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Years Of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977 [3 Blu-rays]

 

Savage Three (1975)    Like Rabid Dogs (1976)    Colt 38 Special Squad (1976)

 

Highway Racer (1977)    No, the Case is Happily Resolved (1973)

 

 

The 1970s were a time of intense uncertainty and instability in Italy. Political corruption and widespread acts of left and right-wing terrorism, alongside a breakdown in social cohesion and a loss of trust in public institutions such as the government and police, created a febrile atmosphere of cynicism, paranoia and unexploded rage. Throughout this period, these sentiments found expression in a series of brutal, often morally ambiguous crime thrillers which tapped into the atmosphere of violence and instability that defined the so-called Years of Lead.

This box set gathers five films from the heyday of the “poliziotteschi” – the umbrella term used to describe this diverse body of films. In Vittorio Salerno’s Savage Three (1975) and Mario Imperoli’s Like Rabid Dogs (1976), random acts of violence committed by vicious young sociopaths threaten the fragile fabric of respectable society. In Massimo Dallamano’s Colt 38 Special Squad (1976) and Stelvio Massi’s Highway Racer (1977), renegade cops battling against red tape and political corruption turn to new and morally dubious methods to dispense justice. Finally, class dynamics are explored in Salerno’s No, the Case is Happily Resolved (1973) as an innocent man finds himself under suspicion for a savage crime committed by a highly respected member of society.

 

Decried by critics for their supposedly fascistic overtones, the poliziotteschi were in fact more ideologically varied and often considerably more nuanced than such superficial readings would suggest, and proved a huge hit with theatergoers, who responded to their articulation of present-day social concerns. Featuring an impressive line-up of Euro-cult stars, including Joe Dallesandro (The Climber), Ivan Rassimov (Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key), Maurizio Merli (Violent City) and Enrico Maria Salerno (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage), this collection of stylish, hard-hitting Euro-crime thrillers showcases the range and breadth of the genre and is a must-have for newcomers and grizzled veterans alike..

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 14th, 1973 - August 31st, 1977

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime

Savage Three (1975): 1:24:48.541

Like Rabid Dogs (1976): 1:37:45.526

Colt 38 Special Squad (1976): 1:42:23.834

Highway Racer (1977): 1:41:23.392

No, the Case is Happily Resolved (1973): 1:37:37.981

Video

1.85:1 - 2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc One Size: 49,415,584,645 bytes

Savage Three (1975): 15,314,076,864 bytes

Like Rabid Dogs (1976): 23,880,170,880 bytes

Disc Two Size : 49,048,308,182 bytes

Colt 38 Special Squad (1976): 22,565,172,520 bytes

Highway Racer (1977): 21,943,176, 278

Disc Three Size : 44,356,407,290 bytes

No, the Case is Happily Resolved (1973): 27,820,704,334

Video Bitrate: 21.72 - 29.87 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Sample Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1095 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1095 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

With: Original lossless mono English audio on Colt 38 Special Squad (as well as Italian option)

Subtitles English, (English SD option for Colt 38 Special Squad), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Arrow

 

1.85:1 - 2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc One Size: 49,415,584,645 bytes

Savage Three (1975): 15,314,076,864 bytes

Like Rabid Dogs (1976): 23,880,170,880 bytes

Disc Two Size : 49,048,308,182 bytes

Colt 38 Special Squad (1976): 22,565,172,520 bytes

Highway Racer (1977): 21,943,176, 278

Disc Three Size : 44,356,407,290 bytes

No, the Case is Happily Resolved (1973): 27,820,704,334

Video Bitrate: 21.72 - 29.87 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

New visual essay by critic Will Webb (20:17)
Interview with director Vittorio Salerno and actress Martine Brochard on Savage Three (40:48)
Interview with actor Joe Dallesandro on Savage Three (40:56)
Interview with cinematographer Romano Albani and historian Fabio Melelli on Like Rabid Dogs (51:57)
Interview with assistant director Claudio Bernabei on Like Rabid Dogs (32:55)
Like Rabid Dogs music sampler (6:01)
Introduction by composer Stelvio Cipriani (0:45)
Interview and introduction by composer Stelvio Cipriani on Colt 38 Special Squad (25:48)
Interview with editor Antonio Siciliano on Colt 38 Special Squad (9:31)
Interview with historian Roberto Curti on Highway Racer (18:42)
Interview with director Vittorio Salerno on No, the Case is Happily Resolved (40:36)
No, the Case is Happily Resolved alternate ending (4:02)
Trailers (3:49 - Like Rabid Dogs, 3:31 - No, the Case is Happily Resolved - 3:33)
Poster galleries
Reversible sleeves featuring original artwork
Booklet featuring new writing by Troy Howarth, Michael Mackenzie, Rachael Nisbet, Kat Ellinger and James Oliver


