Welcome to theBad.net Lee Van Cleef Blog! Here you will find information, photos, videos, and some of my opinions of the badman himself.

Many thanks to the wonderful members of theBad.net Lee Van Cleef Web Board for their contributions and continued enthusiasm!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

DVD Compare: Death Rides a Horse


For as long as I can remember Death Rides a Horse has only been available in a terrible worn out pan scan version.  This is how I originally saw the movie on VHS in the early 90's.  It wasn't until the mid-90's that I saw a much better print on US television (still pan scan however).

The film can be found easily on DVD, possibly due to the film being in the public domain.  Every cheap DVD company tends to put this one out, and it can be found in pretty much every LVC budget collection.  No real difference from the VHS copies from the 90's.

In 2005 MGM released a widescreen version of DRAH on DVD in the UK (region 2). Unfortunatly most of us in the US cannot play these discs on our home players, not to mention that we would have to import it.

Finally Wild East in 2011 released in the US a 2:35 anamorphic transfer.  Unlike some other DVD comparisons where there are subtle differences, there is no comparison here between other US discs.  Wild East hits this one out of the park and puts every other US DVD version to shame.  Even the UK version seems a bit more compressed, causing a more jagged transfer (although this could have more to do with the PAL conversion)

See comparison below.  Make sure to click on the pics to enlarge


 Common pan scan print

 2011 Wild East transfer

2005 UK transfer

The Wild East version also contains-
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Television Spots
  • Photo Gallery
  • Audio interview with John Phillip Law

What more could you ask for?  Well... Blu-ray of course... but let's not get too greedy... yet...


Monday, May 28, 2012

Captain Apache - Color Press Photos

They call him Captain Apache!

Click on 'em to make 'em bigger.








Saturday, May 26, 2012

Official Primus LVC Music Video

I swear this will be my last Primus LVC post! 

Below is the newly released official music video for their song "Lee Van Cleef".  I'm not sure how I feel about a zombie LVC walking around the old west. 

We should however be thankful that LVC is getting some recognition in 2012!

Video is in HD!







Thursday, May 24, 2012

LVC Candids from PictureDesk

Thanks to Suzanne on the LVC Web Board for finding these candids on picturedesk.com.  The site is not in English, so I have no idea if you can buy these, etc..

Pictures look to be from the early to mid 1980's, featuring Lee and his wife Barbara.











Grand Duel - Blu-ray Review

After much anticipation I have finally received the blu-ray of The Grand Duel released by Mill Creek.

Upon announcement of this release, there were fears in the LVC community that this disc would merely be an upconvert from the very nice DVD that Wild East put out a few years ago.  You can put those fears to rest right now.  This is an all new transfer and it looks GREAT!

I'm not going to review the actual film, just the quality of the disc.  For general information on the movie click here

Overview

The print used for the transfer is titled "The Big Showdown".  Like many spaghetti westerns The Grand Duel has many titles.  I think the first time I saw it on VHS it was called "Storm Rider".
This version is longer than the previously released Wild East DVD.  While I have not done a complete side by side comparison, I did notice a scene on the blu-ray that I have often seen in the trailer, but never in the actual film on DVD; the scene where the dying old man wipes his bloody hand on Adam Saxon.  I am sure there are many more.

Wild East DVD run time: 1:30:38
Mill Creek Blu-ray run time: 1:33:48

Video

The presentation on this blu-ray far exceeded my expectations.  Admittedly I was worried at first as the background for the blu-ray menu showed an intentionally scratchy washed out print.

The print is pristine and blemish free.  It looks to be pulled from the original negative and not a interpositive based version as there are subtle jumps occasionally in between cuts.  As an original negative is literally glued together between cuts, over time the print will reveal these "bumps".  Not a huge deal.
Color is solid throughout, and film grain is well defined without being distracting.  Details are are very sharp on the extreme close ups.

Audio

The audio is nothing spectacular, but is clear.  There are some serious sync issues.  For example in the scene where LVC spins around and says "I never kill for money", was out of sync, which was not a problem in the Wild East version.  These type of sync issues are probably in 50% of the movie, and seem to occur in large chunks of run time.  I know Spaghetti Westerns are known for their dubbing, but the English should match!  Bummer.

In Conclusion

This disc can be purchased for well under $10.  Aside from the audio sync issues, I feel it is a great disc.  I popped in the Wild East DVD afterwards and found it to be unwatchable (but I am a Blu-ray snob).   Just buy the damn thing!

subtle package labeling!



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Shatner Rules" LVC Excerpt

V for Van Cleef!

I love William Shatner almost as much as I love Lee Van Cleef.  Below is an excerpt from Shat's book "Shatner Rules"

Remember Lee Van Cleef‘? He was a sinister layer of marinara in many a spaghetti Western. In 1963, I was acting in an episode of the anthology program The Dick Powell Theatre, in which I played a Swedish (of course) rancher fighting off a hostile land grab by his bigoted neighbors. I played the part with a thick Swedish accent, and in some scenes I wore a too-small bowler hat with a feather.

