top of page
  • Writer's pictureGabe Powers

Wrath of the Wind Blu-ray Review




Arrow Video

Blu-ray Release: December 12, 2023 (as part of the Savage Guns collection)

Video: 1.85:1/1080p/Color

Audio: Italian and English LPCM 2.0 Mono; Spanish LPCM 2.0 Mono (Spanish cut only

Subtitles: English, English SDH

Run Time: 97:49 (Italian and English cuts); 106:16 (Spanish version)

Director: Mario Camus


Note: This Blu-ray is currently only available as part of Arrow’s Savage Guns: Four Classic Westerns, Vol. 3 collection, which also includes Paolo Bianchini's I Want Him Dead (1968), Edoardo Mulargia's El Puro (aka: The Reward's Yours...The Man's Mine, 1969), and Lucio Fulci's Four of the Apocalypse (1975).


A gunslinging assassin (Terence Hill) finds his conscience when he and his brother are hired by a ruthless landholder (Fernando Rey) to kill the leaders of a growing labor movement. (From Arrow’s official synopsis)



Former child actor and developing leading man Mario Girotti made his western debut in a series of seven (arguably eight) West German-made films between 1964 and 1967. Largely shot around the Soviet Bloc, I’m not sure if these qualify as so-called ‘Red’ or ‘Ostern’ westerns, but I can verify that West and East German cowboy movies briefly flourished alongside Italian and Spanish-made ‘spaghetti’ westerns, but were quickly replaced when the Sergios Leone and Corbucci brands overtook the genre. In response, producers changed Girotti’s stage name to Terence Hill in an effort to redefine him as a Clint Eastwood/Franco Nero type. Hill then made his western debut in Ferdinando Baldi’s Rita of the West (Italian: Little Rita nel West, 1967), a ‘musicarello’ comedy vehicle for singer Rita Pavone, where he played the straight man (his second Pavone movie, following The Crazy Kids of War [Italian: La feldmarescialla, 1967]).


Just over a month later, Hill was paired with Carlo Pedersoli, who himself was renamed Bud Spencer, for Giuseppe Colizzi’s spaghetti hit God Forgives... I Don't! (Italian: Dio perdona... io no!, 1967), leading to the Cat Stevens & Hutch Bessy trilogy (named for Hill and Spencer’s characters), which included Aces High (Italian: I quattro dell'Ave Maria, 1968) and Boot Hill (Italian: La collina degli stivali, 1969). Along the way, in 1968, he was hired to play the lead in Ferdinando Baldi’s Django Prepare a Coffin (Italian: Preparati la bara!, 1968) due to his passing resemblance to Nero. Then, in late December 1970, Ezra Barboni’s They Call Me Trinity (Italian: Lo chiamavano Trinità, 1970) was released and became a cultural phenomenon. Its success heralded the dominance of the comedy western, magnified the already impressive box office appeal of Hill & Spencer for the next decade-plus, and essentially ended Hill’s career as a dramatic leading man. Soon, every one of his westerns was re-released with a new title in hopes of tricking audiences into paying to see a movie they might have already seen. For a time, Terence Hill, who was once Mario Girotti, became known almost exclusively as Trinity.



Easily overlooked in the grand arc of the Eurowesterns, Mario Camus’ Wrath of the Wind (Italian: La collera del vento, 1970) represents the end of Hill’s already successful time as a serious antihero type and his comedic superstardom, both in terms of its release date (literally weeks before They Call Me Trinity) and thematic content. It’s among his darkest westerns and quietest performances – definitely something made in the shadow of Leone and Corbucci’s somber statements on the genre, Once Upon a Time in the West (Italian: C'era una volta il West) and The Great Silence (Italian: Il grande silenzio), both released in 1968, although with a healthy dash of melodrama, bodice-ripping, and gushy blood squibs that might indicate influence from Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch (1969).


Wrath of the Wind (renamed Trinity Sees Red for re-release) is also probably Hill’s most overtly political western (depending on one’s opinion of Damiano Damiani’s A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe [Italian: Un genio, due compari, un pollo, 1975]). While not a Zapata western by definition, it was clearly inspired by the movement as a left-leaning Eurowestern that uses period conflicts to comment on modern class struggles; in this case, rather plainly (revolution is the major theme and there are several scenes of characters openly discussing leftist philosophy and worker’s rights). Camus even employs Villa Rides (1968), Price of Power (Italian: Il prezzo del potere, 1969), and Compañeros (1970) star Fernado Rey to give the film a little extra political western credibility.