Blu-ray Release Date:
June 21st, 2021
Transparent Blu-ray Cases inside Custom slipcase (see below)

Chapters 11 / 12

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Arrow Blu-ray (June 2021): Arrow have transferred five Poliziotteschi films to one package containing three Blu-rays entitled Years Of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977. It is cited as being "High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of all five films, restored from the original camera negatives, including a brand new 2K restoration of Colt 38 Special Squad exclusive to this release". It is quite a daunting package. All made in about a 4-year span, it's no wonder they have similar quality elements... and it's no surprise that Arrow's transfers are at the high end. Grain is frequently evident, there is usually minimal depth bit surprisingly rich colors and the older the film - the more fader it can appear with less layered contrast (density of the print.) Overall they looks great and fairly consistent in 1080P. No strong complaints of digitization or damage. The Camewra Oscura BD of Highway Racer reviewed HERE, looks almost exactly the same from our software. It does have a higher bitrate but we found no significant differences in the a/v. There are comparison captures below. 

NOTE: We have added 102 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-rays, Arrow use a DTS-HD Master mono tracks (24-bit) in the original Italian language (with an English option for Colt 38 Special Squad.) As could expect, there is extensive violence in the form of guns beatings, assaults and more. These are carried with authentic mono hollowness but suit the films well via in the purity of the lossless transfers. There are fitting, often unique, scores by Franco Campanino (Amazonia: The Catherine Miles Story) on Savage Three (1975), Mario Molino (The Angels from 2000) on Like Rabid Dogs (1976), a Giallio-esque score by Stelvio Cipriani (The Night Child, Nightmare City, The Blood Stained Shadow, Killer Cop, Rabid Dogs, Baron Blood, A Bay of Blood) on Colt 38 Special Squad (1976) and Highway Racer (1977), plus Riz Ortolani (The Valachi Papers Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eyes, The McKenzie Break, Day of Anger, Il Sorpasso, Woman Times Seven, Cannibal Holocaust, The Voyeur, Mondo Cane) on No, the Case is Happily Resolved (1973). Yes, that is Grace Jones, performing and singing I Still Get the Blues and I'll Find My Way to You in Colt 38 Special Squad. The audio is relatively clean, dialogue post-syncing occasionally awkward but consistent in clarity. Arrow offer optional English subtitles (and SDH on Colt 38 Special Squad) on their three Region FREE Blu-rays, available in North American and Europe.

The Arrow Blu-ray offers no commentaries but a wonderful 20-minute visual essay by critic Will Webb entitled Poliziotteschi: Violence and Justice in the Years of Lead. He gives an excellent overview of the genre. It is located on the third Blu-ray and he discusses the themes found in Poliziotteschi; ultra-violent, vigilante behavior, good men dispensing justice, macho, cop-dramas during the 70's. It usually has the same group of cast/actors, deeply focused on spectacle (flashy car chases, gritty action and causal misogyny). He informs us that the genre contains about 100 films and he examines the political background in Italy during this time showing corruption, organized crimes and much more. It is very informative. There are a mass of interviews (often from Camera Obscura, No Shame etc.) with the likes of director Vittorio Salerno, actress Martine Brochard on Savage Three, actor Joe Dallesandro also on Savage Three (for over 40-minutes), cinematographer Romano Albani and historian Fabio Melelli, assistant director Claudio Bernabei on Like Rabid Dogs. From composer Stelvio Cipriani we get an Introduction and 25-minute interview. There are more; an interview with editor Antonio Siciliano on Colt 38 Special Squad, historian Roberto Curti on Highway Racer, and with director Vittorio Salerno on No, the Case is Happily Resolved. There are also trailer for 3 of the films, Poster galleries and we can see a 4-minute alternate ending on No, the Case is Happily Resolved. The extensive package has reversible sleeves featuring original artwork includes a booklet featuring new writing by Troy Howarth, Michael Mackenzie, Rachael Nisbet, Kat Ellinger and James Oliver.   

