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The Good The Bad and The Blu-Ray !
on 7 June 2010
Ok well lets start by saying I won't be reviewing the films here or getting bogged down in the is it even a triolgy debate. Others have been doing this over the last 44 years so im sure you have read it all before.
There have been a few mixed reviews on other sites so let me throw in my hat in the ring pardner and see if its any good...
All three films are presented in full 1080p 24fps and appear to be the same extended versions that appeared in the last re-release of the 3 films on DVD in 2005.
A Fistful Of Dollars (1964) Runtime 99 minutes
For A Few Dollars More (1965) Runtime 132 minutes
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966) Runtime 179 minutes
In terms of picture quality all three films show some wear with occasional artefacts (white speck holes in the film) but a lot of tidying up has been done on all three. Making a direct comparison to the previous release on DVD of the 3 films, this is the best these films have ever looked and by some distance. The usual vibrant colours associated with the blu ray format are not so obvious but this is not a bad thing. The overall feel is a slightly drab colour pallet and an age to the images which is appropriate for films as they spend so much time with white adobe building sets and faded costumes worn on the dusty trails, but the magic of blu ray is apparent throughout. The close up work that Leone made as his own trademark is wonderful. The scarring on the heavy set faces are a rogues gallery of glorious characters that fill all 3 movies.
The Audio on all 3 films is remastered in English 5:1 DTS-HD. Although im sure many folks are aware of the dubbing issues in all three films. I have to add the sound is fantastic and the reason for the lips and words not matching on for the non english speaking actors is down to the fact the these films had the sound added after the filming, in order to cater to the Italian, German and Spanish markets the films were made for. So basically all the actors added the dialogue in there native tongue and where then redubbed depending on country the film was being being distributed to. The main advantage of adding the sound after was that layers of sound effects could be added which along with Ennio Morricones glorious musical score creates an atmosphere par excellence.
The Extras are plentiful on all 3 films and appear to same as the previous DVD release with 2 new features added.
So is it worth the switch ? Well I think it is. I gave the box set 4 stars as the actual quality of the films may not be what a lot of folks regard as "Excellent Blu-ray". The images are not as vibrant or bright as the the latest Blu-Ray films and the artefacts although not overly abundant in the movies are non the less still there, But we are viewing films made 44-46 years ago that were made as B movie westerns for the Italian,Spanish and German market. They weren't picked up by the USA till 1967 which is mean't they had all 3 movies in 1 hit which explains the desire to make them appear to be a trilogy. So although I do believe that maybe the films could be cleaned a little further and maybe they could shine them up so more Im not really sure i won't them to. I really don't think its either viable (some of the reinserted scenes from the original Italian versions where saved from destruction) or necessary as they appear as they should and these as i said earlier are the cleanest and clearest versions out at the moment.
Well I really enjoyed all 3 films and will enjoy them again and again and again
But maybe im just someone who misses the scratching noise you got when you played old vinly records :)
Some Extra Info added about language and subtitles
Audio and Subtitle Information
Fist Full of Dollars
English DTS-HD Multi Channel , French DTS Multi Channel, Spanish 2 Channel Digital, English 2 Channel Sir Christopher Frayling commentary.
English Hard of Hearing, Spanish, French (Quebecois) French, Portugese, Portugese (Brazil), Polish, Greek, Chinese and Korean.
For A Few Dollars More
English DTS-HD Multi Channel, English Digital (mono), Spanish digital (mono) , English 2 Channel Sir Christopher Frayling commentary.
English, Spanish & French
The Good The Bad And The Ugly.
English DTS-HD Multi Channel , English Digital (Mono), German DTS Multi Channel, Portugese Digital Multi Channel, French Digital multi Channel, Italian Digital (Mono), Spanish Digital Multi Channel, Thai Digital 2 Channel, English 2 Channel Sir Christopher Frayling commentary, English 2 Channel Richard Schickel commentary.
English Hard of Hearing, German,German Text, Spanish, Spanish Text, French Text, Portugese,Portugese Text, Chinese, Korean, Italian. There are also several variant subtitles in German and English that feature text versions of the Audio Commentary.
The worse supported film is the few dollars which is the only film of the 3 that is only region AB not ABC.