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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Cemetery Without Crosses aka "The Rope and the Colt" aka "Une corde, un Colt..." aka "Cimitero senza croci" [Blu-ray]

 

(Robert Hossein, 1969)

 

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Fono Roma

Video: Arrow Video

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:30:46.482 

Disc Size: 31,533,048,855 bytes

Feature Size: 28,213,902,720 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.91 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: July 20th-21st, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio Italian 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

Remembering Sergio - an all-new interview with star and director Robert Hossein, filmed exclusively for this release (5:19)
French television news report on the film's making, containing interviews with Hossein, and actors Michèle Mercier and Serge Marquand (7:57)
Archive interview with Hossein (2:27)
Original theatrical trailer (3:51)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
Illustrated collector's booklet containing new writing by Ginette Vincendeau and Rob Young

DVD of the Feature

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Inspired by the international success of the Dollars trilogy, and dedicated to director Sergio Leone, Cemetery Without Crosses offers a Gallic spin on the Spaghetti Western formula thanks to its star and creator, Robert Hossein (best-known to English-speaking audiences for his role in Jules Dassin s Rififi).

After her husband is lynched by bandits, Michèle Mercier (Mario Bava's Black Sabbath) seeks revenge and turns to an old friend, played by Hossein, for help. A solitary figure who lives in a ghost town and dons a single black glove before each gunfight, Hossein is initially reluctant but soon infiltrates the widow s enemies to force a showdown.

Cemetery Without Crosses is a darker breed of Western, bleak and melancholy in tone amid the explosive set pieces. It also boasts an outstanding score by composer André Hossein (father of Robert) and the catchiest of themes, sung by cult figure Scott Walker.

 

 

The Film:

A bold and bleak spaghetti Western inspired by the Dollars trilogy and dedicated to Sergio Leone, Cemetery Without Crosses presents a Gallic spin on the spaghetti western and succeeds largely on the strength of Hossein's ability to weave together an overwhelming sense of melancholy with explosive set pieces and Andre Hossein's stellar original scre along with Scott Walker's tremendously effective theme song. Hossein shares writing credit for the film with Claude Desailly, though Dario Argento is also noted as having involvement with the film's script (NOTE: Hossein has stated that Argento contributed not more than a couple dozen lines to the script). Originally released under the title The Rope and the Colt, Cemetery Without Crosses is a true tribute to Leone's films and Hossein deserves credit for having crafted a film that remains faithful to Leone's ability to create emotional resonance and outstanding set pieces. Cemetery Without Crosses feels authentic and, if you surrender yourself to it, it will linger in your psyche long after the closing credits.

Excerpt from The Independent Critic located HERE

 

This western finds Manuel (Robert Hossein) visiting his friends only to discover the husband has been murdered in a feud between two rival families. He promises the widow he will kidnap the daughter of the other family to avenge the killing. Manuel manages to apprehend the girl, and the widow has the girl raped. She offers the young woman back to her family in exchange for a decent burial for her murdered husband. The family of the kidnapped girl rides into town for the inevitable showdown in this violent story of murder and revenge.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

 

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

NOTE: This is the another Arrow Blu-ray that is being simultaneously released in both region 'A' (US) and 'B' (UK). It is the exact same package on both sides of the Atlantic, similar to Day of Anger, Island of Death and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Miss Osbourne . It is essentially the same disc for both regions with differences noted by Michael Brooke on Facebook: '... no matter which package you buy, the discs will play in any Region A or B setup (or Region 1 or 2 for DVD - and in the latter case the video standard is NTSC, to maximise compatibility). The booklets are also identical, but there are minor cosmetic differences on the disc labels and sleeve to do with differing copyright info and barcodes, and the US release doesn't have BBFC logos.'

 

Cemetery Without Crosses gets a robust transfer to Blu-ray from Arrow Films.  It is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. The opening and title is in black and white and shows more damage and marks than the rest of the feature (which is in color.) But once we are in the color portion we can see rich, deep hues and aside from some inherent softness - it looks excellent. Some frame-specific damage remains but mostly the presentation is surprising in its high quality. There are textures and a bit of waxiness but there are plenty of striking close-ups and depth notable with adept contrast. The Blu-ray visuals exceeded my expectations for the film - especially after the weak pre-credit sequence. I'm not complaining about any facet of the image - and I thought it looked very fetching in-motion. Hopefully the captures below will bear that out.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Arrow offer linear PCM mono tracks at 1152 kbps in the options of Italian or English. I watched via the English and it seemed quite clear considering the era and genre with a bit of punch to gun shots and fisticuffs. The score is a delightful expression of instrumental guitar moods (Concerto pour Guitare) composed by André Hossein - the father of Robert Hossein plus the film's opening has the piece 'Une Corde...Un Colt' sung by the noted baritone Scott Walker (released as a single in France!). The music sounds wonderfully appealing and catchy. The newly translated English subtitles are accessible on both tracks but more closely translate the Italian soundtrack and differ quite a bit from the English dialogue. My Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Extras :

Arrow produce a new interview with star and director Robert Hossein entitled Remembering Sergio. It runs about 5.5 minutes and has the director reminiscing about the production and his homage to Leone. Arrow also include an 8-minute French television news report on the film's making, containing interviews with Hossein, and actors Michèle Mercier and Serge Marquand - also with English subtitles. There is an older, short interview with Hossein and a. almost 4-minute, theatrical trailer. The package has a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips and an illustrated collector's booklet containing new writing by Ginette Vincendeau and Rob Young. Being Dual-Format a DVD disc of the Feature is included.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
What a stellar 'pasta' western Cemetery Without Crosses is. It was a co-French-Italian production and accents key features of the genre with delicate precision. Nothing is heavy-handed and I found it an exceptionally well realized story impressively shot by Henri Persin.  The Arrow Blu-ray provides a surprisingly strong a/v presentation with very appreciated supplements. For Spaghetti-Western fans this is easy to put in the 'must-own' category - a great film, pleasing 1080P presentation and valued extras. Sold! 

Gary Tooze

July 1st, 2015


 

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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