Lee was well over six feet tall, a huge man, powerful. And like a wild boar, he had a cold, calculating look. Even when the cameras weren't rolling, he was an intimidating figure. He was missing part of one of his middle fingers, but it didn't matter—his whole body had a way of flipping you the bird.

And he and I had to fight in this show.

A movie fight consists of throwing blows, missing by a foot, and actors snapping their heads back. But I was still kind of new to this whole movie/TV acting business. During filming, Lee and I were throwing punches, while I was predominantly occupied with not knocking off my too-small bowler hat.

And I took one swing and hit the tip of Lee Van Cleef s nose.

    Cut!     
Take two! I swing again, and clipped his nose again.

    Cut!!!     
Take three. And my fist once again connected with Van Cleef s snout.
    Let's take five!

Even though this was a few years before The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, I could hear the Ennio Morricone music sting as he sauntered over to me. He got right into my face, obscuring the sun and all of my hope for the future, leaned down, and growled, "If you do that again, I will. . . knock. . . you. . . out."

Terrifying, which brings me to one of the most important of Shatner Rules, which is . . .

RULE:  Don't Punch Lee Van Cleef!

I could not find a YouTube clip of the scene in question, but I am sure it is out there somewhere!

 

 
 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bad Man's River - Poster Gallery

Below are posters from the 1971 film, Bad Man's River.








 
 
 




Friday, May 18, 2012

LVC WTF?

Death Rides a Horse in 3D!?



I'm not going to risk buying this one.  Product description-

(This is a computer manipulated 3-D version of the original motion picture with amazing results on 3-D monitors, more real than ever!)
I'm not even sure how this is technically possible, or what print they used, although I imagine it is the crappy pan scan version we are all used to.

Anyone brave enough to check this out?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Obituary - Associated Press

Actor Lee Van Cleef, 62; played villains 
The Associated Press

OXNARD - Actor Lee Van Cleef, 64, whose steely eyes and hawk-like features led to a long career portraying archvillains in westerns, died early Saturday af-ter he collapsed at home, authorities said.

Mr. Van Cleef's film break came hen he was cast as Jack Colby, one of four desperadoes faced down by Gary Cooper in the 1952 movie 'High Noon." He later became a familiar gunslinger in so-called spaghetti westerns made by Italian director Sergio Leone, including "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." Mr. Van Cleef suffered an apart heart attack at his Oxnard home at about 11:40 p.m. Friday, said Craig Stevens, a Ventura county deputy coroner.

Mr. Van Cleef's wife, Barbara, called paramedics and he was rushed to St. John's Regional Med-ical Center in Oxnard, where he as pronounced dead at 12:04 a.m., Stevens said.

In 1969, Mr. Van Cleef jokingly attributed his gunslinger casting in about 350 TV movies and motion pictures to his predatory nose.

"I didn't speak a word in 'High Noon,' " he recalled. "In 1951, Stanley and Earl Kramer saw me in a play, 'Mr. Roberts,' and of-fered me the role eventually played by Lloyd Bridges in the film, providing I would have my nose fixed. I refused and wound up as one of the four villains.

"Now people remember this beak," he said.

Tom Jennings, Mr. Van Cleef's agent, said his client's extended work in Italy and elsewhere in Europe hurt his Hollywood career.

"I think he could have been a greater movie star, as big as Charles Bronson or Clint Eastwood, had he come back from Europe sooner than he did. But he liked working abroad," Jennings said. "He was always a bigger star everywhere else than in Hollywood."

Born Jan. 9,1925, of Dutch ancestry in Somerville, NJ, Mr. Van Cleef dropped out of high school to join the US Navy, where he served on sub chasers and mine sweepers. He was discharged in 1946.

He worked several odd jobs as a farmer, gas-station attendant, painter and accountant before as-suming his first stage role in a production of "Our Town" by an amateur troupe in Clinton, NJ.

New York producer and director Harold Anderson noticed Mr. Van Cleef in an amateur production of "Heaven Can Wait," and helped find him a place in the road company production of the World War I Navy comedy, "Mr. Roberts,' with Henry Fonda.

Mr. Van Cleef spent 14 months or the road with "Mr. Roberts" before making his first film appearance in "High Noon." He followed (with hundreds of black-hat roles and appeared in "How The West Was Won," "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" and "Death Rides a Horse."

His film career, however, had stalled when he was recruited by Leone to play in the 1965 Western ''For a Few Dollars More," starring Clint Eastwood as the man with no name.

Mr. Van Cleef changed hats for his role in the film, playing what he called "a non-angelic sort of character who's still on the side of the law."

Mr. Van Cleef recently had filmed a TV commercial for a Dutch beer company, Jennings said.

His last TV project was NBC's 1984 series "The Master," where he played an Air Force colonel who becomes a ninja martial arts expert in post-World War II Japan.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Interview from Cinema Magazine (1984)

Thanks to Heiko for posting this on the Lee Van Cleef Web Board!


When I now look at the many Hollywood Films in the fifties, you played smaller roles, I always get the feeling of wanting to call out to the filmmakers: Man, they does not realize that here is a actor with big star potential, a Lee Van Cleef would much higher in the cast list! How you can see in retrospect, this phase of your career?
LVC: I'm for slow but steady growth. If I had quickly come up, I probably would have ended up as quickly to the stomach.


