6.7 C
New York
Saturday, November 28, 2020
Advertisement

A Fistful of Dollars Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: A
  • Rating: R
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: MGM
  • Blu-ray Release Date: August 2, 2011
  • List Price: $16.99

[amazon-product]B004IGF1QK[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)


The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

Sergio Leone directed a series of films, based in Italy, and subsequently dubbed “spaghetti Westerns”. Like its predecessor, The Magnificent Seven, which was a remake of the Japanese film, Seven Samurai, A Fistful of Dollars, released in 1964, was a remake of the Japanese classic YojimboA Fistful of Dollars ushered in For A Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, and eventually the big kahuna,  Once Upon a Time in the West. Despite being obviously dubbed-in English for some of the cast, the groundwork for a legendary movie genre was spawned. Evocative camera work, coupled with an emotionally on point score, signaled the beginning of a different type of Western in which good and evil, principled and amoral, coexist within blurred lines of distinction. Clint Eastwood, then a relatively little known American actor, got the opportunity of a lifetime  to star in this low-budget film, and to create a new archetypal film anti-hero, “the man with no name.” There is a rawness to A Fistful of Dollars that is at once refreshing and a hint of things yet to come. Objectively, the soundtrack is compressed mono, the print quality decent, and the overall editing economical. The storyline is actually sophisticated for a Western, focusing on a loner gunman who interposes himself in the feud between two warring factions inhabiting a Mexican border town.

Video Quality

[Rating:3/5]

The close up shots, and there are plenty, look quite surprisingly crisp. It is the sudden and dramatic use of isolated shots of faces, shoes, holstered weapons, and other props that became a Leone trademark in his later films. The distant and night scenes appear slightly grainy, probably a casualty of time on the original print. The gun fights are superbly orchestrated and the rundown character of the town, well captured.  One of the few distractions is the clearly fake blood (acrylic paint?) on the characters’s faces. This would certainly not fly in today’s theaters. The camera work is trailblazing for its era and the occasional miscalculation is outweighed by the immediacy and impact of the cinematic drama.

Audio Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is a remastering of a monaural recording. As such, it will deliver a somewhat flat acoustic. However, one can hear the genesis of the subsequent films in this series, and the ultimate inspiration for film composer Ennio Morricone, and his score for Once Upon A Time in the West. There is no obvious surround information.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

An interesting sidelight by Sir Christopher Frayling, Sergio Leone’s biographer, looks at the marketing of this film. There are several other sidebar short subjects that go into the making and reception of this film, all of which are worth the watch.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Using the analogy of the Wagnerian Ring Cycle, in which Das Rheingold is the prologue, one can view A Fistful of Dollars as occupying a similar relationship to the Leone films that followed, culminating in spaghetti Western’s Gotterdammerung,  Once Upon a Time in the West.  In spite of the copious violence portrayed on screen, there is almost a Shakespearean backdrop which involves Eastwood’s nameless character playing off one gang against the other until, with his assistance, they are all eliminated. Depth of character development is not the main thrust of this film; this is one area that improved greatly with the later Leone films. In spite of some of the visual and audio shortcomings noted above, and the one-dimensionality of nearly all of the characters except Eastwood’s, A Fistful of Dollars is worthy of your consideration.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B004IGF1QK[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Join the Discussion on Our Forum

Advertisement

Related Articles

TheaterByte’s Holiday Gift Guide for 2020

Let’s focus on the donut here: BEST Home Entertainment Holiday EVER.

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

A stunning 4K Ultra HD restoration of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy arrives.

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent entry (or farewell?) for this beloved franchise with lots of action and great animation.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

301FansLike
0FollowersFollow
723FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Notice of Compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR part 255 guidelines, this website hereby states that it receives free discs and other theatrical or home entertainment “screeners” and access to screening links from studios and/or PR firms, and is provided with consumer electronics devices on loan from hardware manufacturers and/or PR firms respectively for the purposes of evaluating the products and its content for editorial reviews. We receive no compensation from these companies for our opinions or for the writing of reviews or editorials.
Permission is sometimes granted to companies to quote our work and editorial reviews free of charge. Our website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or the services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Latest Articles

TheaterByte’s Holiday Gift Guide for 2020

Let’s focus on the donut here: BEST Home Entertainment Holiday EVER.

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

A stunning 4K Ultra HD restoration of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy arrives.

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent entry (or farewell?) for this beloved franchise with lots of action and great animation.

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (Blu-ray Review)

This is an uneven but still fun to watch sequel to the 2016 smash hit zombie/action movie lands on Blu-ray with a rollicking Atmos mix.

Chernobyl (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

The account of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Ukraine, Soviet Union, and the subsequent health and political fallout is told in five gripping episodes.
%d bloggers like this: