Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 22nd, 2005
|Theatrical Release Date: Italy, August 27th, 1964
Director: Sergio Leone
Writers: A. Bonzzoni, Víctor Andrés Catena, Jaime Comas Gil, Fernando Di Leo, Sergio Leone
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonté, Marianne Koch
|Approximate running time:||100 minutes||96 minutes|
|Aspect Ratio:||2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
/ 4:3 Pan and Scan
|2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen|
|Sound:||Dolby Digital Mono English||Dolby Digital DTS and 5.1 English|
|Region Coding:||Region 1 NTSC||Region 2 PAL|
The Film :
The Man with No Name/The Stranger (Clint Eastwood) finds trouble upon his arrival in Juan de Dios. There are two local gangs the Rojos and the Baxters who are in a war over control of the town. The Stranger quickly realizes that he can make a fortune pitting the two rival fractions against each other by working for both sides. Has The Stranger bitten off more then he can chew or with his schemes make him a very rich man?
When MGM original release a Fistful of Dollars nearly six years ago on DVD in region 1 even then the video looked like it had seen better days. It suffered from color bleeding and print damage was noticeable through out. Now MGM has recently released in region 2 a new special edition DVD for a Fistful of Dollars that looks amazing. Colors look lucid with natural looking flesh tones through out. The image looks sharper then before with solid black levels and there are no problems with edge enhancement or compression. There have been some minor complaints on the internet about this transfer having an excessive blue tint that wasn’t present before. While watching this transfer I noticed no such problem and this is simply the best this film ahs ever looked on home video.
MGM’s region 1 release comes with two audio option English and French both are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. There is some minor hiss and other sound defects at times. The dialog sound to thin and action sounds muffled at times. For this new SE DVD release MGM has neglected to include the films original mono mix. Instead they have decided to include a new DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 both available in English. These new remixes will have their detractors who have preferred the inclusion of the original mono mix. Overall the DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mixes offer crystal clear dialog and the action sounds more robust. Ennio Morricone’s score is given a fresh start as it and this film have never sounded better. Overall the main difference between the DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mixes is minor with the DTS offering a slightly more beefed up sound. English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired have been included.
MGM’s region DVD 1 is light when it comes to extras. The only extras included for this release is the films original trailer and a four page booklet that contains cast and production notes. MGM’s special edition region 2 DVD comes with a wealth of extras including a photo gallery, radio spots, the films original trailer and a double bill trailer for the first two dollars films. Other extras include four featurettes “Five Voices”, “Not Ready for Primetime”, “Restoration Italian Style”, “Location Comparisons” and an additional scene “The Network Prolog”. This release also comes with two documentaries “A New Kind of Hero” and “A Few Weeks in Spain”. Rounding out the extras for this release is an audio commentary by Sergio Leone biographer Christopher Frayling. The extras included for this special edition release cover a lot of ground and rarely is any information repeated.
MGM for this new region 2 SE release have not only loaded this DVD up with enough extras to satisfy even the most hardcore fan they have beautifully restored the audio/video to its former glory. MGM region 2 SE soundly beats their region1 DVD in every way. This truly is the definitive release of this film on DVD and while some fans of this film may be content waiting for the region 1 release from MGM which at this moment has no slated release date in the foreseeable future.