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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "One violent soul is just an outlaw.. but violence by masses of men is called history."
"What's extraordinary is that a man like me has been a spectator for so many years before discovering the force within. Do you know what an intelligent man can do in a place like this where the most ignorant have been able to dominate?"

Perhaps more than any other western, Faccia a Faccia/Face to Face confronts the nature and morality of violence head on. Gian...
Published on 24 Jun 2011 by Trevor Willsmer

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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Face to Face DVD (2011) Review
Its good to have this on DVD at last, the title previously being available either as part of a (now out of print)box set by Koch Media in Germany, or as a grey market disc.

A word of warning. This is not your standard spaghetti western. Action is thin on the ground and those looking for the usual stylistic affectations of the genre won't find them much in...
Published on 29 July 2011 by Andrew McSkimming


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "One violent soul is just an outlaw.. but violence by masses of men is called history.", 24 Jun 2011
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Faccia A Faccia [AKA Face to Face] [DVD] [1967] (DVD)
"What's extraordinary is that a man like me has been a spectator for so many years before discovering the force within. Do you know what an intelligent man can do in a place like this where the most ignorant have been able to dominate?"

Perhaps more than any other western, Faccia a Faccia/Face to Face confronts the nature and morality of violence head on. Gian Maria Volonte plays an underachieving unambitious and consumptive Professor of History who goes west for his health. Kidnapped by Tomas Milian's uneducated killer, he finds himself being drawn away from being a spectator to become a willing participant in his violence. Soon he takes a more dominant role, planning their raids and then, when the remainder of the gang are either killed or captured, rejecting them for their weakness and turning the commune of losers where they hide out into a doomed dictatorship.

The principal characters are mere bandits rather than revolutionaries, pursuing no political agenda, yet the political content is much more overt than in better known political paella westerns like Damiano Damiani's A Bullet for the General. It is certainly the better directed film, with a good visual sense that runs through the entire film rather than in sporadic scenes. There are still some of the usual paella western problems (some, such as the clumsiness with the passage of time, down to cuts when the film was trimmed for the US market, are redressed in the uncut version) but the film is clearly thought through and superbly realised.

The equation of intellect and violence is made from the very beginning, where Volonte crumples up the pages of a book to throw at a lizard to wile away his boredom. At first he's confused, unable to distinguish between the rules of survival and overriding instinct, and when he adapts to his environment he goes to extremes because of the weakness of character that makes him the most civilized of men among civilized company and the most violent in violent company. His actions are more abhorrent than Milian's for the reasoning behind them. As he points out, they both do the same things "but with a difference. I know what I'm doing." It is his cold calculation that finally gives the bandit's instinctive violence and the Pinkerton agent who betrays him a sense of moral superiority.

Unfortunately, his growing megalomania is interrupted by the intervention of an army of vigilantes who are not too particular about who they kill, leaving some of the film's potential untapped, but it is never a disappointment. Indeed, it is full of striking and memorable moments. Two rival bosses greet each other civilly and sit down to watch their respective hired guns battle it out in the street below; a robber compliments the Pinkerton man on his shooting as he dies; Volonte discusses the philosophy of violence with the 'intellectual equal' he is torturing - "One violent soul is just an outlaw.. but violence by masses of men is called history."

Volonte, as the Kevin Kline-ish academic who adapts to his violent surroundings like a moral chameleon, and Milian as the gradually more disconcerted bandit are both superb in their very different styles of performance (the two actors apparently took an instant dislike to each other that Sollima exploited for dramatic effect), giving considerably more layered and subtle performances than is the norm for the genre even if Volonte does rather overplay the professor's timidity in his early scenes. Ennio Morricone's fractured, tormented score, while far from his most melodic, is easily one of his best and compliments both the film's ideas and images admirably. Both engrossing and entertaining, Faccia a Faccia is one of the very best westerns of the sixties and one that never lets its audience suffer for its considerable intelligence and ambition.

It's certainly a departure from Sollima's previous film with Milian, The Big Gundown, with its studio imposed happy ending, or their subsequent treasure hunt capers in Run Man Run. In many ways it's the kind of film that could only have come from a country trying to come to terms with how so many intelligent people not only supported and intellectually justified its fascist dictatorship but willingly joined in with its crimes as well. Although co-writer Sergio Donati felt the script over-emphatic, it's a remarkably economic affair, packing a lot into many of its scenes - emotional beats as much as ideas - without ever letting them seem overloaded or interrupting the natural flow of the story or the character development.

The old Aktiv video release was an English-language version that was cut for US release, but thankfully Eureka's much delayed PAL DVD is the uncut Italian-language version running 16 minutes longer in its original ratio. The additions are surprisingly substantial - particularly a long scene where Volante, overplaying the timidity, is unable to cut the bullet out of Milian's wound, so the bandit does it himself; a telling sequence where Volante is able to shoot at targets but not a live rabbit; an attempted seduction; the Pinkerton man buying his way into the gang by killing a sheriff; Brad cheering up an old outlaw he later mistreats; the authorities discussing how Brad has become worse than his mentor; and Bennett getting him into a gunfight to see if he really has the killer instinct.

