Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 28th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1968
Director: Giorgio Stegani
Writers: Mino Roli, Giorgio Stegani, Fernando Di Leo, Lorenzo Sabatini, Inge Hilger
Cast: Lee Van Cleef, Antonio Sabato
|Approximate running time:||85m47s||109m39s|
|Aspect Ratio:||4:3 Pan and Scan (Full Frame)||2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen|
|Sound:||Dolby Digital Mono English||Dolby Digital Mono English and Italian with English subtitles|
|DVD Release:||Brentwood||Wild East|
|Region Coding:||Region 1 NTSC||Region 0 NTSC|
Ben Novack (Antonio Sabato) has been hired by a mining company to escort the payroll money safely to the workers after a recent attempt to do so have failed. Billy Joe Cudlip (Lee Van Cleef) is the mastermind behind these robberies. Ben Novack befriends Billy Joe Cudlip while searching for the thieves’ in the desert and the two quickly form a bond. For the next payroll run the mining company has hired the town sheriff to come along and this time there are determined to shoot anyone who attempts to steal the payroll. Billy Joe Cudlip wants nothing to do with this next job. His two former colleagues’ insist on robbing the payroll one last time. Billy Joe Cudlip offers to ride along with the sheriff and Ben Novack as added protection. At first this robbery appears to go off without a hitch that is until another group of bandits show up with plans of their own that include all the silver in the mines or they will kill every woman and child in town.
The Brentwood release is a mess. The image is severely cropped, colors bleed and look muted and the image lacks detail. The Wild East release presents the film in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Colors are strong with some minor instances with they look muted and flesh tones look healthy. Details look sharp in the foreground and there are few instances when some of the objects in the background look a tad to soft. There are also a few instances of minor print damage and noticeable artifacts.
The Brentwood release comes with one audio option an English language track that is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. The audio suffers from hiss through out and its also sounds muffled and distorted. The Wild East release comes with one audio option an English language track that is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. There are two scenes that are in Italian and they come with English subtitles. The dialog is easy to follow and there are no problems with hiss or distortion. Overall it is a vast improvement over the Brentwood audio mix.
The Brentwood like all budget label releases is bare of any real extras it does come with three other films Death Rides a Horse, God’s Gun and Boot Hill. Extras for the Wild East release include a trailer for the film, a photo gallery and alternate English credits for the film. Extras for The Grand Duel include a trailer for the film and a photo gallery. Wild East’s Beyond the Law is part of a Lee Van Cleef double feature and it is paired with the film The Grand Duel.
Wild East’s DVD marks the first time that this film is uncut and it is nearly twenty five minutes longer then Brentwood’s version. Overall the Wild East release blows away the Brentwood release without even breaking a sweat and even though the Wild East Transfer is far from being perfect it is a more then adequate substitute until something better comes along.