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The Last Gun/4 Dollars of Revenge: Spaghetti Western Double Feature (Blu-ray Review)

In our continuing series of specialized double feature reviews we will now bring you a spaghetti western double feature entitled The Last Gun and 4 Dollars of Revenge. A note about the formatting for this review.  Since we’re not going to write up a separate review for each film, just consider it a 2 in 1 review instead.  The ratings given in each category will be cumulative and averaged out in the end. 

Films

The Last Gun is the story of a retired gunslinger (Cameron Mitchell) who gets brought back into the world of shootouts and dealings with scum bandits.  It’s kind of like The Godfather, “just when I thought I was out they pull me back in.”  What’s odd about the The Last Gun is that all of the bad guys and their associates are introduced first and have lengthy intros before the story actually gets established.  The women are gorgeous especially the brunette (Célina Cély), I believe.

The problem with trying to categorize these actors is that some of them never worked in film again.  The Last Gun was one of the early spaghetti westerns from the 1960’s. The craft had not been perfected even though Sergio Leone was already working on his western films.  The dubbing is horrible, the story is weak, and one of it’s only saving graces are the shootouts, stuntwork, and Célina Cély.

4 Dollars of Revenge is a little bit more even and deep.  Robert Woods stars in this much better film about the final days of the civil war.  Before retiring he is entrusted with one last mission.  He is to escort a shipment of Confederate gold back to Washington.  Along the way he and his entourage are attacked, and the gold is stolen.  When he returns he is accused of masterminding the holdup and theft of the gold.  He escapes with intentions of clearing his name. 

4 Dollars of Revenge features some outstanding shootouts, sword fights (if you can believe it), and more daring stunts.  There’s even a really cool conspiracy plot line (that I won’t spoil) which really adds depth to the whole film.  The film isn’t even 90 minutes long!

The Last Gun and 4 Dollars of Revenge aren’t good films at all, but do serve as curious exercises in the early exploration of the spaghetti western.  They contain much more comical, hyper-stylized set pieces than your average western film.  One can consider spaghetti westerns as a comic book “splash page.”  Give ’em a spin.

Video

The Last Gun is presented a 1080p 1.96:1 aspect ratio.  I’m confused.  The back of the box says that these films have “all new high-definition transfers,” but that means nothing when they look this bad.  I understand all about age and possible film damage.  I’ll clarify that these films have NOT been restored.  Whatever source material was available must have been in horrible shape.  Scratches, flickers, debree, noise, and countless artifacts litter the screen in every frame.  It’s like a perpetual hailstorm.

4 Dollars of Revenge is presented a 1080p 2.46:1 aspect ratio.  Again, just like The Last Gun, 4 Dollars of Revenge suffers from all of the problems that appeared in The Last Gun. There really isn’t much more to be said about the transfer.  You can even say that they have a Grindhouse look to them.  I’m not so sure that that was the original intention by the filmmakers.  The one bright side is that they’re both presented in their original anamorphic aspect ratios.

Audio

The Last Gun is presented in DTS HD 2.0 and PMC Uncompressed 2.0.  Not that much better than it’s video counterpart, but for a western it sounds okay.  It’s a front driven mix, but the awful dubbing and stock sounding sound effects may or may not take you out of the film.  Gunfire does sound good and dialogue is pretty clear and distinctive.  There is some hiss, but considering that this film is more than forty five years old, it’s to be expected.

4 Dollars of Revenge is presented in DTS HD 2.0 and PMC Uncompressed 2.0.  Just like The Last Gun, but with what seems like a bigger budget, 4 Dollars of Revenge is also a very front driven mix with clear dubbed dialogue, but no depth of field.  Hiss is also present throughout the film.  Don’t expect to get blown away by either of these soundtracks.

Special Features 

  • The Last Gun trailer
  • 4 Dollars of Revenge trailer

Final Thoughts

The cumulative rating for this Blu-ray package would be a one star, but since I have an affinity for the western genre it will get a final score of one and a half.  The films aren’t unwatchable, but are very interesting in the sense of this is where it all started as far as spaghetti westerns go.  There are many more of these to explore out there and I hope to do that soon on Blu-ray.  The tech-specs are what cripple this release, but what are you gonna do, right?  If you want to take a trip back through western memory lane, The Last Gun and 4 Dollars of Revenge is a good place to start.

Bring home The Last Gun/4 Dollars of Revenge on Blu-ray!

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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