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

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Death Rides a Horse Blu-ray Framing Issue

November 7, 2017 Update-

The new US release of Death Rides a Horse by Kino Lorber has fixed the framing issue!  See comparisons below.  Full review here

Click images below to enlarge-




Original October 31, 2015 Post-

While preparing the next batch of location reports, I have been working extensively with screenshots from the Explosive Media release of the Death Rides a Horse Blu-ray (previously reviewed here).  When viewing the finale of the film, I noticed that all the shots were a lot tighter than I remembered.  I compared the blu-ray against an older letterboxed DVD, and the difference was astounding.  The entire end sequence was considerably zoomed in on the blu-ray.


Fortunately, this framing issue only seems to impact the last 8 minutes of the movie.  As to the technical reason for this framing change, my first thought was there may have been print damage on left side of frame when they were making the blu-ray, however the below shot disproves that.

In the shot below the camera pans from left to right as JPL walks towards LVC.  At the same time the Blu-ray image is pan scanned (an artificial pan within the film frame from the left to the right), effectively cropping JPL out of frame.








It is possible that there could have been damage at the top or bottom of the frame, or possibly that the last reel that was provided for transfer was 1:78 aspect ratio (for HD broadcast), and Explosive Media had to further crop the image to match the 2:35 of the rest of the film.  I could speculate all day.

In conclusion, currently this is the only Blu-ray version of Death Rides a Horse available.  Hopefully when the eventual US release occurs, a better HD master is provided, with a complete image.



Saturday, October 24, 2015

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Blu-ray Review: Bad Man's River

 
 
Bad Man's River, like Captain Apache was released by Scotia International and filmed mainly near Madrid.  Watch both of these movies back to back and you will notice the exact same sets for both the western towns and Mexican forts as both were filmed at E70 Studios (see also The Stranger and The Gunfighter).  I'll have a location report from there posted here soon.
 
To me Bad Man's River was always the movie with the horrible score and that stupid bowler hat.  Having recently rewatched it, my opinion of the quality of the film has not changed.  This is one of the most uneven movies ever made.  How do you screw up a western with LVC, and includes such Spaghetti Western legends as Gianni Garko, Eduardo Fajardo, and friggin' Aldo Sambrell?
 
Regarding the music by Waldo de los Rios, the film starts with a barbershop quartet score that is truly awful for the first 20 minutes complete with jarring freeze frames of the action.  The film then settles into a more traditional if not whimsical score, before hitting us with a rock song in the middle of the film!  The rock song "Bad Man's River" by Jade Warrior is actually a straight up remake (just different lyrics) of one of their other songs "Too Many Heroes".  The group have disowned their Bad Man's River version.
 
Kino Lorber, who primarily releases MGM catalog titles (such as Sabata and Barquero), has obtained HD US prints of both Captain Apache and Bad Man's River, which to me was surprising as neither have ever been available or transmitted in high definition here.  Divisa released the Spanish print of Bad Man's River earlier this year with mixed results (reviewed here).  The new Kino disc blows that one out of the water.
 
Main Menu
 
 
VIDEO:
 
The overall image is great once you get past the main credits.  The picture is sharp, colors are strong, film grain is present. 
 
Screencaps below (click to enlarge) -
 
 



 

The image quality is much better than the Spanish Blu-ray released by Divisa.  Contrast is vastly improved, and there is slightly more image on either side.
 
Click images below to see the improvement-
 
US Blu-ray (Kino)
 
  Spanish Blu-ray (Divisa)
 
 
AUDIO:
 
English 2.0.  No other languages available.  No subtitles.  Don't expect a large dynamic improvement over how you have heard this movie before.  The score still sucks.
 
 
EXTRAS:
  • Trailers for Sabata and Barquero
 
 
A great release of a not-so-great movie.  Bad Man's River has a few nice moments, but I anticipate this Blu-ray will collect dust very nicely next to the Captain Apache.
 
