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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Sicilian Clan aka "Le clan des Siciliens" aka "Der Clan der Sizilianer" [Blu-ray]

 

(Henri Verneuil, 1969)

 

  

and available in a Digibook including DVD from France:

and standard case edition:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Les Productions Fox Europa

Video: Twentieth Century Fox / Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

Region: FREE  / Region 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

French Version:

Runtime: 2:04:46.353 / 2:01:27.655

Disc Size: 47,024,614,294 bytes / 41,276,698,841 bytes

Feature Size: 18,378,756,096 bytes / 27,432,038,400 bytes

Video Bitrate: 16.92 Mbps / 26.93 Mbps

Chapters: 20 / 8

 

English TV Version ('US Cut'):

Runtime: 1:58:23.096 / 1:58:37.110

Disc Size: 47,024,614,294 bytes / 27,477,439,088 bytes

Feature Size: 17,582,592,000 bytes / 26,801,104,896 bytes

Video Bitrate: 16.98 Mbps / 26.71 Mbps

Chapters: 20 / 8

 

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 23rd, 2014 / February 7th, 2017

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio French 1029 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1029 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

DTS-HD Master Audio French 1558 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1558 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

English TV Version (US Cut):

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1079 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1079 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1556 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1556 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps

 

Subtitles (both version on the Fox disc):

English, English (SDH), Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, French, none

 

English, none

 

Extras:

• TV Version (English) (1:58:23)
• Legend of the Clan (1:03:33)
• The Sicilian Clan by Fred Kavaye (4:15)

 

2K Restoration of the "125-Minute International Cut"
"Legend of the Clan" Featurette (1:03:32)
Audio commentary by Film Historians Howard S. Berger and Nathaniel Thompson
The Sicilian Clan by Fred Cavaye (4:16)
Animated Montage of Images
French and US Theatrical Trailers (3;17 + 2:21)

 

Bitrate:

 

1) Fox (EU) - Theatrical - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Theatrical - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Kino - US Version - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Description: Roger Santet (Alain Delon) is a convicted murderer sprung from prison by the Sicilian clan headed by the aging Vittorio Manalese (Jean Gabin). They conspire to steal a large cache of jewels from an exhibit in Rome. As they are preparing for the heist, the mobster's American friend Tony Nicosia (Amedeo Nazzarri) suggests that a better way to get the rocks would be to hijack the transport plane while it is en route to New York. The dogged inspector Le Goff (Lino Ventura) is using all the available resources to thwart their plans. Though the heist itself is successful, Santet finds himself trapped by the mob because of his fling with Manalese's daughter-in-law (Irina Demick.)

***

Brand New 4K Restoration! International superstars Alain Delon (Le Samouraï), Jean Gabin (Touchez Pas au Grisbi) and Lino Ventura (Le Deuxième Souffle) star in this action-packed thriller that delivers white-knuckle suspense from its exciting opening chase to its thrilling conclusion. Aging Sicilian mobster Vittorio Manalese (Gabin) springs master thief and hit man Roger Sartet (Delon) from prison so he can help him pull off the most ambitious heist of his illustrious career, which includes hijacking a New York bound plane and transporting 50 million dollars in jewels. But after the audacious crime, Sartet betrays the crime boss and the two partners in crime become engaged in a tense game of cat-and-mouse and a no-holds-barred battle of wit and bravado. Wonderfully directed by Henri Verneuil (Any Number Can Win), who also co-wrote the screenplay with José Giovanni (Classe Tous Risques) and Pierre Pelegri (The Last Adventure), based on a novel by Auguste Le Breton (Rififi, Bob le Flambeur). Two of the film's other best features are the stunning cinematography by Henri Decaë (Le Cercle Rouge) and original musical score by the legendary Ennio Morricone (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly).

***

Delon is a condemned murderer who escapes from prison thanks to the help of Gabin, a Sicilian mobster. Delon and Gabin plan to steal a collection of jewels from an exhibition in Venice, but Gabin's American pal Nazzari suggests instead hijacking the airplane that is to transport the jewels from Venice to New York City. Gabin arranges for his family (the family that robs together...) to carry out the job, which they do nicely. They all scamper back to Europe with the loot and go into hiding. But when Gabin finds Delon has been sleeping with his daughter-in-law, Demick, he tries to lure his cohort to Paris so that Delon will get what's coming to him. Delon arrives ahead of schedule and sees one of Gabin's sons, sent to kill Delon, arrested before he can carry out the job. But Gabin is a hardliner and sees that both Delon and Demick are finally rubbed out. After completing the job himself, Gabin returns home to find the police waiting for him. Although its script is somewhat predictable, THE SICILIAN CLAN is hardly just another gangster picture. The ensemble acting is terrific and the direction tells the story well. This film was one of the biggest box-office successes ever in France and its English-language version also did well, grossing over $2 million in the US.

Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE

 

 

1) Theatrical - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) TV version - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

The Film:

Vittorio Manalese (Jean Gabin) is a fine old gentleman-capo who, from his appearance, seems to spend several hours a day caring for his beautiful white hair. The rest of the time he presides over his large family, "The Sicilian Clan," as if he were a composite of Lucky Luciano and George Washington. The Manaleses live over their pinball machine agency in Paris, take their meals en famille (with papa served first), spend their evenings watching television and, for a fee, pull off occasional jobs together, such as engineering the escape from prison of Roger Sartet (Alain Delon), a cop-killing punk whose police record includes a note to the effect that, when he was a boy, he smiled quite a lot.

Old Vittorio's code does not condone killing or killers but, because he wants to effect a final, signature caper, he pools his family's resources with those of Sartet in an elaborate plan to steal a bushelful of crown jewels. The operation and its aftermath take on a kind of autumnal charm, if only because there are, these days, so few crime movies that are so big and square and sentimental.

Excerpt from The New York Times located HERE

Cast as the patriarch of a spaghetti-eating Sicilian family who are crooks to a man, the once formidable Gabin - stout, white-haired and now a bit past it - mostly sits back and glowers while the younger members of the cast squabble, lust and plot a caper involving the hijack of a plane-load of jewels. He finally rouses himself from his lethargy to defend his honour by executing Delon, a Corsican who had the temerity to play around with his daughter-in-law. Verneuil, not for the first time, tries to direct like Jean-Pierre Melville and fails to make it, though the action scenes are passable, and Henri Decaë's moody photography is rather more than that.

Excerpt from TimeOut  located HERE

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

The Sicilian Clan is available on Blu-ray with two versions of the film on the dual-layered disc; the original theatrical - predominately in French with some Italian and English OR in what is described as a shorter 'TV English version' with a, mostly, English DUB.  The films are different even beyond the running times (see capture below). They are alternate prints but edited similarly and share the lone Blu-ray with modest bitrates.  I wouldn't say the image quality is dynamic but consistently supports the films in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio with bright colors. The Theatrical is grainier with cooler skin tones. You can see the shifts in the captures below. Contrast is adept.  This Blu-ray provides a great way to see the two versions and enjoy this impressive Euro-crime drama with a stellar cast.

 

Okay, this can be a bit confusing unless we start using the same terms - what is termed the 'original theatrical' version is labeled by Kino as the 'French' version. What Fox Europe calls their 'English TV version', Kino calls the 'US Cut' or 'English' on their menu screen. What I am having trouble with is Kino advertising their French version as "2K Restoration of the "125-Minute International Cut" where their French version is only 2 hour 1.5 minutes. and their 'English" version is less than 2-hours running the same time as the Fox (EU) English TV Version - the indication that it is the same. The only 125-minute version I see is on the Fox (Europe) Blu-ray. So, we'll try to get to the bottom of that.

NOTE: IMDb lists the running time as 122 minutes.

NOTE: Per-Olof tells us in email "My German BD disc has 3:01 end music on a black screen. When the film ends there’s first total silence for 19 sec, before the end music starts. That’s why the German disc is “125 min”. (Thanks Per Olof!) I suppose that means that Kino shouldn’t have stated that they have the 125 min version, if they don’t have that end music!

