Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 30th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1968
Director: Camillo Bazzoni
Writers: Roberto Natale, Steve Reeves
Cast: Steve Reeves, Wayde Preston, Guido Lollobrigida, Mimmo Palmara, Silvana Venturelli, Nello Pazzafini, Franco Fantasia, Aldo Sambrell, Rosalba Neri, Mario Maranzana, Giovanni Ivan Scratuglia
DVD released: January 11th, 2011
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Code Red
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $17.98
Synopsis: A man and his brother are framed for a robbery that they did not commit and sent to Yuma Penitentiary. While in prison his brother dies at the hands of the sadistic prison guards. With nothing left to lose he agrees to participate in a prison break. After regaining his freedom he tracks down those responsible for framing him for a crime he did not commit.
A Long Ride From Hell Camillo Bazzoni (Mafia Connection). The screenplay for A Long Ride From Hell was co-written by Steve Reeves (his first and only screenwriting credit) and Roberto Natale, who’s other notable screenwriting credits include Bloody Pit of Horror, Kill Baby Kill, Lisa and Devil and Watch Me When I Kill. The screenplay was adapted from a novel written by Gordon D. Shirreffs titled ‘Judas Gun’. The cinematographer on A Long Ride From Hell was Enzo Barboni, who would go onto becoming a director in his own right. Directing Spaghetti Western comedies like They Call Me Trinity… and Trinity Is Still My Name! The composer on A Long Ride From Hell was Carlo Savina, who’s other notable scores include Naked You Die, The Legend of Blood Castle, Lisa and the Devil and The Killer Reserved Nine Seats.
After solidifying his place as one of the more in demand American actors working Italy during the late 1950’s and the early 1960’s. Steve Reeves who had for the bulk of his career worked in the Peplum genre. Most notably in the role of Hercules. He would for his swan song as an actor make the shift towards the Spaghetti Western genre. Which around the same time was also reaching its apex. And while appearing in a Spaghetti Western might appear to be an odd choice for Steve Reeves. It is not difficult to imagine him as the lead in a Spaghetti Western. Since the majority of his previous roles were cut from a similar mold. And just like those characters Mike Sturges would have to overcome insurmountable odds in his quest for vengeance.
Even though the main sub plot revolves around a heist were gold is stolen from a train. This film is first and foremost a tale about revenge. One area where this film stands out from many of its contemporaries are the scenes at Yuma Penitentiary in which the prisoners are often at the mercy of the sadistic prison guards. From an action stand point this film also holds up very well. There are plenty of shoot outs, fist fights and even the stereo typical bar room brawl is thrown in for good measure. Visually the film goes for a more stark style than the more typical operatic style that has become synonymous with the Spaghetti Western genre. Performance wise the entire cast are great in their respective roles with Spartaco Conversi (The Great Silence), in the role of the lead prison guards being the film’s most memorable performance. Another performance of note is Rosalba Neri (Lady Frankenstein) in the role of a prostitute. When all is said and done, A Long Ride From Hell is a middle of the road Spaghetti Western that would have remained in obscurity if it were not for the presence of Steve Reeves in the title role this film.
Code Red presents A Long Hard Ride From Hell in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. This film was previously released by Wild East on DVD in 2009 and that release was not only non anamorphic, it also had combing and PAL to NTSC conversion issues. For this release Code Red have created a brand new Hi Def transfer that blows away all previous releases of this film. Code Red’s transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. Colors look strong and remain consistent throughout. Black levels look very good and details look sharp. Also Code Red’s DVD release is a dual layer presentation that has no problems with compression, edge enhancement is kept in check and the image remains stable throughout. It should be noted that there is some very mild instances of print debris.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Background hiss is minimal, dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include a image gallery that has music from the film playing in the background, a trailer for the film (1 minute 1 second – 4:3 full frame), a segment titled ‘At Home with Steve Reeves’ (13 minutes 45 seconds – 4:3 full frame in Italian and English with English subtitles) and a lengthy interview with Mimmo Palmara (57 minutes 57 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Italian with English subtitles). The segment with Steve Reeves has nothing to do with A Long Hard Ride From Hell or any of his other films. It is essentially a day in life with Steve as some fans hang out with at his home. The interview with Mimmo Palmara covers the majority of the films he worked on. Other topics include working with Steve Reeves, how he got his alias Dick Palmer, his friendship with Sergio Leone and stunt work. The image gallery, the segment with Steve Reeves and interview with Mimmo Palmara all previously appeared on Wild East’s region 1 DVD release of A Long Hard Ride From Hell. Also included with this release are trailers for Family Honor, Slithis, Horror High, Stigma, Rivals, The Black Clansman, The Carrier, Tomcats and They’re the Gestapo Warriors. Overall Code Red gives A Long Hard Ride From Hell its best release to date.