• Roy Colt And Winchester Jack



    Released by: Kino Lorber Studio Classics
    Released on: October 10th, 2017.
    Director: Mario Bava
    Cast: Brett Halsey, Charles Southwood, Marilù Tolo
    Year: 1970
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    The Movie:

    Mario Bava was a brilliant director. His films looked gorgeous and were often steeped in gothic menace. And while horror and suspense were clearly his forte, he could ably handle sci-fi (PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES) and the often silly peplum (HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD). He even displayed a nifty talent for the hard-boiled poliziotteschi genre late in his career with the outstanding RABID DOGS. And let’s not forget his credible stab at a sex comedy in FOUR TIMES THAT NIGHT.

    But there was one genre Bava had no aptitude for whatsoever.

    Unlike his compatriot Lucio Fulci, Bava had no feel for the Spaghetti Western. This, his third and thankfully final attempt after two straightforward plodding shots at the genre, attempts to liven things up by playing as a comedy. The results vary from poor to disastrous.

    Roy Colt (Brett Halsey) and Winchester Jack (Charles Southwood) are outlaw partners. Roy decides he’s had enough of the renegade lifestyle and splits from his volatile partner intending to go legit. He winds up the sheriff of a small town. Now 'The Law' in his new home in Carson City, Colt comes into possession of a map detailing the location of some nearby treasure hidden by American Indians. Now everybody, most alarmingly the head of a local criminal gang dubbed “The Reverend” played by Teodoro Corra, wants that map.

    The whole film is mostly played as a slapstick comedy. But while something like Fulci’s THE BRUTE AND THE BEAST actually WAS funny thanks to George Hilton’s impeccable comic timing, this just flounders. Halsey is decent but crippled by having to often play off the outrageously overamped Southwood who doesn’t so much chew scenery as bite chunks of it whole. Then there’s the prostitute accused of murder. Marilu Tolo is quite good in that role and is probably the only actor to truly survive this mess. Corra does his best but he’s in an impossible situation.

    Even Bava’s normally untouchable visual gifts seem to have abandoned him here. The film looks dull and washed out. The sight gags are silly and the action perfunctory. You can feel Bava’s boredom with the genre in every frame.

    Bottom line? This film was a chore to get through. And that’s the first time I’ve said that about a Bava film.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Kino's new 2K transfer framed at 1.85.1 in 1080p with an AVC encode looks pretty solid. There’s some print damage on display but nothing disastrous. The colors don’t exactly pop here, but Bava’s cinematography was fairly lackluster so that’s that. Fine image detail is good, flesh tones natural, and black levels deep enough.

    Audio is primarily covered by an LPCM Mono Italian track. There’s also a partial English track that doesn’t start until over a half hour in and cuts out a few minutes before the end. The English track was thought lost so this is a bit of a find but as a practical matter for watching the film fairly useless. Both tracks have decent clarity and balance with no seriously negative issues to report.

    The only serious extra is a Tim Lucas commentary track. As always, Lucas is throughly knowledgeable about the film. His “All The Colors Of The Dark” is the most comprehensive Bava book out there and well worth a read. However, since he has now become the sole voice on Bava film commentaries it might be time for some other critical voices to be heard on future releases to bring a fresh perspective. This one is a bit dry. There is also a 35 minute long series of intermission cards included. These were used in the film’s initial theatrical run and should be of mild interest to Bava aficionados.

    The Final Word:

    One of a very small number of Bava films I simply cannot recommend due to the director’s complete indifference to the genre. The comedy is lame. And the other aspects wildly uneven. However, Kino’s presentation is good and the partial English track is appealing for Bava completists. Approach with extreme caution.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!



























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