The big breakthrough came with the Sergio-Leone-Films 1965/1966. Was “For a few dollars more” the first Film in Europe ?
LVC: As a Star already. However, I had worked here before, for the first time in "The Young Lions" with Marlon Brando. But the big push came with my Part in "For a few Dollars more" and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". In every conversation "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" is everybody's favorite movie. Since I was playing the villain, as before - not that I would have something about it, I do still fun. But I personally liked my role in "For a few Dollars more" rather because my role was more differentiated, not only bad, but not the sterotype hero, but a real character. Such a thing appeals to me. In "The Big Gundown" I played good, but pursued the wrong man, and these escaped again and again so that the whole game was a kind - a great idea. I'm still excited about the movie. I think of you back, and that's why I love my job today. And I'm far from the intention to retire.


You recently filmed a TV series in the States
LVC: Yes, I play “The Master”, it means the series is about a Ninja-Master, with historical weapons, etc.


Was that your first TV work?
LVC: As the Star of a series: Yes. In the past I have performed frequently as a guest star in series. But all this was before 1965, before it went up. Then I thought it better to make scarce on the screen - I had risen to a different category. Maybe that was not right, because you can reach the audience through the television in the living room - which is also important. That is why I have “The Master" role now assumed. In this Day and Age people are less and less persuaded to leave their four walls - and the price of Movie Tickets also are not very inviting. In "Codename Wildgeese" I am sure, however, that people will come - such a good Team can rarely go wrong.


In "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" is available in the duel scene a close up of her hand as you reaches for the Colt. And there we see that the middle finger is missing half a term.
LVC: It happened to me around 1960, with the table saw, as I have fashioned at home.


Has Sergio Leone deliberately pushed the finger into the picture?
LVC: No, it was about the mood, not around my finger. But maybe I have something in your subconscious made to keep the finger in front of the camera. Leone loves Close-ups, Hands, Faces, Eyes. And he uses it extremely well. According to my films, he made "Once upon a Time in the West", where the result was not as advantageous. At least, I think. But perhaps he also had to rest. I want to be understood correctly: I like Sergio Leone and I'll never forget that he gave me the chance to get where I am today.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Good LVC Mail Day!

In order to keep up to date with this blog, I am of course rewatching many LVC films.  Now I do already own pretty much all of them, but I do like to upgrade from time to time to make sure I am getting the best copy available.

Today I recieved the Italian blu-ray for The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly which is supposedly from a better print than the US version.  We'll see how well it compares on the big screen in the home theater!

I also picked up Wild East's Death Rides a Horse and Take a Hard Ride on DVD.  I already had these but wanted to check out the extras as well as evaluate the transfers.

To top it off I have the UK MGM widescreen print of God's Gun.  The things I have to watch for LVC!

I'll report back what I find in a series of reviews!

Monday, May 14, 2012

eBay Watch: Candid at Home Photo

From time to time I will post interesting items that I see on eBay that would be of interest to a LVC fan.  These are not endorsements of the sellers, just merely my observations of interesting or rare items.


Here is a candid shot on eBay. This looks to be a photo from the late 70's or early 80's.

A little pricey for a out of focus candid
Buy it Now at $14.95

Here's a beautiful and REAL 8x10 glossy candid photograph of Hollywood legendary bad guy Lee Van Cleef at Palm Springs home, welcoming us at his doorstep!  This is a rare and extraordinary image straight from the Wildest Westerns archives.  An actual photograph--NOT a computer or ink-jet print.  Item is in excellent condition!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/LEE-VAN-CLEEF-Candid-at-home-PHOTO-Rare-GOOD-THE-BAD-AND-THE-UGLY-Star-/150811361983?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item231d0ec2bf



Friday, May 11, 2012

LVC in Speed Zone


Speed Zone (aka Cannonball Run III), was one of LVC's final performances, and also one of his most brief. 

As the movie is out of print, I am going to save everyone here a bit of money.  Below is a YouTube clip of the opening of the movie.

Lee's scenes are at 1:30 and 4:20 on the video below.  Probably less than a minute of screen time!






Day of Anger - Poster Gallery

Various posters from the classic western!

Click to enlarge!





 
 
 
 







Thursday, May 10, 2012

Grand Duel Coming to Blu-ray

Coming from Mill Creek Entertainment on May 15.
SRP - $9.98

THE GRAND DUEL - Also known as "Il Grande Duello", this classic Spaghetti Western features Lee Van Cleef in the role of a tough, gun-slinging sheriff out to defend a young cowboy accused of murder. Dressed in characteristic all-black, he must fend off the avenging Saxon brothers (who, naturally, drape themselves entirely in white). Action-packed with wild shoot-outs, riotous chase scenes and a fantastic score by composer Luis Enrique Bacalov, this gritty gem remains a favorite among fans of the genre.

Also included is the Franco Nero film, Keoma.

I will provide a review of the blu-ray once it is released.

This double feature blu-ray can be ordered from amazon.com below
Spaghetti Western Double Feature - Grand Duel & Keoma - Blu-ray