Day of Anger AKA I Giorni dell'ira AKA Days of Wrath AKA Blood and Grit AKA Gunlaw [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Arrow Films
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (31st March 2015).
The Film

***This is an A/V and Extras review only. For reviews on the movie from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE.***

When Sergio Leone turned Lee Van Cleef into a major star with For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the actor sensibly stayed in Italy to make several more spaghetti westerns, including this one from Leone’s former assistant Tonino Valerii that genre aficionados rank amongst the best ever made.

Giuliano Gemma plays street cleaner Scott Mary, relentlessly bullied by the people of the small town of Clifton. When legendarily ruthless master gunfighter Frank Talby (Van Cleef) rides into town, Scott seizes the opportunity to lift himself out of the gutter, and possibly even surpass Talby’s own skills. But what is Talby doing in Clifton in the first place?

This lively, intelligent western, notable for the chemistry between its charismatic leads, some memorable action set-pieces (including a rifle duel on horseback that has to be seen to be believed), and a jazzy Riz Ortolani score, is presented here in an exclusive high-definition restoration from the original Techniscope negative.

Video

Arrow Films have released the spaghetti western "Day of Anger" AKA "I Giorni dell'ira" on to Blu-ray in the United Kingdom in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The disc contains both the longer Italian version and the shorter international version, both of which are 1080p using AVC MPEG-4 encoded.

For my viewing I opted for the longer Italian version, though I did have a quick skim of the international version too. Generally speaking, this is an excellent presentation with a restoration that gives the 'big guns' from the major studios a run for their money. What I was immediately surprised with, was just how clean this transfer is in comparison to my expectations. There are no major signs of damage at any point, just a few rare specks - if you'd have told me we would get a print this clean for this film in my lifetime a few years ago, I'd have quite simply laughed in your face. It could be cleaner, but I was still very happy. Contrast and saturation levels are good and there are no notable issues with wobble or other instabilities. Details are meticulous throughout, especially in the sandy dust encrusted clothing and buildings. The horse and cart tracks in the streets, the curved designs in the tavern glasses, and even the minute intricacies of the various wooden buildings and furniture all look exemplary. There are no problems with aliasing, edge enhancement, banding or digital noise reduction.

The film is uncut, with the Italian version running 113:51, and the international version running 86:10.

Audio

The following audio options are available:
- Italian LPCM 1.0 (Italian version only)
- English LPCM 1.0 (both versions)

For the bulk of my viewing of the the Italian version, I opted for the English track, though I did flick across to the Italian in order to compare a few scenes. The audio track is generally good, but doesn't reach the standards of the transfer. Flicking between the English and Italian tracks I found the English track to have better levels of clarity and depth. Sometimes the Italian track sounded slightly harsh and it had a couple more light pops than is found in the English track. Other than that, the tracks sound fine. The score by Riz Ortolani ("Brutes and Savages", "Cannibal Holocaust") is typical of the genre, and plays through without issue. There are no issues with drop outs or background hiss.

Optional English subtitles have provided for all viewing options.

Extras

We start off the extras package with an archival interview with director Tonino Valerii (10:50). Conducted in 2008 by Roberto Curti, this interview has a closer look at the corruption theme of the story, the cast, and the writing. It's an interesting interview but too short to get into any real depth. In Italian with English subtitles.

Next, we have an interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi (13:04) who talks about how Giuliano Gemma was used to increase promotion of the film, the basis for the story, and the restrictions of the budget. It's certainly worth a listen, but I had hoped it would focus a lot more on the actual plot than diverting as often as it does. In Italian with English subtitles.

The interview with Italian cinema expert Roberto Curti (43:31) is easily the best extra included with this release. This is quite an encompassing interview where Curti talks not only about Valerii and his career, but also the spaghetti western genre in general. He touches on the popularity of certain actors, how Valerii became one of the more technically accomplished and character orientated directors in Italy, and inspirations behind some of the films. In English.

A deleted scene (1:32) is also included. This scene is actually present in the shorter International version of the film (included on this release) but not in the longer Italian version. It is, of course, a welcome addition.

The on-disc extras end with three theatrical trailers (5:54).

We also get a reversible cover and a booklet featuring an essay by spaghetti western expert Howard Hughes.

Overall

The Film: B+ Video: A- Audio: B Extras: C+ Overall: B+

 


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