Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Django + Texas, Adios – Arrow Video USA (4k UHD/Blu-ray Combo)

Theatrical Release Dates: Italy, 1966 (Django, Texas Adios)
Directors: Sergio Corbucci (Django), Ferdinando Baldi (Texas Adios)
Cast: Franco Nero, José Bódalo, Loredana Nusciak, Ángel Álvarez, Gino Pernice, Simón Arriaga, Giovanni Ivan, Remo De Angelis, Rafael Albaicín, José Canalejas, Eduardo Fajardo, Silvana Bacci, Lucio De Santis, Cris Huerta, Guillermo Méndez, Luciano Rossi, José Terrón, Rafael Vaquero (Django), Franco Nero, Alberto Dell’Acqua, Elisa Montés, José Guardiola, Livio Lorenzon, Hugo Blanco, Luigi Pistilli, Remo De Angelis, Mario Novelli, José Suárez (Texas Adios)

Release Date: June 1st, 2021
Approximate Running Times: 91 minutes 47 seconds (Django), 92 minutes 4 seconds (Texas Adios)
Aspect Ratios: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 2160 Progressive / HEVC / H.265 / Dolby Vision HDR10 (Django), 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Texas, Adios)
Rating: NR (Both Films)
Sound: LPCM Mono English, LPCM Mono Italian (Both Films)
Subtitles: English, English SDH (Both Films)
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $59.95

Django:

"In this definitive spaghetti western, Franco Nero (Keoma, The Fifth Cord) gives a career-defining performance as Django, a mysterious loner who arrives at a mud-drenched ghost town on the Mexico-US border, ominously dragging a coffin behind him. After saving imperilled prostitute Maria (Loredana Nusciak), Django becomes embroiled in a brutal feud between a racist gang and a band of Mexican revolutionaries..." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Texas, Adios:

"Franco Nero plays tough gunslinger Burt Sullivan, a sheriff who, along with his younger brother (Alberto Dell'Acqua, Endgame), journeys to Mexico to hunt down the sadistic bandit Cisco Delgado and avenge his father’s murder. When Burt and his brother fall in with a group of Mexican revolutionaries, the stage is set for a violent climatic confrontation..." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 5/5 (Django), 3.75/5 (Texas, Adios)

Here’s the information provided about Django's transfer, "New restoration from a 4K scan from the original camera negative by Arrow Films".

Here’s the information provided about Texas, Adios' transfer, "New restoration 2K restoration form the original negative by Arrow Films".

Django comes on a 100 GB triple layer 4K UHD.

Disc Size: 92.4 GB

Feature: 66.4 GB

Texas, Adios comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 43.4 GB

Feature: 39.4 GB

Here are my thoughts about Arrow Video's Django and Texas, Adios transfers for their 2020 Blu-ray release.

Django so far has been released on Blu-ray by Blue Underground in 2010 and in the UK by Argent Films in 2013. Though there’s many elements of those transfers that look good at the time of their releases. Ultimately, both releases suffered from digital noise reduction. That said, this new transfer from Arrow Video will come as a revelation for everyone who has seen any of Django’s previous home video releases. Colors are nicely saturated, contrast, black levels and image clarity are solid throughout, there are no issues with compression and most importantly, this transfer looks excellent, when it comes to how grain looks. Needless to say, it’s hard to imagine that Django could look better than Arrow Video new 4K transfer.

Though Texas, Adios gets a transfer that is superior to its previous home video releases, it should-be noted that there’s some source related damage that for the most part is not intrusive. Colors and flesh tones look correct, contrast and black levels look strong throughout, there are no issues with compression and though the image generally looks crisp, there are moments where the image that clarity and looks waxy.

For this new release from Arrow Video, they take the same sources used for their 2020 Blu-ray release and Django gets a new transfer in 2160 with Dolby Vision HDR10. That said, as good as Arrow Video’s Django 2020 Blu-ray release looked, their new Dolby Vision HDR10 transfer looks spectacular.

Audio: 4.5/5 (Django), 4/5 (Texas, Adios)

Each film comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in English and a LPCM mono mix in Italian. Anyone familiar with Italian genre cinema from the 1960’s and 1970’s should-be aware that they shot their films without sound. And that they created soundtracks in post-production. That said, all the audio mixes for these two films are in great shape, dialog always comes through clearly, everything sound balanced, the scores sound robust and range wise ambient sounds are well-represented. Included with this release are two subtitle options, English SDH and English for the Italian language tracks.

Extras:

Extras for Django include image galleries: stills (9 images), posters (15 images), lobby cards (82 images), press (11 images) and home video (11 images), an introduction to Django by filmmaker Alex Cox (12 minutes 4 seconds), International trailer for Django (2 minutes 58 seconds), Italian theatrical trailer for Django (2 minutes 58 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an appreciation by Spaghetti Westerns scholar Austin Fisher titled Discovering Django (23 minutes 33 seconds), an archival interview with stuntman/actor Gilberto Galimberti titled A Punch in the Face (18 minutes 43 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an archival interview with screenwriter Piero Vivarelli titled A Rock N’ Roll Scriptwriter (11 minutes 3 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an archival interview with screenwriter Franco Rossetti titled That’s My Life Part 1 (10 minutes 16 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an interview with Sergio Corbucci’s wife Nora Corbucci titled Sergio, My Husband (27 minutes 47 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an interview with assistant director Ruggero Deodato titled Cannibal of the Wild West (25 minutes 47 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an interview with actor Franco Nero titled Django Never Dies (26 minutes 7 seconds, in English and an audio commentary with film critic, historian and theorist Stephen Prince.

