted posters - tracks down Bennett and proposes that they get his gang back together, but Bennet suspects the other man of being a Pinkerton detective. When Bennet is well enough to track down his dispersed and captured gang members, he sends Fletcher off to Purgatory City to catch a train back to civilization. Bennet has come to the town in search of cohort Aaron Chase (José Torres, DEATH RIDES A HORSE) and Fletcher once again saves his life (this time by shooting a man). Although Bennet tells Fletcher to go home, but Fletcher decides to join him as he rounds up his old gang members. While visiting the De Winton plantation to convince Maximilian (Ángel de Pozo, HORROR EXPRESS) to take up with them again, the sheriff plans to arrest Bennet against the advice of Siringo, who turns out to be a Pinkerton detective. When Siringo kills the sheriff, Bennet (taking a cue from Fletcher) goes with his brain instead of his gut and welcomes him into the gang. They go on to Puerta de Fuego (well, Pietra de Fuoco in the Italian dialogue and English subtitles), a colony of gold-less prospectors and forgotten outlaws, in search of Zackary Shawn (Aldo Sambrell), but they are told that he was taken and no one knows where he is being kept. Bennet tells the group that they will need a lot of money in order to gain information about Shawn's whereabouts and Fletcher devises a foolproof plan to rob a bank. Siringo secretly sends a communication back to the Pinkerton agency to have Shawn moved to a jail in a town near Puerta de Fuego. Bennet is ready to bust him out, but Fletcher (without suspecting Siringo) rightly suspects that it is a setup. They go ahead with the bank robbery, but Siringo's intervention causes a bloody shootout. Bennet is captured by Siringo and Fletcher is the only one to make it back to Puerta de Fuego with the loot. Fletcher forms a new Wild Gang out of the citizens of Puerta de Fuego, and then extends his recruiting to the best criminals from major cities. When Siringo's plan to send Wallace (Lorenzo Robledo, COMPANEROS) to infiltrate the gang fails miserably, the law responds by recruiting hundreds of vigilantes to massacre Puerta de Fuego.

Producer Alberto Grimaldi brings from his Sergio Leone-Clint Eastwood trilogy production designer Carlo Simi and composer Ennio Morricone [along with conductor Bruno Nicolai and vocalist Edda dell'Orso], but the results are different under Seregio Solimma's (VIOLENT CITY) direction and scripting (with Sergio Donati would go on to script Leone's ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and DUCK YOU SUCKER). Although he had already memorable sadistic and paranoid spaghetti western villains in A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS and
FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, Volante is afforded a much more complex character in this outing: a sickly, passive, and compassionate - though brimming with resentment - intellectual who becomes a cold-blooded, manipulative, calculating, brutal killer (and proto-fascist dictator). He makes his first kill reluctantly to save Bennet. When they get to Puerta de Fuego, he humors an aged outlaw by telling him that there are ballads sung about him and that there is still a $10,000 price on his head. When Fletcher volunteers to join him and the others on a robbery, Bennet rebuffs him more out of concern for his innocence than Fletcher's physical limitations, but it makes Fletcher feel like less of a man. Fletcher sets out to prove himself by practicing his shooting, raping Maria (Jolanda Modio, A STRANGER IN TOWN), and getting into a fist fight with Chase. Bennet had earlier told the others that Fletcher was intelligent and to listen to him, and inadvertently shifts the balance of leadership from brawn to brains. Bennet starts out as a brute, but gains his compassion as Fletcher loses it. When a child raises the alarm about Bennet's presence in town for the bank robbery, he cannot bring himself to silence him. When the child is shot by another gang member, Bennet's for the child rather than alerting Fletcher and the others gets him captured and the others killed. Bennet's new-found compassion drives him to escape when the vigilantes go after the residents of Puerta de Fuego, and to "do what's right" in the final face to face stand-off. The supporting cast is also stuffed with Italian genre regulars. Nello Pazzafini (A LONG RIDE FROM HELL), Frank Braña (RETURN OF THE BLIND DEAD), Antonio Casas (THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY) are on hand as members of the Wild Gang. Stuntman Godofredo Unger (BLOOD AND BLACK LACE) also pops up as a smirking gunman. John Karlsen (SLAUGHTER HOTEL) turns up in the prologue, Lidia Alfonsi (who played one of the earliest heroines terrorized by a telephone stalker in Mario Bava's BLACK SABBATH) plays a tart Southern belle, and Carole André (DEATH IN VENICE) plays a tomboy who has a crush on Bennet.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 23 November 1967 (Italy)

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DVD Review: Eureka Video - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Eureka Video

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:47:00 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

2.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.23 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Eureka Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.33:1

Edition Details:
• Sergio Sollima Interview (4:3; 16:10)
• Textless Trailer (16:9; 2:48)
• English Trailer (4:3; 3:08)

• 17-page Liner Notes Booklet with Essay by Howard Hughes

DVD Release Date: June 20th, 2011
Amaray

Chapters 13

 

Comments

Initially announced as a dual-format Blu-ray and DVD edition, Eureka Video scrapped those plans when the HD master proved not up to scratch (they contacted producer Alberto Grimaldi's studio in search of better elements, but it appears this has not been as cared for as Grimaldi's Leone and Pasolini films). Eureka's DVD-only edition is generally clean, but there are intermittent white spots and scratches. Given Eureka's track record, I'm assuming that the edge enhancement was part of the master (most evident in the last screencap), which may have also have been why the Blu was scrapped. The only audio option is a good condition Italian mono track with optional English subtitles (unsuitable elements for the English dub track have also lead to its exclusion here). The English subtitles refer to the town of Puerta de Fuego as "Pietra de Fuoco" as does the Italian dialogue (the Imdb cast listing also suggests that some names were changed for the English dub). This is the full 107 minute version (PAL timing) rather than the 93 minute version initially submitted by Eureka to the BBFC (almost all DVD editions have been the full version, with the exception of the non-anamorphic Spanish DVD which represented the 100 minute [PAL speed] Spanish cut). The layer change occurs roughly 82 minutes into the movie in the middle of one of William Berger's lines. The 16 minute interview with Sollima may be a subtitled version of the one present on the Italian CDE DVD. The anamorphic trailer is not the Italian trailer as listed on the press release, rather it is a textless version (the non-anamorphic trailer features the content with English language renderings of the title card and actor and crew credits). A 17-page booklet is listed among the extras, but was not included with this check disc.

If you have not seen the film (very different from Grimaldi's Leone westerns, although carrying over designer Carlo Simi and composer Ennio Morricone), then the Eureka disc is probably the most accessible way to see it. The German Koch DVD was also English friendly (subtitles for the Italian track, no English dub), but the extras were unsubtitled and it was only available in a Sergio Sollima boxed set (which is out of print). A long out of print Japanese DVD featured the English track (reportedly in poor quality) and English dubtitles for the Italian track, but was non-anamorphic and a PAL-NTSC transfer. The Italian disc from CDE is not English-friendly and the Spanish Divisa DVD is non-anamorphic and represents the Spanish cut of the film.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Eureka Video

Region 2 - PAL

 




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