Wrath of the Wind differentiates itself by not using a large-scale conflict (the American Indian Wars, the American Civil War, the Mexican Revolution, et cetera) as its backdrop. In fact, it doesn’t even take place in North America or Mexico, but in a vaguely defined late nineteenth century Spain. Most spaghetti westerns were, in fact, shot in Spain, but in the desert and on stages, so the use of actual countryside locations completely changes the timbre of the storytelling to something almost more akin to non-western political dramas, like Damiano Damiani’s The Day of the Owl (Italian: Il giorno della civetta; aka: Mafia, also released in 1968), in spite of the number of cowboy movie tropes still at play. As such, Wrath of the Wind exists somewhere between genres, as well as at the edge of the mainstream’s crossover from standard westerns to comedy westerns and politically-charged poliziotteschi.


Video

Wrath of the Wind had some stateside home video releases, thanks to its tenuous connection to the Trinity series. Budget label Echo Bridge Entertainment and grey market label Videoasia included it with multi-movie packs as The Revenge of Trinity. From what I can tell, no DVD release, including newer European ones have been anamorphically enhanced. Arrow lists this Blu-ray debut as another 2K restoration of the original camera negatives, but, according to the title card (which is in Italian) this was actually a 4K restoration. Though it isn’t marked as an Arrow exclusive, I don’t believe this 1080p, 1.85:1 transfer was used for the 1080i German BD. 



Arrow has also included two versions of the film: the original Italian/export cut and an extended Spanish cut. The grain has a bit of that suspicious snowy quality that makes me think it doesn’t perfectly reproduce the actual grain texture, but it looks good in motion, unlike the awkward telecine scans from the early Blu-ray era. Details are tight and busy, but what stands out here is the rich, punchy color quality and nice dynamic range, especially those lush outdoor greens. There are a handful of roughened and wash-out inserts throughout the film, mostly relegated to the final reel of the original cut only. Come to think of it, perhaps the Spanish cut was a 2K scan. It has slightly different color quality, less overall detail, but more naturalistic film grain.


Audio

Wrath of the Wind comes fitted with English, Italian, and Spanish LPCM mono audio options, though each is locked to the English, Italian, or Spanish version of the film – there is no option to switch between them mid-movie. Also, while it’s nice that Arrow has included the Spanish cut, it’s disappointing that they haven’t included an English/Spanish and/or Italian/Spanish hybrid track(s), like they did for the Spanish cut of El Puro. Obviously, the film was shot without sound, so all tracks are dubbed, but English and Italian dubs are typically preferred to Spanish ones. Fortunately, this is a solid Spanish track in terms of performance quality (Fernado Ray was clearly speaking Spanish on set and may have dubbed himself) and all three mixes are pretty similar where effects and music are concerned. Augusto Martelli’s score has some of that familiar spaghetti whistle and twang, including a melancholically sung title theme (“Free”), but further embraces traditional Spanish music, including a diegetic flamenco dance scene.



Extras

  • Commentary with Howard Hughes (Italian/English cut) – The critic, spaghetti western expert, and author of Once Upon A Time in the Italian West: The Filmgoers' Guide to Spaghetti Westerns (I. B. Tauris, 2005) explores the film’s production and post-Trinity reediting, Terence Hill’s career and the Trinity phenomenon, the wider careers of other cast & crew members, the Spanish locations and other Spanish-set pseudo-westerns (such as Luigi Bazzoni’s Man, Pride and Vengeance [Italian: L'uomo, l'orgoglio, la vendetta, 1968]), and connections to other Eurowesterns (particularly political ones). 

  • Campesinos: Al Poder! (16:58, HD) – A new introduction from Professor of History of Italian Cinema at the University for Foreigners of Perugia (Italy), journalist, and film critic, Fabio Melelli, who discusses Wrath of the Wind’s status as a hybrid western, its lack of time and place, the state of Spanish politics in 1970 and possible references to General Franco’s regime, Camus’ career and ties to Italy, Hill’s stardom, and the wider careers of other cast & crew members. 

  • The Days of Wrath (19:07, HD) – Camera operator Roberto D'Ettorre Piazzoli recalls coming up in the industry, the making of Wrath of the Wind from his limited point-of-view, and working with Camus, cinematographer Roberto Gerardi, and the cast.

  • They Call It... Red Cemetery! (9:28, HD) – A 2022 short film homage to the spaghetti westerns directed by Francisco Lacerda (Karaoke Night [2019]).

  • Alternate Revenge of Trinity opening titles (3:41, HD)

  • Image gallery



The images on this page are taken from the BDs and sized for the page. Larger versions can be viewed by clicking the images. Note that there will be some JPG compression.

0 comments

Kommentare


bottom of page