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A Reason to Live, A Reason to Die aka "Una ragione per vivere e una per morire" [Blu-ray]
(Tonino Valerii, 1972)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Atlántida Films
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 18,724,028,816 bytes
Feature Size: 18,263,549,952 bytes
Video Bitrate: 23.94 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: August 18th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1605 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1605 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
• Trailers for Navajo Joe (1:51)
Description:From Tonino Valerii, the director of My Name is Nobody and other classics spaghetti westerns comes this top-notch western set during the Civil War where eight condemned Union prisoners attempt to capture a Missouri fort from Confederate soldiers. Union Colonel Pembroke (James Coburn, Harry in Your Pocket) leads seven men on an impossible death mission, against all odds to overtake Fort Holman from the Confederates, commanded by insane Major Frank Ward (Telly Savalas, A Town Called Hell), ostensibly because of the fortress' strategic location as the key to the significant routes of the American Southwest. Under the guise of seizing the fortress, Pembroke in fact wants revenge for Ward's cowardly murder of his son. International superstar Bud Spencer (Django, Prepare a Coffin) co-stars as one of the condemned men.
Having relinquished Fort Holman to the Confederacy without a shot being fired, Col. Pembroke (James Coburn) is in danger of a court-martial finding him guilty of treason. To escape certain death, he agrees to try to retake the lost fort using the services of seven men already condemned to death. The men are no happier to serve under him than he is to have them, but despite their own quarrels (and threats on the Colonel's life), they arrive at the fort and mount their attack. Though this western was produced by a European syndicate, it has an English soundtrack.
After completing Duck, You Sucker! (1971) for Sergio Leone, James Coburn stuck around Italy for his second spaghetti western directed by Leone’s protégé Tonino Valerii. Set amidst the American Civil War, A Reason to Live, A Reason to Die finds Union Colonel Pembroke (James Coburn) dishonourably discharged and branded a coward after having mysteriously surrendered Fort Holman to Confederate Major Ward (Telly Savalas) without a fight. Out for revenge, Pembroke gathers a gang of rapists, murderers and thieves, plus burly good guy Eli Sampson (Bud Spencer), supposedly intent on retrieving a cache of captured confederate gold buried at Fort Holman. But as Eli observes, no man would endure such danger, treachery and punishment just for gold.Excerpt from the Spinning Image located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of Tonino Valerii's, under-achieving western, A Reason to Live, A Reason to Die has some inconsistency. It might be one of the instances where I say that the overall appearance is not indicative of the, relatively, strong Blu-ray screen captures below. This is also not the theatrical cut (or the uncut - see Audio section) - I'm unaware of this shortened version, but will post if I get some further information. The image is quite thick and heavy (which I don't mind) but also looks dirty (not as bad as the title sequences) - in need of a good cleaning. Generally, I don't have a problem with the excessive textures. I don't think what I occasionally see are artifacts, but regardless I found the image quality to vary throughout my viewing. Colors look acceptable (no fading) and there is some impressive detail in some of the many close-ups. This Blu-ray gave me, only, a watchable, but unremarkable, viewing in regards to the HD video - more a function of the source used (which may be the best available - I have no idea).
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1605 kbps (16-bit) in the original English language (not there is an uncut version - 119 minutes - where Coburn did not dub his own dialogue but here it is him). There are plenty of effects in the film - mostly gunfire and dynamite explosions. The score by Riz Ortolani (Day of Anger, Il Sorpasso, Woman Times Seven, Cannibal Holocaust, The Voyeur, Mondo Cane) sounds quite good. He is often considered the best Spaghetti Western composer outside of Ennio Morriconne. It all sounds decent with clear consistent dialogue and occasional depth in the effects and score. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Only a trailer for Navajo Joe.
August 5th, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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