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Spaghetti Western Collection: Django / Django, Kill! / Run, Man, Run! / Mannaja: A Man Called Blade

Franco Nero , José Canalejas , Giulio Questi , Sergio Corbucci    Unrated   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Starting with its very name, the bizarre international hybrid known as the spaghetti Western was always a bit of a joke--but a joke that packed a wallop, and left viewers with jaws dropping in a combination of disbelief, astonishment, and sometimes admiration. The stylistic hallmarks, nihilistic tone, weirdly Latinate atmospherics, and postmodern self-consciousness of its imaginative universe made for an intoxicating breed of pop entertainment that changed not only the Western genre but also popular culture at large.

Its vogue lasted a decade and then some, from Sergio Leone's 1964 A Fistful of Dollars (released in the U.S. in 1967) to Monte Hellman's 1978 art film China 9/Liberty 37. Often, fully half of the 300 films turned out by Italian companies in any given year were spaghetti Westerns, which could be trusted to sell tickets the world over--under a delirious variety of titles from market to market. They tended to be shown in sleazy grind houses, via spliced and tattered prints. What a pleasure to report that Blue Underground has gone back to the original, mostly pristine materials to produce the crystal-clear, gorgeously color-saturated, widescreen DVDs in this boxed set. Few audiences ever saw these movies looking better than they will on the home screen.

The present quartet affords an admirably varied and illuminating cross-section of the spaghetti Western as entertainment phenomenon and mirror of its troubled time. Sergio Corbucci's Django (1966), with a Gypsy-named protagonist (Franco Nero) dragging a coffin through a mud world of bigotry and double-cross, spawned sequels ad infinitum; this release is the first in more than 30 years to be struck from the original camera negative. Django, Kill! (1967) isn't "Django" at all--it's If You Live, Shoot! (how's that for existential absurdism!), a wildly transgressive fever dream set in "a totally guilty town" and boasting a band of flagrantly gay gunslingers, director Giulio Questi's variation on Mussolini's Black Shirts. The gem of the collection, Sergio Sollima's Run, Man, Run! (1968), features an infectiously funny performance by Tomas Milian as a knife-throwing scalawag who became an icon to late-'60s student radicals; this film of almost Leone-class visual grandeur has rarely been seen outside Italy. Director Sergio Martino claims that Mannaja: A Man Called Blade (1977) was "the last, perhaps next-to-last" of the spaghetti Westerns. The strain was showing--but even this preposterous fantasia about a hatchet-throwing eco-avenger (Maurizio Merli) exerts a goofy fascination.

Incidentally, the short documentaries spotlighting each film are very enjoyable in their own right. The scruffily aged Tomas Milian is a particular delight. --Richard T. Jameson

Product Description

Saddle up and strap on your holsters for this outrageous quartet of Spaghetti Western classics! Along with "Django, Kill!" (1967, 117 min.), "Run Man Run" (1968, 121 min.), and "Mannaja: A Man Called Blade"(1977, 96 min.), exclusive to this collection is the new special edition of Sergio Corbucci's classic, "Django" (1966, 90 min.), restored for the first time from the original camera negative recently discovered in a Rome vault untouched for over three decades! Franco Nero stars as the lone, coffin-dragging stranger who roams the West towards a destiny ruled by vengeance. A landmark classic packed with indelible images and some of the most shocking brutality of any Spaghetti Western ever made, this is the still-controversial epic that defined a genre, launched a phenomenon and inspired over 50 unofficial sequels! Also included for the first time is the optional Italian audio track featuring Franco Nero's own voice. Following two years of extensive restoration, this is the most stunning and complete version of "Django" you'll ever see in a powerhouse box set that'll blow you away!

