• Get Mean



    Released by: Blue Underground
    Released on: October 27th, 2015.
    Director: Ferdinando Baldi
    Cast: Tony Anthony, Lloyd Battista, Raf Baldassarre, Diana Lorys, Mirta Miller
    Year: 1975
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Ferdinando Baldi, Get Mean is the last of the movies that Tony Anthony would make in which he played ‘The Stranger,’ a mysterious gunfighter who had previously appeared in a few popular Spaghetti Westerns starting with A Stranger In Town (a.k.a. A Dollar Between The Teeth) in 1967. This time around, however, things are a little different, at least by typical Spaghetti Western conventions.

    When the movie begins, The Stranger is bound and being dragged behind a horse that takes him to a mysterious gypsy woman peering over her crystal ball. The horse delivers him to the middle of town and then dies! The townsfolk huddle around The Stranger and offer him a large reward should he agree to undergo a mission on their behalf. See, Princess Elizabeth Maria (Diana Lorys), needs to get to Spain so that she can help their people win a war they’re waging against a horde of invading Vikings! Getting her there will be tough, however, because the townsfolk seem to be constantly under siege by an equally dangerous population of Moors. The Stranger agrees and before you know it he and Elizabeth Maria are transformed briefly into cartoons as they voyage to Europe.

    Upon their arrival, those Moors start to cause trouble but that’s nothing compared to what happens next – The Stranger tries to steal gold lorded over by angry ghosts, winds up in possession of some sort of cursed magical amulet and fights a deranged hunchback. All in a days’ work? A better question might be ‘what the Hell is going on here?’

    This is an odd one to be sure, mixing comedy and action, adventure and fantasy all in fairly equal doses. It’s tone isn’t always consistent but that’s half the fun of the movie because you really don’t know where it’s going to go or what to expect of it. In the middle of all of this multi-cultural chaos is Anthony as the central character. Everyone is out to get him and yet he sort of sleepwalks through all of this. His performance is distant to be sure but his quick witted quips are delivered with enough dry sarcasm to work. He also handles himself well in the action scenes and of course shows some interesting, if sometimes unlikely, chemistry with the beautiful Diana Lorys as the female lead. Spanish born Lorys appeared in quite a few Spaghetti Westerns but will be remembered to a lot of Eurocult aficionados for her appearance in Jess Franco’s The Awful Doctor Orloff, Sex Charade, Nightmares Come At Night and The Bloody Judge and she’s got quite a screen presence in all of these films, one that Baldi more than capably exploits.

    Quickly paced and set to a genuinely interesting score from the super talented trio of Franco Bixio, Fabio Frizzi and Vince Tempera, Get Mean might not rank up there with the classics of the genre but it’s nothing if not entertaining. The action scenes are handled well, the cinematography does a great job of capturing the desolate Spanish locations and…. it’s got a crazy hunchback in it. All of these, combined with the interesting leads and just flat out wacky story, all add up to a good time at the movies.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Blue Underground brings Get Mean to Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.35.1 widescreen and generally it looks pretty good. Some print damage shows up here and there and it’s hard not to notice that some shots look stronger and more detailed than others, but this would seem to stem back to the way that the movie was shot rather than the transfer itself. There are occasional inconsistencies in color reproduction as well, but again, that would seem to be related to the lighting and shooting conditions. Black levels are generally very nice here and detail is, those softer scenes notwithstanding, generally pretty solid. Compression artifacts aren’t a problem, neither is edge enhancement, and if any noise reduction has been applied here it’s minor. All in all, the movie looks quite good on Blu-ray.

    Audio chores are handled by an English language DTS-HD Mono track. No alternate language options are provided although there are removable subtitles supplied in English, French and Spanish. There’s good clarity here, nice range and balance and at times some noticeable depth. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion to note.

    The extras, which are surprisingly plentiful, start off with an audio commentary from leading man Tony Anthony, co-writer and actor Lloyd Battista and executive producer Ronald J. Schneider moderated by David Gregory and it’s a good one. Lots of detail here as all involved offer up some interesting stories about shooting the film on location in Spain, working with the late Fernando Baldi (who also directed Anthony in quite a few other films) and some of the other cast members, how and why the film was bankrolled the way that it was and quite more. It’s a pretty engaging discussion that moves at a good pace.

    From there we move on to the featurettes, starting with the twenty-three minute long The Story Of The Stranger which is, as you’d probably guessed, an interview with Tony Anthony that isn’t just a discussion about his ‘The Stranger’ character but in fact a nice career overview. He talks about how he got into acting, the different films that he worked on, his manager, some of the director’s he dealt with and quite a bit more. Up next is Looking For Richard, an interview with Battista in which he speaks for thirteen minutes or so about his relationship with Anthony and his time working in the Italian film industry during the boom years of the Spaghetti Western craze. Beating A Dead Horse spends ten minutes with executive producer Ronald J. Schneider who talks about working with Anthony on a few projects and about some travel they did together as well as working with his uncle, Allen Klein, who managed Anthony for a while. Blue Underground have also dug up an eight minute archival interview with the late Fernando Baldi entitled Tony & I in which he talks about how he came to start working with the actor and some of the projects they worked on together, with a fair bit of emphasis on their 3-D picture Comin’ At Ya.

    Aside from that we also get a selection of Deleted Scenes that runs about eight minutes. They’re tape sourced which is never ideal, but better to have them here than not. A U.S. theatrical trailer is included as is a French trailer, a few radio spots, a still gallery, menus and chapter stops. Inside the case, along with the Blu-ray disc, is a DVD version of the movie with identical extras and an insert booklet containing a lengthy and interesting essay on the film written by Spaghetti Western expert Howard Hughes.

    The Final Word:

    Get Mean, Anthony’s last run as ‘The Stranger,’ is more of a bizarre adventure film with a cowboy in the lead than a traditional Spaghetti Western, so keep your expectations in check in that regard, but it is a whole lot of goofy fun regardless. Anthony is fun in the lead and Lorys sure is beautiful – if nothing else, the film is different! Blue Underground have rolled out the red carpet for this one, offering up the film in a nice HD presentation and with way more extras than anyone probably ever imagined.

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