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Blood Money: Four Western Classics Vol. 2 [Limited Edition] (Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film ($10,000 Blood Money)
The Film (Vengeance is Mine)
The Film (Find a Place to Die)
The Film (Matalo!)
The Video ($10,000 Blood Money)
The Video (Vengeance is Mine)
The Video (Find a Place to Die)
The Video (Matalo!)
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

A collection of four rare Italian "spaghetti westerns" not directed by Sergio Leone features scoundrels, antiheroes, and greedy bandits.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Arrow gathers four 1960s spaghetti westerns all from directors not named Sergio Leone for this Blood Money: Four Western Classics Vol. 2 4-disc collection. Filled with antiheroes, cheats, rapacious crooks, and gorgeous women, the four films in this collection should appeal to anyone who enjoys the “Dollars” trilogy from Leone.

The first film in the Blood Money collection helps to give the set its name, $10,000 Blood Money starring Gianni Garko taking on the role of beloved western
antihero, Django. Hired by a wealthy landowner, Django is on the trail of bandit Manuel Vasquez (Claudio Camaso), who has kidnapped the wealthy landowner’s daughter, Django decides to switch allegiances since the bounty is not high enough and work with the bandit, but a double cross ensues. This is the perfect film to get things started in this collection, with its familiar protagonist and visual style.

The collection moves on to Vengeance is Mine, with Gianni Garko and Claudio Camaso playing estranged brothers, both veterans of opposite sides of the Civil War, one now riding with a group of renegades and the other tasked with bringing him back home. This film loses some of the energy from the first film but is still a fun one to watch given the family drama, and unscrupulous characters.

The fourth film is what I consider to be the best film in the collection, Find a Place to Die. This one is the closet to an American-style western, but that is not what makes it the best. It has the easiest to follow story, intense action, and of course, a group of greedy characters out for gold. Jeffrey Hunter plays Joe Collins, a disgraced former Confederate soldier who assembles a ragtag band of scoundrels. When a woman comes to him seeking help, Collins tries to redeem himself by protecting her against the men who would seek to do her harm and steal her gold mine claim from her.

Finally, the collection wraps up with the almost psychedelic and surreal Matalo! (Kill Him), featuring a cast of Euro-Cult actors and what feels like a nonlinear narrative about a group of bandits who arrive in a ghost town and terrorize a couple. Things go sideways for them when the man fights back with boomerangs. This one is less like a Leone imitation and more like an attempt at a Alejandro Jodorowsky western like El Topo.

  • Vengeance Is Mine (1967)
  • Gianni Garko in ,000 Blood Money (1967)
  • Blood Money V2 -- AV504 (Arrow Video)
  • Blood Money V2 -- AV504 (Arrow Video)
  • Blood Money V2 -- AV504 (Arrow Video)

The Video

Presented from brand new 2K restorations of all four films from the original 35mm camera negatives by Arrow Films, each film is supplied in an AVC 1080p encodement. While they all look clean, the variations in quality come from the source materials and production. The first two films have a similar quality and granularity, while the third film, Find a Place to Die, is not as crisp, looking a little softer. That said, all four films have good color reproduction and shadow delineation, and are free from serious issues like detrimental edge enhancement or macroblocking.

The Audio

Each film in the Blood Money set gets the newly restored Italian monaural soundtrack and English dub in LPCM 1.0. The sound is generally narrow in range but is free from major hiss or other noises.

The Supplements

Arrow fills Blood Money with an image gallery on every disc, new interviews and introductions for each film, and three new audio commentaries, in addition to other material.

4-disc Limited Edition Contents:

  • Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by author and critic Howard Hughes
  • Fold-out double-sided poster featuring newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx
  • Limited edition packaging with reversible sleeves featuring original artwork and a slipcover featuring newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

Disc 1 – $10,000 Blood Money

  • Brand new audio commentary by author and film historian Lee Broughton
  • A Shaman in the West (1080p; 00:10:05) – A brand new introduction to the film by journalist and critic Fabio Melelli
  • Tears of Django (1080p; 00:21:58) – Newly edited featurette with archival interviews with director Romolo Guerrieri and actor Gianni Garko
  • The Producer Who Didn’t Like Western Movies (1080p; 00:14:18) – Brand new interview with producer Mino Loy
  • How the West Was Won (1080p; 00:19:21) – Brand new interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi
  • Italian Trailer (1080p; 00:03:26)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

Disc 2 – Vengeance is Mine

  • Brand new audio commentary by critics Adrian J. Smith and David Flint
  • Crime and Punishment (1080p; 00:13:05) – A brand new introduction to the film by journalist and critic Fabio Melelli
  • Cain and Abel (1080p; 00:25:03) – Newly edited featurette from Freak-o-Rama with archival interviews with actor Gianni Garko and screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi
  • In Conversation with Nora Orlandi (1080p; 00:15:34) – Newly edited archival interview produced by Freak-o-Rama with the film’s iconic composer
  • Movie After Movie (1080p; 00:16:42) – Brand new interview with producer Mino Loy
  • Italian Trailer (1080p; 00:03:14)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

Disc 3 – Find a Place to Die

  • Brand new audio commentary by author and critic Howard Hughes
  • Venus and the Cowboys (1080p; 00:11:45) — A brand new introduction to the film by journalist and critic Fabio Melelli
  • Sons of Leone (1080p; 00:18:10) – Newly edited archival interview with director Giuliano Carnimeo
  • Traditional Figure (1080p; 00:31:17) – Brand new, in-depth appreciation of the soundtrack and its composer, Gianni Ferrio, by musician and disc collector Lovely Jon
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

Disc 4 – Matalo! (Kill Him)

  • Commentary by Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson
  • The Movie that Lived Twice (1080p; 00:16:09) – A brand new introduction to the film by journalist and critic Fabio Melelli
  • A Milanese Story (1080p; 00:44:42) –A brand new, in-depth interview with filmmaker Davide Pulici, discussing the career of Matalo! director Cesare Canevari
  • Untold Icon  (1080p; 00:39:28)– A brand new, in-depth appreciation of the soundtrack and its composer, Mario Migliardi, by musician and disc collector Lovely Jon
  • Italian trailer (1080p; 00:03:32)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

The Final Assessment

This is an altogether excellent collection of rare Italo Westerns from Arrow that is sure to please fans of this subgenre. The picture quality of the restorations is top notch overall and only limited by the original productions.


Blood Money: Four Western Classics — Vol. 2 [Limited Edition] is out on Blu-ray 25 July 2023 from Arrow Video


  • Rating Certificate: Not Rated
  • Studios & Distributors: Zenith Cinematografica | Flora Film | Aico Films | Atlantis Film | Rofima Cinematografica | Copercines, Cooperativa Cinematográfica | Arrow Video
  • Directors: Romolo Guerrieri ($10,000 Blood Money) | Giovanni Fago (Vengeance is Mine) | Giuliano Carnimeo (Find a Place to Die) | Cesare Canevari (Matalo!)
  • Run Time: 370 Mins.
  • Street Date: 25 July 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 | 1.85:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: Italian LPCM 1.0
  • Secondary Audio: English LPCM 1.0
  • Subtitles: English
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A collection of four rare Italian "spaghetti westerns" not directed by Sergio Leone features scoundrels, antiheroes, and greedy bandits.Blood Money: Four Western Classics Vol. 2 [Limited Edition] (Blu-ray Review)