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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Blu-ray Review: Death Rides a Horse (Germany)

Released in December of 2013 in Germany by Explosive Media (who also have released The Big Gundown and Sabata), this marks the first instance of Death Rides a Horse (also known as Von Mann Zu Mann and Da Uomo A Uomo) on Blu-ray . 

While this review is to discuss the merits of the blu-ray and not the actual film itself, I will say that this is a great film featuring LVC in his Spaghetti Western prime.

The set itself come in a very sturdy case (not the usual blu-ray Amaray case), which includes a 24-page illustrated booklet. 3 discs are included; the first being the blu-ray (region free!), and the second and third are DVD (PAL). 
 
Disc contents are as follows-
 
Disc 1 - Blu-ray - Feature Film  
Disc 2 - DVD - Feature Film 
Disc 3 - DVD - Extras 
  • Trailers 
    • Lee Van Cleef Westerns - a large collection of original trailers from LVC's spaghetti western career. 
    • Original English-language trailer for Death Rides a Horse.  
    • Two English-language TV spots for Death Rides a Horse  
    • Trailers for other Explosive Media releases. 
  • Documentary Vengeance Rides a Horse
    • Director Giulio Petroni and Assistant Director Enrique Berger is discuss the making of the film.  Includes audio clips from an interview with John Phillip Law 
  • Promotional Materials

      • Various lobby cards, posters, etc... set to the soundtrack of the film


    Video

    The transfer for Death Rides a Horse appears to be an older HD transfer supplied to Explosive Media by MGM.  I suspect this is the same transfer that has been used for sporadic HD broadcasts in the past 10 years.
     
    It is by no means a bad looking transfer, and is on par with their other two releases of The Big Gundown and Sabata.  The print is somewhat faded, and detail does not jump out as much as I would like, but that may be inherent to the actual source material.  No major print damage.  There is a fairly high level of film grain, especially in the darker scenes.



    

    It is definitely a step up from the US Wild East and Japanese MGM releases previously reviewed here.

    There is a significant framing issue the impacts the last 8 minutes of the film.  The entire end sequence was considerably zoomed in on this Blu-ray.  More information on that here.
     


    Audio

    The film itself has never in my opinion ever sounded that great.  Ennio Morricone's great score has always sounded muffled, and nothing like the glorious stereo original score recordings soundtrack fans are used to.  Dialog is very clear.  No major issues.  Audio is available in English Dolby Digital 2.0, Italian Dolby Digital 2.0, and German Dolby Digital 2.0
     
    Extras
     
    Explosive Media has put together a nice set of extras for this set.  First and foremost is a 36 minute documentary, Vengeance Rides a Horse, featuring newly filmed (in Italian) interviews with Director Giulio Petroni, Assistant Director Enrique Berger, and English vintage audio clips from an interview with John Phillip Law.  Subtitles are available throughout.
     
    Next we have a vast array of trailers, starting with 47 minutes worth of LVC Spaghetti Western trailers (same feature as on The Big Gundown and Sabata discs).  Death Rides a Horse is represented by a trio or English trailers.
     
    In Conclusion
     
    Until there is a US region 1 release or a further remaster, this is the disc to go with as the definitive presentation of Death Rides a Horse.  The blu-ray is region free and can play in all blu-ray players.
     
    Death Rides a Horse blu-ray by Explosive Media can be ordered here-
     
     

    3 comments:

    1. I am glad you gave it good marks, I coincidentally just ordered it and it just arrived in the mail! I think it is one of his finest movies.

      Dear explosive media: Can we have the Stranger and the Gunfighter next, please? And if you can't think of anything else Beyond the Law and the Grand Duel?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Grand Duel is on Blu-ray and it is CHEAP! Got mine for $5.

        http://thebadnet.blogspot.com/2012/05/grand-duel-blu-ray-review.html

        Delete
    2. Thanks for the hint! I already forgot about that.

      But hmmm... Doesn't seem to be on the market in this part of the world. Or at least it seems to need some more dedicated browsing. I'll keep my eyes peeled...

      ReplyDelete