Though popular with cult movie fans, spaghetti westerns have only gotten a limited amount of love from U.S. home video companies. In fact, the Sergio Leone westerns are among the few examples of the form that have been consistently available on DVD and blu-ray, with a lot of other key titles never making it to either format.
Thankfully, cult movie companies periodically fill this void. The latest company to do so is the U.S. branch of Arrow with their release of the classic Day Of Anger, which previously only had a grey market release via Wild East. The new Arrow disc is a fine release that gives this title a quality American high-def debut.
The transfer looks great here, with a vivid color palette – particularly in the saloon scenes near the end of the film – and crisp details throughout. Fans will be happy to know that they get the choice of the full-length Italian version or the shorter American edit. The English dub is provided for the American cut plus English and Italian dubs, the latter with subtitles, for the Italian version. Each track is mono and lossless, representing the original mixes nicely.
The centerpiece of the extras is a trio of interviews. The first is an eleven-minute sitdown with director Tonino Valerii. He discusses his take on the film’s Oedipal theme, the finance-based reason behind a German novel’s presence in the credits and how the leads were chosen (on that note, there’s a funny drunk story about Lee Van Cleef). Ernesto Gastaldi gets the next interview: over the course of 13 minutes, he discusses his close relationship with Valerii and tells some great tales about Leone, including a memorable anecdote that also involves Steven Spielberg.
However, the biggest featurette involves Roberto Curti, who conducted the other two interviews. The Curti piece is more a filmed lecture than an interview but it’s well worth the time for spaghetti western fans because he wrote a book on Valerii’s career and is able to offer plenty of insight into his career. He starts with an overview of how Valerii got into filmmaking (Leone plays a role) and spends the majority of its running time on a sophisticated analysis of Day of Anger. He goes into great detail about the film’s use of father figures, the theme of corruption and how Van Cleef undermines his enemies using legal documents even more than his guns.
Elsewhere, there is a deleted scene that is unique to the American cut of the film. It is basically an extra moment in the middle of a scene that gives the character of Scott an additional beat with Murph. A reel of three trailers for the film rounds things out: two U.S. trailers sell the film as a Van Cleef vehicle, cutting Gemma out almost entirely, while the European spot reflects Gemma’s fame there better by pitching the film a vehicle for both him and Van Cleef.
All in all, this is a fine edition of a deserving film and something spaghetti western fans need to pick up post-haste.
(Full Disclosure: this review was done using a check-disc blu-ray provided by Arrow Video U.S.A. Thus, it does not discuss the liner notes included in the completed edition of the film. However, the disc used for the review reflects what buyers will see in the finished blu-ray.)
To read Schlockmania’s film review of Day Of Anger, click here.