Romance, Western

Man, Pride and Vengeance (1967)

Comments Off on Man, Pride and Vengeance (1967) 08 September 2015

Man Pride Vengeance

Studio: Blue Underground

Theatrical Release: December 22, 1967 (Italy)

Blu Ray Release: May 26, 2015

Director: Luigi Bazzoni

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

Blue Underground’s release of the little seen Man, Pride and Vengeance gets the special Blue Underground treatment with a superb transfer and some decent extra features that will appeal to fans of the genre. My question however is which genre?  Is this a western? Is this a romance? Is this a psychological drama? Judging from the poster (which is on the blu ray cover) and description listed, one would think this is another spaghetti western and maybe this is why I was left disappointed after watching Man, Pride and Vengeance.

Set in Spain, a handsome guard named Jose (Franco Nero, the original Django) is stationed at the entrance of a cigar factory In Seville where he meets a beautiful gypsy woman named Carmen (Tina Aumont from Torso and Salon Kitty) who is trouble the moment they meet. Jose is instantly captivated by her beauty but also her mystique as this woman is an enigma to him. Every time the two cross paths she somehow sets Jose up, using him for her own purposes. All she needs to do is smile and flap her eyelids and POOF, she gets what she wants (sounds like a few women I’ve known). Jose is eventually jailed because of her stealing but yet he continues lust after Carmen, like a lovelorn puppy dog (sounds like a few men I’ve known).

Jose’s life takes a turn for the worst when his commanding officer is also seeing Carmen, resulting in a brawl between the two with Jose killing him. Carmen pleads with Jose to leave Seville and join a group of bandits who plan to rob a wealthy aristocrat while traveling the desert. Jose agrees and takes up with the bandits only to find out that one of them is Carmen’s husband (Klaus Kinski). As Jose takes up with these villains, he himself starts to sink to their depths and soon becomes a murder and fugitive like these men.

Man, Pride and Vengeance is a drag for half the film. The first half is essentially a romantic period tale about two different lovers. The second half shifts to a much darker and more exciting story about a man’s descent into jealousy and anger as he goes from an officer of the law to a murdering thief. With that said, the film does get much more interesting once the first 45-50 minutes are over. And that is my biggest issue; the first act is so long and so dull it was hard to keep my attention on these two lovers. It didn’t help that Jose was such a pussy and Carmen, while hot, is a complete evil bitch. I couldn’t wait for Jose to get his revenge on this woman who destroyed his life.

Shot on location at Andalucia, the movie is gorgeous to look at with some amazing photography by Camillo Bazzoni who utilizes the 2:35:1 ratio quite well. I wouldn’t last five seconds if I had seen this pan & scan. It’s a shame that director Luigi Bazzoni didn’t make more films as he had a knack for atmosphere and style which Man, Pride and Vengeance definitely has. Tis a shame that the first half of the movie is such an uninvolving borefest.

There is some talk about Blue Underground’s transfer looking like it has too much DNR as complexions come off as waxy. I didn’t notice this at all and thought the image looked quite good and very clear. The 2.0 mono soundtrack may not have several loud gunshots or sounds of horses trampling out of the different channels of one’s sound system but I still found the audio to be fairly decent with dialog (although dubbed) clearly spoken.

The special features are fairly decent but given the film is close to 50 years old, most of the performers and crew have all passed away. Instead of a commentary track by the director or cast members, there is a commentary track by two journalists (yawn). In a much better featurette, there are interviews with camera operator Vittorio Storaro and star Nero, discussing their friendship as well as working on Man, Pride and Vengeance. There is also an international trailer as well as an Italian trailer which both go on way too long and show too much of the movie.

Listen, maybe I am at fault here for being too picky or setting my expectations high but when I hear about a spaghetti western starring Franco Nero and Klaus Kinski, I expect to watch something weird, violent, and/or entertaining. I do not expect or want to watch a romance. While Man, Pride and Vengeance does eventually pick up and start to get good once Kinski’s introduced, the overlong and annoying first act is just too hard to get through.

Movie Rating: ★★½☆☆

Blu Ray Rating: ★★★½☆

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