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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Big Gundown aka La Resa dei conti [Blu-ray]

 

(Sergio Sollima, 1966)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Produzioni Europee Associati (PEA)

Video: Grindhouse Releasing

 

Case: Thick Blu-ray case

Release date: December 13th, 2013

 

US Release Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:34:56.732

Disc Size: 47,617,856,232 bytes

Feature Size: 27,016,814,592 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Chapters: 40

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.4:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1813 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1813 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Music and Effects Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1823 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1823 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1898 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1898 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• Audio Commentary By Western Film Experts C. Courtney Joyner And Henry C. Parke on US Version

• Compelling In-Depth Interviews With Director Sergio Sollima (29:03), Star Tomas Milian (29:48) And Screenwriter Sergio Donati (12:03) (ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST)

Sergio Sollima: Struggles Against the Genre (27:56)

Sergio Donati: Bonus Interview (2005) (11:51)

• Extensive Still Galleries (Production, US, French, Italian, Various)

Trailers (2 X US, Italian) and 5 TV Spots

Text Filmographies 

 

Italian Release Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:50:18.612

Disc Size: 24,458,070,216 bytes

Feature Size: 19,204,761,600 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.00 Mbps

Chapters: 43

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.4:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1836 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1836 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Music and Effects Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1808 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1808 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, none

 

Extras (Italian Version Disc):

LA RESA DEI CONTI - The Complete, 110 Minute Director's Cut Presented In Italian With Optional English Subtitles

14 Grindhouse Releasing Trailers (32:55)

 

Sundry:

• Four Disc Deluxe Edition Combo Pack - Two Blu-rays, One DVD And One Bonus CD
Bonus CD - THE BIG GUNDOWN - Original Soundtrack by Ennio Morricone

Liner Notes By C. Courtney Joyner And Euro-Music Expert Gergely Hubai
 

Bitrate:

 

 

 

Description: Grindhouse Releasing is proud to present the first-ever U.S. home video release of the greatest Spaghetti Western you've never seen - Sergio Sollima's widescreen epic THE BIG GUNDOWN. The legendary Lee Van Cleef stars as a relentless bounty hunter on the trail of Cuchillo (Euro-film superstar Tomas Milian), a savage Mexican outlaw accused of the rape and murder of a twelve-year-old girl. Written by ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST screenwriter Sergio Donati, THE BIG GUNDOWN features an incredible soundtrack by Ennio Morricone. This special edition contains 15 additional minutes of gunslinging action never before seen in America.

 

 

 

The Film:

Jonathan Corbett (Lee Van Cleef) is one of the top lawmen in the State of Texas. He's so good at what he does, that he's been approached by Brokston (Walter Barnes), a wealthy speculator and power-broker, about running for the United States Senate. But there's one job that needs doing first which, if Corbett can finish it, will put him in an unchallengable position -- he has to hunt down and capture (dead or alive, with the emphasis on "dead") Cuchillo Sanchez (Tomas Milian), who's wanted for raping and killing a 12-year-old girl. Corbett does what he does best, pursuing Sanchez relentlessly and on his own level of intense brutality, past the border and into Mexico -- but along the way, Corbett learns what life is like for peasants like Sanchez, and what men like Brokston have to do with it. And he discovers that Sanchez may not be the murderer that Corbett thinks he is.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

The Big Gundown has the sweeping vistas, epic feel, bravura set pieces, iconic characters and classic Ennio Morricone score of one of Sergio Leone’s classic Fistful Of Dollars trilogy.

But director Sergio Sollima has a more political sensibility than Leone, so elements of racism and class struggle inform this tale of an unofficial American lawman (Lee Van Cleef) hunting a Mexican peon (Tomas Milian) in Mexico for the rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl.

There’s fun in the contrast of Van Cleef’s gimlet-eyed rectitude and Milian’s broad terror and glee, and a bit of genre-bending unease when you notice that the bad guy is smarter and more charming than the hero.

Excerpt from NowToronto located HERE

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

The very strong 'Pasta Western' The Big Gundown comes in quite an amazing Blu-ray package via Grindhouse Releasing. Aside from the enclosed DVD and CD, there are two Blu-rays. The first has the 1.5 hour US version of the film on a dual-layered disc shared with extensive supplements. The second Blu-ray is single-layered with the 110-minute, director's cut, Italian version of the film. It is advertised as 'A New 2K Digital Restoration Of The Original Uncensored English Language Version, Newly expanded With Three Additional Scenes.' It has a high bitrate in 1080P and looks slightly superior to the Italian version transfer that is less robust. It's not a big difference but you may see a few more artefacts, other wise it looks like a similarly restored source. There are a couple of weaker sequences (perhaps the 'additional scenes') that looked substituted, possibly, with blown-up SD. This is the same on the Italian version. But generally the visuals look very impressive with beautifully rendered contrast. The 2.4:1 aspect ratio is so pleasing in HD - especially the Vistas. There is some texture and this offers a brilliant presentation of a gem from the genre.

 

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

 

 

Subtitle Sample from the Italian Version Blu-ray

 

 

1) English Version - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Italian Version - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) English Version - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Italian Version - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Weaker Image Scene

1) English Version - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Italian Version - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) English Version - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Italian Version - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Captures from the English Version Blu-ray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The audio is matched on both Blu-rays utilizing a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1813 kbps. It sounds even more robust with rich, deep effects and another amazing soundtrack by Ennio Morricone. The score supports the film magnificently although the DUBs are, as with Italian film, noticeable. The Italian version offers optional English subtitles. My Oppo has identified it both discs as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Grindhouse Releasing produce the definitive package adding so many supplements including an audio commentary by Western Genre experts C. Courtney Joyner And Henry C. Parke on the US Version of the film. Informative but a bit dry. There are lengthy interviews with director Sergio Sollima (29:03), star Tomas Milian (29:48) and screenwriter Sergio Donati (12:03). There is another 1/2 featurette entitled Struggles Against the Genre with Sollima and another dozen-minute interview from 2005, with screenwriter Donati. This is all on the US version disc which includes extensive stills galleries (Production, US, French, Italian, Various), trailers (2 X US, Italian) and 5 TV spots and a few text filmographies. On the Italian Release Blu-ray Disc with the 110-minute 'Director's Cut' version we get the option of an isolated score and a 1/2's worth of 14 Grindhouse Releasing Trailers. It doesn't end there as the four disc package has, along with the two Blu-rays, one DVD (US release) and a CD of the Ennio Morricone track. There are also liner notes by C. Courtney Joyner And Euro-Music Expert Gergely Hubai. Wow.

 

US Version Blu-ray

 

 

Italian Version Blu-ray

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This is an easy 'must-own' for aficionados of this wonderful genre. The Big Gundown has all the addictive appeal from raw machismo to operatic poetry aura. I say this is one of the more masterfully realized of the 'Spaghetti Westerns'. Exceptional and ripe for revisitation. The Grindhouse Releasing package has so many positives; both versions, Morricone CD (I listen to in the car!), commentary etc. .  This Blu-ray gets a very strong recommendation! I'm only sorry I wasn't able to review it sooner! 

Gary Tooze

May 29th, 2014

 

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 5000 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.

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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