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, August 26, 2017

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly - Kino 50th Anniversay Edition

Kino Lorber's much anticipated The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly 50th Anniversary blu-ray has finally arrived.  This 2 disc set includes the longer version that we have become accustomed to for nearly the past 15 years, as well as a reconstruction of the US theatrical version (never before released on blu-ray).

Kino itself has an excellent track record for releasing Lee Van Cleef titles on blu-ray.  Like this title, the bulk of their releases have been licensed from MGM; including Sabata, Barquero, Return of Sabata, with Death Rides a Horse coming out in October, and For A Few Dollars More next year.  Additionally they have also released Captain Apache and Bad Man's River.  All of those releases are pretty much bare bones (movie only) releases, with at best a trailer as an extra.  The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly 50th Anniversary blu-ray marks a step up to enter the "special edition" market.

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly has had numerous releases on blu-ray.  MGM issued their first disc in 2009.  MGM went overboard on digital noise reduction (presumably to reduce film grain), giving the film an overall soft and waxy appearance.  Around the same time in Italy, Mondo Home Video released their own print on blu-ray which was vastly superior in picture, however did not contain the English soundtrack (the Italian cut is slightly different so it does not align to the English soundtrack).  The differences between those two versions can be found here.  Finally in 2014 MGM released the controversial "yellow" remastered disc.

When news of the 50th anniversary became known, many fans hoped that we would finally get an English version of the film that measured up to the Italian Mondo disc, as well as be faithful to the original theatrical presentation.

Unfortunately, Kino did not get a new scan of the film,  They received the same "yellow" master that was released by MGM in 2014.  Wanting to address the fans concerns regarding the yellow color grading, Kino decided they would color correct the digital master they received.  Unfortunately, as they were not dealing with an actual film print, the problems with the 2014 disc were "baked in" to the transfer, meaning any color change would result in the other colors being affected too.  Also any information that was lost to the black crush (overly dark parts of the image), could not be recovered from the digital image.

As they only had the 2014 master, and not a separate print of the shorter US theatrical version, Kino created what would be best called a hybrid version of the US theatrical by simply cutting out the extended scenes that were put back into the film 15 years ago.  However for purists, there are many differences and sequencing within the US theatrical version that cannot be recovered from the extended cut.


Basically everything that was wrong with the MGM 2014 disc is presented here again in a slightly bastardized version.  Yellow is now teal.  Crushed blacks are now murky grays.  Skies are green.  The adjustments Kino made, while made with good intentions, cannot restore the original look of the film.  The film needs a new raw scan done.


Included is the 5.1 mix created for the 2004 rerelease, as well as the 1967 mono track, and Italian mono track.  A new audio commentary by Film Historian Tim Lucas is also included on the shorted cut.


There are a few new extras on this release including; "Trailers From Hell" with Ernest Dickerson
a short deleted scene of Blondie in the desert finding skeletons, trailers for Sergio Leone westerns, and animated image galleries.  Most of the previous extras from the MGM releases have been ported over HOWEVER those extras as well as the Leone trailers are all presented at the wrong frame rate giving them a very choppy feel.

In Conclusion

It does not measure up to the Italian Mondo blu-ray.  The release is "The Ugly"

I love this movie.  It is one of (if not THE) greatest movies ever made.  It has a solid reputation in the film community and in pop culture.  Yet how many more years are we going to have to wait to get this film released properly? 

We need accurate color timing/grading.  We need the original mono.  We need the original US theatrical cut (this is the international cut plus the Tuco chicken scene that Leone himself didn't want in the picture), not a thrown together hybrid.

We live in a world where Bad Man's River looks better on blu-ray than The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly.  How did this happen?

For comparison of color see below.  Note the images are compressed, so this is not a comparison of detail or sharpness, but of color and contrast.

The Good - 2009 Italian Mondo

The Bad - 2014 MGM

The Ugly - 2017 Kino

Saturday, August 12, 2017