THE GOOD:
  • Cheap
  • Plays on US players 
THE BAD:
  • No film specific extras
 
Full stats and ordering info- 
 
  • Region: A
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: NONE
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Kino Lorber
  • Run Time: 92 minutes (1:31:48)
 
Bad Man's River (1971) [Blu-ray]


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Blu-ray Review: Captain Apache



 
Captain Apache has just made it's Blu-ray debut courtesy of Kino Lorber Studio Classics.  After years of only being able to view this movie from poor quality pan and scan public domain prints, and only recently discovering a full widescreen DVD in the UK (reviewed here), Captain Apache in HD is a sight to behold.  That being said it doesn't make the movie any better.
 
To me Captain Apache represents a shift in LVC's career that set the course for the rest of the 1970's.  After achieving massive stardom in Europe in the mid to late 60's, LVC elected (like Clint Eastwood before him), to re-enter the world of US or "Hollywood" productions.  These projects included El Condor (while shot in Spain, this was a US production), and Barquero (shot in the US).  While neither of these films were blockbuster hits, for whatever reason LVC elected to return to Europe to reenter the familiar land of the Spaghetti or Euro Western.  The result was the one two punch of Captain Apache and Bad Man's River.  A final Hollywood attempt was made with 1972's The Magnificent Seven Ride!, but by that point it was clear his preference to remain in Europe.
 
Anyway, here we are in 2015, with a Blu-ray release of Captain Apache!
 
Kino Lorber, who primarily releases MGM catalog titles (such as Sabata and Barquero), has obtained HD US prints of both Captain Apache and Bad Man's River, which to me was surprising as neither have ever been available in high definition anywhere.
 
 
Main Menu
 
 
VIDEO:
 
The overall image is very nice, which is a little shocking as I am not used to this film ever actually looking good.  The picture is sharp, colors are strong, film grain is present. 
 
Screencaps below (click to enlarge) -
  

 
 


The image quality is much better than the previously reviewed widescreen DVD version on the market.  More image is present now in the widescreen frame.
 
Click images below to see the improvement-
 
Blu-ray

DVD
 
 
 
AUDIO:
 
English 2.0.  No other languages available.  No subtitles.  Don't expect a large dynamic improvement over how you have heard this movie before.
 
 
EXTRAS:
  • Trailers for Sabata and Barquero
 
 
Overall this is the definitive presentation of Captain Apache.  Fortunately it can be had for around $11, so it is a welcome addition to the LVC Blu-ray shelf. 
 
THE GOOD:
  • Cheap
  • Great picture quality
THE BAD:
  • No film specific extras
 
Full stats and ordering info- 
 
  • Region: A
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: NONE
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Kino Lorber
  • Run Time: 94 minutes (1:33:55)
 
Captain Apache (1971) [Blu-ray]


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Original LVC Poster Artwork at Auction

Last week Profiles in History hosted their 74th Hollywood auction.  Amongst the nearly 2,000 lots of unique artifacts including original screen used costumes and props, were 2 lots of original artwork used in the creation of one-sheet posters and additional advertising materials for 3 different Lee Van Cleef films.

The first lot contained artwork from both Sabata and Return of Sabata

1403. Sabata (3) original poster art. (United Artists, 1969) Vintage original (3) color poster artworks including (1) accomplished in acrylic on 24.75 x 15 in. illustration board, (1) accomplished in acrylic on 27 x 27.7 in. illustration board mounted to foam core, and (1) accomplished in acrylic on 40 x 28 in. illustration board with corner loss. All with signs of minor soiling and handling. In vintage very good condition. 

 $400 - $600 (estimate)




  
 
The above lot of 3 Sabata poster artwork sold for a staggering $13,200, and features two very iconic Lee Van Cleef images as seen below in the US versions of the poster.
 

 
 
 
The next lot featured the key piece of artwork for The Magnificent Seven Ride!
 
1406. The Magnificent Seven Ride! original poster art. (United Artists, 1972) Vintage original color poster art accomplished in acrylic on 25 x 32 in. illustration board mounted to foam core. Exhibiting soiling, registration tape remnants. In vintage very good condition.

 $300 - $500 (estimate)

 
 
 This lot sold for $1800, and I am pleased to add it to my collection!