Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 2nd, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1967
Director: Luigi Bazzoni
Writers: Luigi Bazzoni, Suso Cecchi D’Amico
Cast: Franco Nero, Tina Aumont, Klaus Kinski, Guido Lollobrigida, Franco Ressel, Karl Schönböck, Alberto Dell’Acqua
BluRay released: May 26th, 2015
Approximate running times: 100 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono Italian
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, English for Italian Version
BluRay Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98
Man, Pride and Vengeance was directed by Luigi Bazzoni who excluding short films and documentaries only directed four other feature films, The Possessed, The Fifth Cord, The Short and Happy Life of Brothers Blue and Footprints. Key collaborators on Man, Pride and Vengeance include cinematographer Camillo Bazzoni (A Long Ride from Hell), composer Carlo Rustichelli (The Whip and The Body, Blood and Black Lace), screenwriter Suso Cecchi D’Amico (Bicycle Thieves, Casanova ’70) and camera operator Vittorio Storaro (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, The Conformist). The screenplay for this film was adapted from Prosper Mérimée ‘s novella Carmen.
Though Pride, Man and Vengeance has many of the elements which have since become synonymous with the Spaghetti western genre. The end result is something closer to period melodrama set in Spain during the 19th century.
Structurally the film one of two halves, with the first half falling into that aforementioned melodrama category and the second half being the half that most resembles the Spaghetti western genre. And too tie these two distinctively different halves together is a bookend ending.
Also when it comes to tone of the film and the visuals this is another area where these halves are polar opposites. With each half representing this film’s protagonist a Spanish solider named Don Jose state of mind. And when it comes to action oriented moments this film delivers and then some. With its extraordinary use of handheld camerawork.
As well as all the parts of this movie come together. It is ultimately the weight of the performances of its two leads Franco Nero in the role of Don Jose and Tina Aumont (Torso, Lifespan) in the iconic role of Carmen which carry this film. And though he is most known for portraying tough as nails characters, Nero gives a pitch perfect performance of a man whose obsessive love stripes him of his sanity. Perhaps the most surprising asset of this film is Aumont in the role of the temptress. She gives an utterly convincing performance that easily ranks among her best work as an actress. Another performance of note is Klaus Kinski (Venus in Furs, Slaughter Hotel) menacing presence in the role of Garcia, Carmen’s Husband.
Man, Pride and Vengeance comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The sourced used for this brand new HD transfer looks great. Colors are nicely saturated, flesh tones look accurate and details look crisp. Contrast and black levels look consistent and strong throughout. There are no issues with compression and DNR has been kept in check. In regards to grain, outside of few minor instances it looks like it is intact and has not been overly manipulated.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and a DTS-HD mono mix in Italian. Both audio mixes sound clean, clear and balanced throughout. Range wise considering the mono limitations and that both audio mixes were created in post. The end result is actually very good as gun shots and other special effects are well represented. Also when it comes to the film’s score is sounds appropriately robust. Also included with this release are four subtitles options, English SDH, French, Spanish and English for Italian Version.
Extras for this release include, a poster & stills gallery, two trailer, International (3 minutes 42 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen) and Italian (3 minutes 44 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen, in Italian no English subtitles), a featurette titled ‘Franco, Vittorio and Luigi’ (28 minutes 45 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles) with comments from actor Franco Nero and camera operator Vittorio Storaro and an audio commentary with journalists C. Courtney Joyner and Henry C. Parke.
Topics discussed by Franco Nero include, why he has such high regard for Man, Pride and Vengeance, how early on is his career he forged friendship’s Luigi Bazzoni, Camillo Bazzoni, Vittorio Storaro and Gianfranco Tarnsunto and whenever possible they would try to work together, getting cast for the film The Bible and working with John Huston, Camelot, how he almost lost that role and how that film lead to a multi picture deal with Warner Brothers, How he got out of his contract with Warner Brothers, Man, Pride and Vengeance and why they made their adapted Prosper Mérimée ‘s Carmen into a western, the cast, the look of the film, how in Germany the majority of his films have Django in the title, The Fifth Cord and unrealized collaborations with Luigi Bazzoni.
Topics discussed by Vittorio Storaro include, how this core group of friends remained active making films in between their projects working together, Franco Nero and how he was destined to be an actor known worldwide, the origins of Man, Pride and Vengeance, the look of the film and how he worked as the camera operator.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, the look of the film, locations featured in the film, how the film’s bookend opening gives the false impression that this film is a western, the cast, the origins of this film and how it was adapted from Prosper Mérimée ‘s Carmen, editing and their thoughts on key moments.
Overall Man, Pride and Vengeance gets an excellent release from Blue Underground.
Note: This film is also being released by Blue Underground on DVD.