Lee Van Cleef, often a villain, incarnates a sneering hero in Sabata (1969). He uncovers skullduggery at the highest levels in a small town, and proceeds to blackmail the crooked, sadistic, and rather effeminate Colonel at the head of the criminal racket. Plenty of gadgety gun battles are involved.
Yul Brynner steps into the role for Adios, Sabata (1970), and this time he defends Mexican villagers against their tyrannical Austrian masters. Brynner cuts a fine figure i… black and does menace well, but ironically brings a bit too much dignity to the role. This is part that cries out for the leering sleaze Van Cleef does so well.
And back Van Cleef comes for The Return of Sabata. This time he’s after the gold stolen by the head of the Irish organized crime family that runs the town he has wound up in. As ever, plenty of bang-bang shoot-shoot is present and correct, and nothing it taken seriously. The James Bond-isms that the series employed are also here, with loads of gimmickry weaponry, while the lighting often resembles a Mario Bava film, what with the washes of reds and greens.
In short, while this series in no way represents the artistic high points of the Spaghetti Western, it does show a commendable and totally unrestrained desire to entertain.
The audio is mono, and very much so. The dubbing is obvious (as is to be expected with Italian films of this kind). The sound is also a bit on the thin side. Still, the tracks are all pretty clean and clear.
All three films are presented in the original 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio, and the prints are in very good shape, with no damage or grain to speak of. The colours are very sumputous, ramping up the eye candy quotient. The sharpness is very variable, however, with the Brynner film looking particularly soft.
Nothing here but some western trailers (but not for the Sabata trilogy). The menus are basic.
Fun westerns that in no way tax the brain. Nice to have them all in one place.
Special Features List