 

On the positive Kino have done the right thing and given each version it's own separate dual-layered Blu-ray. So what looks better? - I think Kino have the superior image on their 'French' or 'Original Theatrical' version with a much higher bitrate - marginally brighter and slightly superior detail - more consistent grain - it also looks better in-motion. But, not knowing what the 'US', 'English' or 'TV' version is supposed to look like - I also lean to the Kino for that version although both are weaker and far more inconsistent than their 'theatrical' counterparts. The Kino may actually be a shade vertically stretched (thinner faces) and skin tones are cooler.

 

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

 

1) Fox (EU) - Theatrical - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Theatrical - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Kino - US Version - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

NOTE: the US version does not always contain the exact scene/frame - as evidenced here:

 

 

1) Fox (EU) - Theatrical - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Fox (EU) - TV version - Region FREE - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Kino - Theatrical - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Kino - US Version - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Fox (EU) - Theatrical - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Fox (EU) - TV version - Region FREE - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Kino - Theatrical - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Kino - US Version - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Fox (EU) - Theatrical - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Fox (EU) - TV version - Region FREE - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Kino - Theatrical - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Kino - US Version - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Fox (EU) - Theatrical - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Fox (EU) - TV version - Region FREE - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Kino - Theatrical - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Kino - US Version - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

NOTE: the US version does not always contain the exact scene/frame - as evidenced here:

 

 

1) Fox (EU) - Theatrical - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Theatrical - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Kino - US Version - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Fox (EU) - Theatrical - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Theatrical - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Kino - US Version - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Fox (EU) - Theatrical - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Theatrical - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Kino - US Version - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

NOTE: the US version does not always contain the exact scene/frame - as evidenced here:

 

 

1) Fox (EU) - Theatrical - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Theatrical - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Fox (EU) - Theatrical - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Theatrical - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Theatrical Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Both the theatrical (in French) and the English-language TV version offer audio in a DTS-HD Master mono track at around 1000 kbps. It was clean and clear on both versions and the English sync DUB actually seemed quite strong. I found the Ennio Morricone score kind of odd with an unusual 'boing' spring sound every once in a while. It sounded very akin to some of his spaghetti western work. There are optional subtitles and other foreign-language DUBs (see above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE - playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Both use DTS-HD Master transfers but Fox (Europe) is 24-bit to Kino's 16-bit. It's a negligible difference to my ears but more discerning fans might notice and lean to the Fox. Both have the English DUB on the US version and optional subtitles on both versions. The Kino Blu-ray is region 'A'-locked.

 

 

Extras :

The 20th Century Fox Blu-ray supplements are also English-friendly. They add a 4-minute piece with Fred Kavaye - as a kind of introduction discussing things like the three big stars working together but the big extra is an hour-long 'Making of...' piece entitled Legend of the Clan. It covers a lot of the production difficulties, its US links including the desire to have Zanuck's latter day ingenue Irina Demick in the film. It's very good!

 

Kino also have The 4-minute piece with Fred Kavaye - as a kind of introduction discussing things like the three big stars working together but the big extra is an hour-long 'Making of...' piece entitled Legend of the Clan. Kino add an audio commentary by Film Historians Howard S. Berger and Nathaniel Thompson for the US cut (only) but the volume is quite low and I required to boost it substantially on my system. It exports decent information. There are also trailers and montage of images on the Kino.

 

Fox (EU) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Kino - Theatrical - Region 'A' - Blu-ray 1

 

 

 Kino - US Version - Region 'A' - Blu-ray 2

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
For fans of any of the performers in The Sicilian Clan this is a wonderful film experience. There are an abundance of tough-guy characters and some ingenious scheming in the crimes committed. It's not Melville - but its a darn-good attempt. I was very pleased to watch this on Blu-ray. For those keen on Le Samouraï, Le Cercle Rouge - The Sicilian Clan should make for an enjoyable evening in the home theatre.

 

This remains a tense crime drama with powerful stars. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this thriller again. I appreciate the US version, and its commentary, but I prefer the French, theatrical, cut.  

Gary Tooze

July 29th, 2014

February 10th, 2017

 

  

and available in a Digibook including DVD from France:

and standard case edition:


 

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.

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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