There's also a 16-minute interview with Sollima, the Italian trailer (minus captions) and, in much poorer quality, the American trailer as well as a 16-page booklet. The picture quality is certainly the best it's ever looked on home video, though like many Techniscope films you'll notice the limitations of the source material if you watch it on too big a screen (the `poor man's CinemaScope,' Techniscope used only half of a 35mm frame for its widescreen image, with a noticeable reduction in quality). All in all a forgotten Italian western well worth remembering.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars face to face, 18 July 2013
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This review is from: Faccia A Faccia [AKA Face to Face] [DVD] [1967] (DVD)
Transfer to the dvd is quite good,the movie is quite different if compared with other spaghetti westerns,it's cerebral and deep,and it's on my mind just like the great sergio leone's once upon a time in the west.
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5.0 out of 5 stars an uncommon and even rare film made available, 6 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Faccia A Faccia [AKA Face to Face] [DVD] [1967] (DVD)
fast and well packed, a highly recommendable service to use. i shall look for other spagaetti western and other films on this site
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Face to Face DVD (2011) Review, 29 July 2011
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This review is from: Faccia A Faccia [AKA Face to Face] [DVD] [1967] (DVD)
Its good to have this on DVD at last, the title previously being available either as part of a (now out of print)box set by Koch Media in Germany, or as a grey market disc.

A word of warning. This is not your standard spaghetti western. Action is thin on the ground and those looking for the usual stylistic affectations of the genre won't find them much in evidence here. This is a study of power and morality and Director Sergio Sollima goes for a fairly restrained visual approach, which is miles away from say, that of Sergio Leone. It is a pretty unspectacular-looking western. Performances are similarly restrained, with both Milian and Volonte giving more controlled and tamped-down performances than we are perhaps used to seeing.

Eureka's disc has acceptable but not great video quality. Its in the correct widescreen Techniscope aspect ratio and is anamorphic. The print exhibits considerable grain - more than I would have expected - and light print damage, which is fortunately not distracting. The audio is the original Italian dub with new English subtitles.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Skip this version - buy German!, 15 Dec 2012
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Cinetastic (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Faccia A Faccia [AKA Face to Face] [DVD] [1967] (DVD)
Originally announced as a Blu-ray release for the UK, this was abaondoned as the picture elements made available were not seemingly good enough claimed the company, and it reverted to a PAL DVD. We were also promised an english language track, but this too was abandoned and does not appear on the final specifications of the released DVD.

What went wrong? I would suggest making a 4K scan of the original Techniscope negative, finding the best available english language from an optical print (or master tape if at all available) and filling any audio gaps with a carefully extracted and not overly filtered/cleaned-up english language from the old UK VHS Techno Film (Fletcher) which I am told contains a longer version of the film than the print aired by the BBC and the old Aktiv label VHS.

So the best version currently on sale (12 October 2012) is the recent German Explosive Media (Alive) release at:
(copy and paste into your browser)

http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B009229F8A

(which is not currently listed on the UK site)
as it has the anamorphic print, a choice of English/German/Italian languages (although the english is NOT complete and subtitles are used over some scenes in Italian).

There is a French DVD which has a similar print quality offering a particularly clear French audio track and Italian audio should that be of any interest too.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Top end of artistic Spaghetti., 26 Jun 2011
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An excellent entry in the Spaghetti Western genre.

A warning for those we don't like subtitles; there is NO English language, badly dubbed, laughable accent version here.

Just the original Italian soundtrack with accurate English subtitles.

But, in my view, that's a far better way to view these films.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but it didn't really move me., 22 May 2011
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This review is from: Faccia A Faccia [AKA Face to Face] [DVD] [1967] (DVD)
Sergio Sollima's followup to "The Big Gundown". It loses Lee Van Cleef, but Tomas Milian returns. Morricone does the music again, though it's far from his best work. A new character is introduced, an prudish history professor (Volonte) moves to Texas for health reasons and end up being taken hostage by escaping bandit Milian. Eventually the professors ethics influence the criminal, while the bandits free spirit influences the prude. Not a bad idea, but I must admit that it isn't my cup of tea. I miss the OTT Volonte of Leone's movies.

Strangest for me is that I found Volonte completely unrecognizable compared to the guy who played "El Indio" in "For a Few Dollars More" just two years earlier.

I should also mention that the version I saw was the cultcine.com version which includes a 2.0 English soundtrack... complete with some naff fake-posh voice dubbing Volonte, which rather detracted from my enjoyment of the movie. I don't see in the technical details above whether this new release includes an English soundtrack.
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