Saturday, March 18, 2023

Nick the Sting – Cineploit (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1976
Director: Fernando Di Leo
Writer: Alberto Silvestri
Cast: Luc Merenda, Lee J. Cobb, Gabriele Ferzetti, Luciana Paluzzi, Dagmar Lassander, Isabella Biagini, Fred Williams, Mario Pisu, Riccardo Salvino, William Berger, Valentina Cortese

Release Date: February 24th, 2023
Approximate Running Time: 97 Minutes 12 seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Italian, DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono German
Subtitles: English, German
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: 29,90 EUR

"Everything goes as planned until the American (Lee J Cobb) shows up. He is the greatest in the underworld also called the king. Nick the Sting, a small time crook, gets on his trail as the American wants to rob his own jewels to collect compensation from the insurance company. The American wants to have him put away, but Nick frames him by having a fake prison built. Friends are disguised as policemen and the American is arrested for alleged murder. Kidnappings, intrigue....will Nick and his gang manage to defeat the American?" - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "European 2K Blu-Ray Premiere!"

Nick the Sting comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 37 GB

Feature: 28.7 GB (Cineploit), 20.3 GB (Raro Video)

The source used for this transfer is in very good shape, and any print-related debris is minimal. That said, this release appears to use the same source that was used for Raro’s Blu-ray. The result is a stronger transfer that does not have any compression issues, and the image does not look as processed as Raro’s transfer does. Colors and flesh tones look correct, and image clarity and black levels are strong.

Audio: 4/5 (DTS-HD Mono Italian), 2.5/5 (DTS-HD Mono English)

This release comes with three audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in English, a DTS-HD mono mix in Italian and a DTS-HD mono mix in German. The Italian language track sounds clean, clear, and balanced. Range-wise, ambient sounds are well-represented, and the score sounds robust. That said, the distortion that is on the Italian language track from Raro’s Blu-ray release is not an issue for this release. The English language track does not fare as well. There is noticeable background hiss, a few audio dropouts, and sibilance issues. Range-wise, this track is limited. Also, there are two scenes that are Italian because they were never dubbed into English, and these two scenes come with removable English subtitles. Included with this release are removable English and German subtitles for the Italian language track.


Extras for this release include a theatrical trailer (2 minutes 41 seconds, Dolby Digital mono with Italian text, no subtitles), image gallery (16 images - home video art/posters/lobby cards), German VHS intro (5 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital mono German, no subtitles), alternate beginning (4 minutes 37 seconds, Dolby Digital mono German, no subtitles), a featurette titled Lee J. Cobb Part Two with Mike Malloy, Eurocrime: the Italian Cop & Gangster Films that ruled the 70s (21 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with removable English subtitles and removable German subtitles), an archival interview with actor Enter the Merenda titled Enter the Merenda, that originally appeared on NoShame’s The Last Round DVD (35 minutes 28 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles and removable German subtitles), a double-sided Poster with the italian Locandia and the german VHS Sleeve, and a media book packaging that contains a twenty-eight page booklet with composer Luis Bacalov biography (text in German & English), an essay titled Nick Hezard’s Friends written by Udo Rotenberg (text in German & English) and images from the film (lobby cards/posters).

Also, this release also comes with multilingual menus, English and German.

Extras on Raro’s Blu-ray release include a featurette titled A Video History of '60s & '70s Split-screen Cinema with Mike Malloy, Eurocrime: the Italian Cop & Gangster Films that ruled the 70s (23 minutes 31 seconds, DTS-HD stereo English, no subtitles).


Fernando Di Leo directed Nick the Sting. He is a filmmaker who is most remembered for his contributions to Poliziotteschi cinema. His most notable films include Naked Violence, Milano calibro 9, and To Be Twenty.

Although Nick the Sting has many elements that are familiar to fans of 1970’s Italian crime cinema. The result is a light-hearted affair that is in direct contrast to the gritty rips from the headlines that are the backbone of Poliziotteschi cinema.

When it comes to Italian genre cinema, making clones of successful films is one thing that it is most known for. And in the case of Nick the Sting, it does not even try to hide its main influence, The Sting. That said, outside of superficial similarities, Nick the Sting bears little resemblance to The Sting.

One thing you can always count on when it comes to Italian genre cinema is that the cast is going to be made up of recognizable faces. Some notable cast members are Lee J. Cobb (The Exorcist) in the role of a crime boss named Robert Clark, Gabriele Ferzetti (Once Upon a Time in the West), and Valentina Cortese (Day for Night) in the roles of Nick’s parents. As good as the performances are, it is Luc Merenda (The Violent Professionals) in the role of the protagonist, Nick Hezard, that carries the film. He does a great job of portraying an anti-hero who's sympathetic in a film of unsavory characters.

Though Nick the Sting has all the elements that one expects from a Fernando Di Leo film, the result is a film that never lives up to the high bar that Fernando Di Leo set with his most celebrated films. Two of its most glaring shortcomings are its overuse of split screen and humor that often misses the mark. Ultimately, Nick the Sting is not one of Fernando Di Leo’s better films, making it a hard film to recommend for anyone but Fernando Di Leo’s diehard fans.

Cineploit’s Blu-ray is vastly superior to Raro’s Blu-ray release. It has a strong transfer, more audio options, and a substantial amount of extras (all of which are English-friendly). Also, since Cineploit’s Blu-ray is region-free, there is no reason to choose Raro’s Blu-ray over Cineploit’s Blu-ray. Nick the Sting gets a solid release from Cineploit that comes with a strong audio/video presentation and a wealth of insightful extras, recommended.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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