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravissimo! Jan. 19 2003
Format:DVD
Super collection of westerns--Italian style. There not as good as Sergio Leone's classics but then again few films are.
It's great to finally see the rare "Django Kill." This is truly a cult oddity if ever there was one. As much a horror film as it is a western it's full of bizarre, religious imagery as well as references to everything from Luis Bunuel to Edgar Allan Poe. This extremely violent, unforgettable film is presented uncut and, as with all the films in this set, the transfer is immaculate.
"Run, Man, Run" successfully tosses liberal doses of comedy and politics into the mix. Like "Django Kill" it also stars the wonderful Tomas Milian as Cuchillo, a knife-throwing thief.
"Mannaja: A Man Called Blade" is the most conventional and latest film (1977) of the set. Still, it's extremely entertaining and stylishly directed by Sergio Martino (Torso). Maurizio Merli is great in the title, hatchet-wielding role.
The classic "Django" is exclusive to this set. Though Anchor Bay also released this title some time ago, this new transfer came from the original negative and is far more colorful and less grainy. As for the film, it's a must. From the great opening of Franco Nero dragging a coffin behind him to the insanely catchy theme song, "Django" holds you in its grasp.
All four films look exceptional, come with English language and Italian tracks with optional English subtitles and boast a nice selection of extras--interviews, trailers, poster/still galleries, etc.
Thank you Blue Underground for releasing such a cool set.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spaghetti Western collector's "Must Have" Sept. 7 2003
Format:DVD
I had written reviews on each of the movies, which are posted. My review of this 4- disc package examines the production quality of the DVDs themselves and does not deal with movie critiques.
First of all, the EASTER EGGS! I have yet to find a DVD that had Easter Eggs (those little tidbits that are hidden to treat people who either made a mistake with their remote or dragged the cursor over something to click on), and Blue Underground has at least seven or maybe more eggs inside the DVDs. I can't list them all here, and have made attempts to list the particular egss at the bottom of each movie review I posted on 5/Sept/03. If I recall correctly, If You Live Shoot! has 3; Run Man Run has 2; Mannaja and Django each have one that I discovered. Each DVD's Easter Egg has hidden trailers of other movies on DVD. Shoot! has two interviews in addition, and Run has an interview (each of the four reviews have detail on extracting each egg, and I hope amazon.com posts them all).
The most INCREDIBLE interview came from Shoot! where lead actor Tomas Milian makes some rather startling charges (he even suggests that he may be sued by his revelations of an accusation that he verified he was making during the interview). I will not spoil the interview, but it is worth searching the contents of the DVD to discover.
The lover of European Westerns will relish this find, even though some of the contents of the films aren't up to the caliber of a Leone epic. I knew before buying this set that the movies themselves would be a letdown if I were to expect anything near the filmmaking style of Leone and the musical genious of composer Ennio Morricone.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravissimo! Jan. 19 2003
By The Magician - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Super collection of westerns--Italian style. They're not as good as Sergio Leone's classics but then again few films are.

It's great to finally see the rare "Django Kill." This is truly a cult oddity if ever there was one. As much a horror film as it is a western it's full of bizarre, religious imagery as well as references to everything from Luis Bunuel to Edgar Allan Poe. This extremely violent, unforgettable and supremely weird film is presented uncut and, as with all the films in this set, the transfer is immaculate.

"Run, Man, Run" successfully tosses liberal doses of comedy and politics into the mix. Like "Django Kill" it also stars the wonderful Tomas Milian as Cuchillo, a knife-throwing thief.

"Mannaja: A Man Called Blade" is the most conventional and latest film (1977) of the set. Still, it's very entertaining and stylishly directed by Sergio Martino (Torso). Maurizio Merli is good in the title, hatchet-wielding role.

The classic "Django" is exclusive to this set (and my favorite of the films presented here). Though Anchor Bay also released this title some time ago, this new transfer came from the original negative and is far more colorful and less grainy. As for the film, it's a must. From the great opening of Franco Nero dragging a coffin behind him to the insanely catchy theme song, "Django" holds you in its grasp.

All four films look exceptional, come with English language and Italian tracks with optional English subtitles and boast a nice selection of extras--interviews, trailers, poster/still galleries, etc.