Extras for Texas, Adios include five image galleries: stills (8 images), posters (13 images), lobby cards (29 images), press (8 images) and home video art (6 images), a trailer for Texas, Adios (2 minutes 42 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an interview with actor Franco Nero titled The Sheriff is in Town (20 minutes 19 seconds, in English), an interview with actor Alberto Dell’Acqua titled Jump into the West (33 minutes 46 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an archival interview with screenwriter Franco Rossetti titled That’s My Life Part 2 (9 minutes 18 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an appreciation by Spaghetti westerns scholar Austin Fisher titled Hello Texas! (16 minutes 24 seconds) and an audio commentary with spaghetti western experts C. Courtney Joyner and Henry C. Parke.

Other extras include reversible cover art, a double-sided fold-out poster, six double-sided postcards and a fifty-eight page booklet with cast & crew information for Django and Texas, Adios, an essay titled Django Story: The Legend Continues written by Howard Hughes, The Other Sergio of Italian Cinema written by Roberto Curti, Sergio Corbucci on Django, Django: Contemporary Reviews, an essay titled Cut to the Action: The Films of Ferdinando Baldi written by Howard Hughes, Texas, Adios: Contemporary Reviews and information about the restorations/transfers.

Summary:

Django:

Though Sergio Leone’s contributions to Spaghetti western cinema loom large this genres best films. One must not overlook the contributions that the other Sergio (Corbucci) made to this genre. Most notably a film like Django which is arguably one of Spaghetti western cinema’s best films.

That said, structure and story wise, Django bears many similarities to Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars. Both film’s feature gunslingers who find themselves caught in the middle a two feuding entities. In the case of Django there are the Mexicans on one side and a sadistic gang of hood wearing thugs who work for a man named Major Jackson. The main difference between the two film’s is that Django doesn’t pit the two feuding entities against each other. He single-handedly takes out all of Major Jackson’s men when he reveals what he has hidden in the coffin he drags around. The only alliance that he makes is with the Mexican’s who he gets them to help him steal some gold. Which he then steals from them. To pay Django back for stealing the gold, the Mexicans break his hands by having their horses stomp on them. This also sets up a final duel in which Django faces off against Major Jackson (who Django let live earlier in the film), who has rounded up a new posse of assassins.

When compared to its contemporaries Django stands out as one of the most violent film’s to emerge out of the Spaghetti Western genre. A few of Django’s notable violent set pieces include a woman who’s whipped by Mexicans, a preacher who has his ear cut off, the scene where Django has his hands crushed by horses and a finale where Django makes his last stand in a graveyard. Also, something that sets Django apart from its contemporaries is how dirty all the locations look. Where other Spaghetti westerns featured locations that look clean/barely lived in. Django’s locations are overflowing with grime.

Performance wise the cast are very good in their respective roles, especially Franco Nero in the role of Django. He delivers a commanding performance that dominates the screen. Also, Django would mark the first of three Spaghetti westerns that Franco Nero starred in directed by Sergio Corbucci.

From it’s iconic opening credits where Django drags a coffin as he walks, right on through to it’s memorable shootout in a graveyard that culminates the film. Django is a relentless film that other films have tried to emulate and have never come close to matching.

Texas, Adios:

Where most Spaghetti westerns were knockoffs of Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy and other popular characters’ like Django who spanned countless unofficial sequels. Texas, Adios is a rare example of a Spaghetti western drawing its inspiration from American western’s, instead of latching on to the latest Spaghetti western fad. That said, when it comes on-screen violence this is one area where Texas, Adios is undeniable Italian.

Franco Nero is the main attraction of Texas, Adios. He was fresh off the success of Django, a film that firmly entrenched him as one of Spaghetti western cinema’s biggest stars. And with Texas, Adios he delivers a strong performance that’s anchored by his physical presence. Though Franco Nero’s performance overshadows the rest of the cast, their performances are more than adequate.

Not too be overlooked, when discussing Texas, Adios is Ferdinando Baldi’s superb direction. His direction does a good job creating tense moments and the action set pieces are well-executed. Standout moments include, the opening credits sequence that introduces Franco Nero’s character Burt Sullivan, a scene where Burt and his brother Jim get ambushed and get the upper hand on the men who at gunpoint are forcing them to dig their own graves and a very satisfying finale that provides a perfect coda for Burt’s journey. Ultimately, Texas, Adios is a solid revenge themed western.

For this release Arrow Video carries over all content from their 2020 Blu-ray release and further improves upon that release by giving Django a 2160 transfer with Dolby Vision HDR10. That said, this release is another solid example of how great films can look in 2160 with Dolby Vision HDR10, highly recommended.

Note: Django screenshots are from Arrow Video’s 2020 Blu-ray release.

















Written by Michael Den Boer

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