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Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
Ranking:
Sale Price: $27.44 Last Price: $39.95 Buy now! 3rd Party 21.56 In Stock
Release Date: May 31st, 2022 Movie Release Year: 1964

A Fistful of Dollars - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

Sergio Leone may not have started the Spaghetti Western, but with the first of three films A Fistful of Dollars, he put up plenty of celluloid for the cause. This beloved classic has had a rocky road on disc in recent years but Kino Lorber Studio Classics delivers the first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a gorgeous 2160p SDR transfer that finally extinguishes the terrible yellow/brown color timing, offers crisp clean details with a beautifully organic cinematic appearance. Toss in two terrific audio tracks, and all previous bonus features and this film finally gets the due treatment it has long-deserved Highly Recommended

UPDATE 5/10/22 
Now includes 4K sourced images and video clip

The film that started it all… the genre of “spaghetti western” was born, “The Man with No Name” was introduced and the iconic talents of star Clint Eastwood (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, High Plains Drifter), director Sergio Leone (For a Few Dollars More, A Fistful of Dynamite) and composer Ennio Morricone (Navajo Joe, Death Rides a Horse) were launched. An instant international phenomenon, this hard-hitting epic stunned audiences with its violence, gritty realism and tongue-in-cheek humor. A lean, cold-eyed, cobra-quick gunfighter (Eastwood) arrives in a grim and dusty border town where two rival bands of smugglers terrorize the impoverished citizens. Though he receives lucrative offers of employment from each gang, his loyalty cannot be bought. He accepts both jobs...and sets in motion a deadly plan to destroy the criminals, pitting one against the other in a series of brilliantly orchestrated setups, showdowns and deadly confrontations. Co-starring Marianne Koch (Night People, The Devil’s General) and Gian Maria Volontè (Face to Face, Lucky Luciano), A Fistful of Dollars is the western taken to the extreme.

DISC 1 (4KUHD)
• Over 24 hours of extensive shot-by-shot color grading of the logarithmic restored 4K files provided by L’Immagine Ritrovata
• Audio Commentary by Novelist and Critic Tim Lucas
• Audio Commentary by Noted Film Historian Sir Christopher Frayling
• 5.1 Surround and Original 2.0 Mono
• Triple-Layered UHD100 Disc
• Optional English Subtitles
DISC 2 (BLU-RAY)
• Over 24 Hours of extensive shot-by-shot color grading of the logarithmic restored 4K files provided by L’Immagine Ritrovata
• Audio Commentary by Novelist and Critic Tim Lucas
• Audio Commentary by Noted Film Historian Sir Christopher Frayling
• Interview with Actress Marianne Koch
• The Christopher Frayling Archives: A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS
• A New Kind of Hero
• A Few Weeks in Spain: Clint Eastwood on the Experience of Making the Film
• Tre Voci: Three Friends Remember Sergio Leone
• Not Ready for Primetime: Renowned Filmmaker Monte Hellman Discusses the Television Broadcast of A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS
• The Network Prologue with Harry Dean Stanton
• Location Comparisons: Then to Now
• TRAILERS FROM HELL with John Badham
• A FISTFUL in Pictures Image Gallery
• Promoting A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS Image Gallery
• A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS On the Set Image Gallery
• Archival Outtakes
• Radio Spots
• Double Bill Trailer
• Theatrical Trailer
• 5.1 Surround and Original 2.0 Mono
• Double-Layered BD50 Disc
• Optional English Subtitles
Color 99 Minutes 2.35:1 Rated R

OVERALL:
Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
2160p HEVC/H.265
Length:
99
Aspect Ratio(s):
2.35:1
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH
Release Date:
May 31st, 2022

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

[Excerpt from my 2018 Review of A Fistful of Dollars]

"My mistake, four coffins."
“Eastwood may be a first-time headliner here, but you can see he was already hitting a new high point in his career and eager to expand his creative horizons. He carries the part with confidence and an ample amount of charisma to make "Joe" an interesting character to follow. His sometimes questionable morals somehow always give way to doing the right thing for innocent folk. He's never postered as a righteous character, but he has his principles.

Counter to that we get to enjoy Gian Maria Volonté's sinister and insane Ramón Rojo. He's such an energetic presence between this film and the follow-up For a Few Dollars More it's always baffled me that he never really broke out outside of Italy - and passed away entirely too young. Meanwhile, the man who dubbed Gian for these two films Nando Gazzolo got to enjoy a long career as an actor and uncredited voice actor dubbing a variety of characters. I always get excited every time I hear that grizzly voice!

I've always found it rather humorous that Sergio Leone was sued for copyright infringement by Akira Kurosawa and his producers over Yojimbo. Granted, being born over 20 years after each of these films were made, I'm looking at the situation in hindsight, but it seems like such an iconic story that it's always been a part of the Western mythology. A mysterious gunslinger or warrior wanders into a small town and works two different criminal enterprises against each other. I feel like I've seen that story or read it so many different ways and yet it's still engrossing. 

2022 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

2022 Blu-ray

2018 Blu-ray

Years after watching those two movies countless times I came across Red Harvest in a collected works book of Dashiell Hammett and I was surprised that this nearly identical story predated both movies by 30 years! My point is, when you toss in the equally entertaining 1996 Bruce Willis actioner Last Man Standing, you do find yourself with a story that is truly timeless. Change the location and the time period a little and you've got another compelling version of the same story we've seen and read any number of times now."

