Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 4th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1969
Director: Giuliano Montaldo
Writers: Giuliano Montaldo, Mino Roli
Cast: John Cassavetes, Britt Ekland, Peter Falk, Gabriele Ferzetti, Luigi Pistilli, Florinda Bolkan, Gena Rowlands
BluRay released: August 24th, 2010
Approximate running time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
BluRay Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region 0
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: After serving twelve years for an armed robbery. An aging criminal named Hank McCain is approached by some small time crooks with an opportunity to make a quarter of million dollars. If he helps organize and pull off a casino heist.
Machine Gun McCain was co-written and directed by Giuliano Montaldo, who also directed another heist themed film Grand Slam and Sacco & Vanzetti.The screenplay for Machine Gun McCain was adapted from a crime novel title ‘Candyleg’ that was written by Ovid Demaris. The cinematographer on Machine Gun McCain was Erico Menczer, who’s other notable films as a cinematographer include Hired Killer (Tecnica di un omicidio), Emilio Miraglia’s Assassination, Lucio Fulci’s Beatrice Cenci, The Cat o’ Nine Tails and The Dead are Alive. The score for Machine Gun McCain was composed by Ennio Morricone, who once again provides an evocative and at times jarring score that is highlighted by the film’s main theme. Other notable crew members include production designer Flavio Mogherini (The Pyjama Girl Case, Crime of Passion) and editor Franco Fraticelli (Suspiria, Cemetery Man).
This film is equal parts crime caper and gangster film. There are plenty of double crosses thrown into the mix to shake things up. Even though the heist is used as the centerpiece of this film. It is not as elaborately drawn out as it was in Giuliano Montaldo’s similar themed heist film Grand Slam. Sure the story is nothing more than the bare essential with very little time devoted to back-story or character motivations. In most circumstances this would be a major flaw. Fortunately this film features an extraordinary cast who all excel in their various roles. The most surprising performance comes from John Cassavetes in the film’s lead role Hank McCain (Rosemary’s Baby). Another performance of note is Gena Rowlands (A Woman Under the Influence) who’s scenes stand out as the most memorable in the film. Ultimately Machine Gun McCain is a first rate thriller that immediately pulls you in and stays with you long after its bittersweet finale.
Machine Gun McCain comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. This marks Blue Underground’s first BluRay release of a title that they have not released previously. Quality wise this is a very good transfer with colors looking accurate, flesh tones looking healthy, black levels are solid and details look crisp throughout. There are no problems with compression and DNR is kept in check.
This release comes with one audio option, DTS-HD Mono English audio mix that sounds clean and clear throughout. Range wise the track is rather limited with the explosions, gun shots and Ennio Morricone’s score benefiting most from this score. This release comes with three subtitle options, English SDH, French and Spanish.
Extras for this release include a English language trailer (3 minutes 15 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a Italian language trailer with English subtitles (4 minutes 15 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and a interview with writer / director Giuliano Montaldo (22 minutes 36 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, Italian with English subtitles). The interview discusses the various stages of his career with the main focus being his films, Grand Slam and Machine Gun McCain. Overall Machine Gun McCain makes its North American home video debut via a solid BluRay release from Blue Underground.
Note: Blue Underground also released this title on DVD.