Thank you Blue Underground for releasing such a cool set.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spaghetti Western collector's "Must Have" Sept. 7 2003
By FrontPage - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I had written reviews on each of the movies, which are posted. My review of this 4- disc package examines the production quality of the DVDs themselves and does not deal with movie critiques.
First of all, the EASTER EGGS! I have yet to find a DVD that had Easter Eggs (those little tidbits that are hidden to treat people who either made a mistake with their remote or dragged the cursor over something to click on), and Blue Underground has at least seven or maybe more eggs inside the DVDs. I can't list them all here, and have made attempts to list the particular egss at the bottom of each movie review I posted on 5/Sept/03. If I recall correctly, If You Live Shoot! has 3; Run Man Run has 2; Mannaja and Django each have one that I discovered. Each DVD's Easter Egg has hidden trailers of other movies on DVD. Shoot! has two interviews in addition, and Run has an interview (each of the four reviews have detail on extracting each egg, and I hope amazon.com posts them all).
The most INCREDIBLE interview came from Shoot! where lead actor Tomas Milian makes some rather startling charges (he even suggests that he may be sued by his revelations of an accusation that he verified he was making during the interview). I will not spoil the interview, but it is worth searching the contents of the DVD to discover.
The lover of European Westerns will relish this find, even though some of the contents of the films aren't up to the caliber of a Leone epic. I knew before buying this set that the movies themselves would be a letdown if I were to expect anything near the filmmaking style of Leone and the musical genious of composer Ennio Morricone. The reason I made the purchase was to discover filmmaking OTHER than Leone's because at almost every turn, a macaroni feature airing on television will be one of the Eastwood trilogies or the epic, Once Upon a Time in the West (which is planned for DVD release in fall 2003).
TSWC is not recommended for the die- hard Eastwood or Leone fan, unless the viewer can be open- minded so as not to wind up comparing apples and oranges. One cannot and should not compare Leone's style with any other spaghetti western. He is in a class by himself.
The DVDs all were from transfers of original prints. The quality of the video material was definitely from the origibal stock. Interestingly enough, Shoot! must have used some cheaper film grade, because the saturation seemed flat, which is no fault of Blue Underground because many of the movie productions of the time were cutting corners to save as much money as possible.
The work that was put into the box set really shows by the amount of information that each DVD box provides. Blue Underground deserves credit for renewing a fan's belief that a company is releasing such obscure titles not for high profit but for a love of the genre. I wouldn't expect MGM to release the 162- minute Good/Bad/Ugly in its original 176 minute fully- restored glory. They did release 14 minutes of footage as extras, but I feel they should have followed Blue's decision to release films completely unedited and uncensored, even if it means having to replace Italian language scenes into an English language release or allowing the runtime to jump towards 3 hours in length.
Blue put forth an excellent effort to give the lover of Eurowestern cinema more detailed information about films that we really appreciate.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Aug. 26 2009
By Michael H. Pfarner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
THis Blue underground release is essential to have if your a Spaghetti Western fan. All four films are classic. The packaging is beautiful. And the prints look fantastic too.
5.0 out of 5 stars Becuase I HATE $$$$$ Jan. 14 2013
By Laughart - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I bought this instead of Spaghetti Western Collectionbecasue of the movie MANNAJA! I didn't want to live without it, so I paid the extra $149.99. I could have spent $12.99 and gotten these plus about 65 more movies, but I thought MANNAAJA was worth it!
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Compilation of Italian Westerns Jan. 10 2013
By J. G. Lewis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A very well done collection of four Spaghetti Westerns by Blue Underground. I rather like to use the term "Italian" referring to these movies, for it shows the nation that birthed the directors generally responsible, and "Spaghetti" tends to make reference to the dry, comedic elements in these films, which, though important, was only one, but not even necessary, component of what the movies were about. Some were very serious, such as "Death Rides a Horse", and the serious element predominates here, too. Although one might quibble about exactly what four movies they should have included, what are presented are all very interesting, and come with individual liner notes for each movie. Perhaps Blue Underground can do another series, such as throw in one starring Lee Van Cleef, another by director Sergio Sollima (or one with both), but what they do present is very stylish and excellent.
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