 

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
A Fistful of Dollars
fires away at 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in a new two-disc collection from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. The 4K version of the film gets a BD-100 disc with the newly remastered version in 1080p scoring a BD-50 disc. To clarify, the 1080p disc IS NOT the same disc as the 2018 release from KLSC. The discs are housed in a standard sturdy black case with identical o-card slipcover artwork. There isn’t any reversible insert art this time around. Both discs load to nearly identical static image main menus with the film’s iconic score playing in the background.

Note - I haven’t been able to rip the 4K disc, images for the updated release are pulled from the new 1080p disc. When I can I’ll update this review with full-rez 2160p images and video sample.

Video Review

Ranking:

2022 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

2022 Blu-ray

2018 Blu-ray

At long last, that dreaded yellow/brown push that’s been so prevalent after the L’lmmagine Ritrovata restorations is finally expunged. It’s been a long time coming and after some extensive shot-by-shot color grading, KLSC is able to deliver the goods in SDR 2160p and it’s beautiful. The first shot of Joe riding into town on his muel is a breath of fresh air. Those blue skies are actually blue! The white adobe homes and buildings are actually an appropriate bright crisp white. Flesh tones are actually healthy and accurate without every cast member looking jaundiced. Blacks and shadows look terrific without steeping into crush or appearing poopy brown.

In 2160p this image looks terrific allowing you to fully appreciate the intricate details on display. Film grain is apparent throughout but hardly distracting giving the image a lovely cinematic appeal. Without HDR this disc is going to look best on large displays and projectors. The included 1080p disc is equally impressive so even if you’re not on the 4K wagon train yet, this set is still worth picking up. Flipping between the discs the 4K disc with its extra resolution and high average bitrate into the mid-90mbps range offers subtle detail refinements - especially in close up - over the 1080p disc.

I also felt the sense of image depth and dimension was much stronger in 2160p over the new and old Blu-ray discs. I’m not privy as to why some discs come with HDR and some don’t - often its a rights holder and legal call - but think of what you’re getting here like what KLSC brought with The Great Escape, a terrifically enhanced disc for a film that now looks better than ever that easily outpaces its predecessors. Now in this crazy world of home video disc collecting it’s possible a different foreign rights holder will drop their own version with HDR, but I’ve heard no rumblings of that. As it stands, this is the best we’ve ever had and are likely to get for some time.

Audio Review

Ranking:

2022 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

2022 Blu-ray

2018 Blu-ray

This time around KLSC opts for only two audio tracks - the same decent DTS-HD MA 5.1 track that’s been around the block a while and what sounds to be the same DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono track. As before these are both great listening experiences - the 5.1 track is a nice surround effort that doesn’t sound forcer or overworked or riddled with frustratingly inauthentic-sounding enhanced audio effects. It also rolls on DTS Neural:X nicely if that’s the way you want to go. That said, for my fistful of dollars, I still stick with the 2.0 mono track as the way to go. 

Special Features

Ranking:

2022 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

2022 Blu-ray

2018 Blu-ray

While there’s nothing new in the soup here, this bonus features package is pretty stacked. The bulk of the bonus features are on the standard Blu-ray disc, but the 4K disc keeps the two audio commentaries so they’re not banished to only 1080p - so that’s helpful. The rest of the package is ported over from the previous release - the only thing missing I could see from the trailer gallery was the Once Upon A Time In The West trailer - which really isn’t anything to lose any sleep about. 

4K Disc

  • Audio Commentary featuring Tim Lucas
  • Audio Commentary featuring Film Historian Sir Christopher Frayling 

1080p Disc

  • Audio Commentary featuring Film Historian Tim Lucas
  • Audio Commentary featuring Film Historian Sir Christopher Frayling 
  • Marianne Koch Interview (HD 32:57)
  • The Christopher Frayling Archives (HD 18:40)
  • A New Kind of Hero (SD 22:53)
  • A Few Weeks In Spain (SD 8:32)
  • Tre Voci: Three Friends Remember Sergio Leone (SD 11:13)
  • Not Ready for Primetime with Monte Hellman (SD 6:18)
  • The Network Prologue with Harry Dean Stanton (SD 7:03)
  • Location Comparisons (SD 5:21)
  • Trailers from Hell with John Badham (HD 3:58)
  • Original Outtakes (HD 2:41)
  • A Fistful of Pictures Gallery (HD 14:51)
  • Promoting A Fistful of Dollars Gallery (HD 15:47)
  • A Fistful of Dollars On The Set Image Gallery (HD 3:56)
  • 10 Radio Spots (6:03)
  • Double Bill Trailer (SD 2:06)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD 2:32)
  • For a Few Dollars More Trailer (SD 2:29)
  • The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Trailer (SD 3:22)
  • A Fistful of Dynamite Trailer (SD 3:35)

2022 Blu-ray

2018 Blu-ray

The one that kickstarted the infamous The Man With No Name Trilogy - A Fistful of Dollars arrives with style to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray thanks to Kino Lorber Studio Classics. Of the trilogy, this isn’t the strongest entry, but it’s still an incredible film and a genuine classic in the genre nonetheless. Finally, fans get a truly beautiful home video presentation that corrects the obnoxious brown/yellow push of past releases. The 1080p Blu-ray is great on its own and even without HDR, the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc is a beast offering a beautiful clean image, sharp details, bold natural colors, and a great sense of image depth. Highly Recommended