Sunday, March 15, 2015

Day of Anger (Arrow Blu-ray)

While I am a fan of Italian cinema and that fandom spans more than just the horror genre, I wanted to take a look and report back on Day of Anger for you. This is the new Blu-ray from Arrow Video that will be available in the U.S. on March 31st. I've been slowly but surely working my way into Italian Westerns most recently enjoy The Big Gundown. While Day of Anger isn't quite the caliber of Big Gundown in terms of scope, story or sheer size, Day of Anger epitomizes the characteristics that made the Spaghetti Western a lasting favorite of cult movie enthusiasts. While I may not believe that Day of Anger is quite the movie that Gundown is, that didn't stop Arrow from creating a powerful experience in terms of a Blu-ray release that comes close the treatment Gundown received from Grindhouse Releasing.

The disc looks great. Nice transfer. Not too much DNR (if any really). Arrow does this aspect quite well. The colors are rich with deep reds and browns that really are the signature look of the genre. The extra package is extensive. Here's the list from Arrow including a detailed walk through two different versions as well as the audio options included.  Plenty of interviews, deleted scenes, trailers and the typical arrow treatment of a reversible cover and booklet.

  • Brand new restoration from the original 35mm Techniscope camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of both versions of the film: the original Italian theatrical release, and the shortened version that was screened internationally
  • Original uncompressed mono audio, with English or Italian soundtracks on the longer cut and an English soundtrack on the shorter one
  • Newly translated English subtitles for Italian audio and optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for English audio
  • Brand new interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi
  • Brand new interview with Tonino Valerii’s biographer Roberto Curti
  • Previously unreleased 2008 interview with Tonino Valerii
  • Deleted scene
  • Theatrical trailers
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist
  • Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Howard Hughes (author of Spaghetti Westerns), illustrated with original poster designs
Day of Anger has big music which is a must if you want to be considered a real player in the Italian Western market. Riz Ortolani provides the score. That means you know it's great. 

The film overall feels less brutal than some of its counterparts. Sergio Leone was the master of these and this was directed by Leone's former assistant Tonino Valerii. I'd hate to call it watered down, but perhaps ordinary is a better word. It looks like a Western. It sounds and feels like a Western, but it isn't raw nerve. This shouldn't deter you from seeing the film mind you. A fan of the genre will love this for its simplicity. If you stick around for the big finish you'll get some of the blood and brutality that the Italians do best. Day of Anger has the scenes you'll want to see and the story line will keep you interested. The real reason you watch Day of Anger is for the Lee Van Cleef performance that can carry even the worst Western of this era. 

It's a great addition to the restoration efforts we've seen so far surrounding Italian cinema of the 60's, and it's sure to bring a new audience to both this movie and Arrow product given the US release. I question why Day of Anger. Why in the first month of Arrow's foray in the states? It is considered to be a genre aficionado favorite per the release notes from Arrow. It must be a matter of convenience more than anything, having been releasing it for UK consumption. Mark of the Devil and Blind Woman's Curse also hit this month, but April will see highly anticipated title in Mario Bava's giallo masterpiece, Blood and Black Lace (yet another Arrow/Italian film release). 

You can order Day of Anger now:

Synopsis from Arrow:

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?

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