Firstly, I was shocked at how very good these films are in Arrow's Blu-ray package of Years Of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977. It is book-ended by two strong and entertaining efforts; Savage Three from 1975 and the less typical No, the Case is Happily Resolved from 1973. The latter being the least violent (after the initial brutal beating of a half-naked woman) and becomes a mystery/thriller with efforts to expose the real killer. Colt 38 Special Squad should get a nod to as a dynamic Dirty Harry-style of cops ending criminal activity (and often the perpetrators!) without going by the book. A solid cop-actioner. This films are a strong reflection of the social and political attitudes of 70's Italy. The genre does have similarities to Giallo , with less infused style (dissimilar to Pasta westerns but in-line with the gratuitous violence), and you may require a thick skin to accept the extensive, and less-explained, misogynistic angles. Political / police corruption is not as heavy as themes in some other efforts I have seen in the genre and era, and only moderate focus on organized crime, police procedural - more involving terrorism and senseless serial killing. This follows in the wake of other Blu-rays like Brothers Till We Die (Umberto Lenzi), Luciano Ercoli's Killer Cop, Sergio Martino's Silent Action, and Syndicate Sadists (also Lenzi). Perhaps an acquired taste but I thought these were an excellent, varied, initiation for many to dive into Poliziotteschi and Arrow is continuing their stacked, detailed and efficient Blu-ray boxsets - one of the very best production companies in existence. For fans who embrace this, or are even neophytes, this is strongly recommended to both groups!    

Gary Tooze

 

Package - Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


Menus / Extras

 


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

 

 

(aka "Hot Mud" or "Savage Three")

 

Directed by Vittorio Salerno


Italy 197
5

 

Savage Three are three young men, fresh into the world, who work together at a computer analysis company. All three appear to be calm, level-headed, well-educated young men with the world at their fingertips. They are best friends, working togther by day & playfully carousing at night. Dominated by the Ovidio, played by the handsome Joe Dallesandro, the three young men soon evolve from well-mannered professionals to violent criminals.

Excerpt from IMDb HERE

 

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Examples of NSFW (Not Safe For Work) visuals (Mouse Over - click to enlarge)
 

 


More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 


 

(aka "Like Rabid Dogs")

 

Directed by Mario Imperoli


Italy 197
6

 

Tony is the young member of an upper class Roman family; he lives a hectic double life, and under the guise of good student, he likes to persecute and kill prostitutes in the company of a couple of friends.

 

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

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


Examples of NSFW (Not Safe For Work) visuals (Mouse Over - click to enlarge)
 

 


More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

 

 

 

(aka "Colt .38 - Special Squad" or "Colt 38 Special Squad")

 

Directed by Massimo Dallamano


Italy 197
6

 

A police commissioner forms a secret motorized brigade in order to fight a dangerous terrorist who is depositing bombs throughout the city of Turin.

 

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

 

Subtitle Sample (English, English SDH) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

(CLICK to ENLARGE)

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


Examples of NSFW (Not Safe For Work) visuals (Mouse Over - click to enlarge)
 

 


More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 


(aka "Highway Racer")

 

Directed by Stelvio Massi


Italy 1971

 

A hot-shot police driver has more guts than brains, often landing him in hot water with his middle-aged mentor, who was once a legendary police interceptor responsible for numerous large scale arrests.

***

Maurizio Merli stars as a hot-shot police driver who has more guts than brains, often landing him in hot water with his middle-aged mentor, who was once a legendary police interceptor responsible for numerous large scale arrests.

 

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

 

1) Camera Obscura -  Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Camera Obscura -  Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Camera Obscura -  Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Camera Obscura -  Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 


 

 

(aka "No il caso č felicemente risolto" or "No, the Case Is Happily Resolved")

 

Directed by Vittorio Salerno


Italy 197
3

 

When the eyewitness to a brutal murder decides not to testify, the actual murderer chooses to finger him as the murderer and claim eyewitness status for himself.

 

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

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


Examples of NSFW (Not Safe For Work) visuals (Mouse Over - click to enlarge)
 

 

 


More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

  

 

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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