In the quiet western town of Clifton, Scott is the naive town fool. As a simple bastard of a prostitute, Scott grew up without a place in Clifton and without knowing who fathered him and is belittled. Scott is only good for is taking up sweeping outside homes, taking care of the horses, and collecting the residential human waste for disposal in order to earn a better living for himself. But That all changed when Frank Talby rode into town. The infamous gunslinger takes the adoring Scott under his wing and turns the town fool into Talby’s right hand gun for hire, making Scott a fast drawing force in Clifton. When Talby takes the reigns over the town of Clifton, Scott doesn’t pity those who mistreated him as Talby turns the disrespectful rich into the town fools, but the one man that cared for Scott is the one man Talby hates the most from his past and Scott must choose between his long time mentor or his newly found idol when the two showdown.
This is a first; a spaghetti western review on Its Bloggin’ Evil! But I just love the genre with the rich story lines and colorful dialogues and dynamics between characters. The genre never becomes dull, the desert stricken west never looks unbearable on screen, and, just like that Seth MacFarlane movie, there are certainly are a million ways to die in the west. Director Tonino Valerli’s “Day of Anger” fits the bill for the Italian Western genre. Also entitled “Gunlaw” or “I giorni dell’ira,” Rome born Giuliana Gemma stars as Scott Mary to make this an authentic spaghetti western and genre veteran, and overall on screen bad guy, Lee Van Cleef, who you may recognize form “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” as the downright mean snake Frank Talby.
The story directly sets up Scott as this blundering idiot, but if you watch closely during the progression of the character, Scott is written with easter eggs showcasing him as being quick, agile, and strong. With Talby schooling him on how to be a gritty gunslinger, Scott is well on his way to being what he always idolized and instead of being the town joke, the town fears him. This is also where the script becomes a bit of enigma because you want Scott, the fool, to be respected by the people of Clifton. Yet, the people still don’t respect Scott and only fear him because he’s becoming like the ruthless Talby who the town folk despise. Giuliana Gemma does a fine job at portraying the nitwit part of Scott, but not so much the quick draw, new and improved Scott. Gemma made the character growth too easy and didn’t sell it properly to have Scott earn the right to be tough.
Lee Van Cleef, on the other hand, is damn nasty. The natural look of undermining and deceptiveness with power and brutality just can’t be undone in any project Cleef undertakes. The character Talby is formidable, cutthroat, and smart and Cleef plays those qualities to the exact tune. Scott is severely overshadowed by Talby making Cleef more of the stud as the “Day of Anger” headlining actor than Giuliana. Giuliana had some success in the niche genre under the pseudo name Montgomery Wood, maybe because it sounded more American or more Hollywood, but when death came for the genre, so did it for Gemma’s lucrative Italian career. Overall, both male leads are not hindered by a female love interest. “Day of Anger,” from start to finish, only contains a handful of scenes were women become prevalent.
The Arrow Film’s Blu-ray released from MVDVisual is quite awe-inspiring sharp with a beautifully brilliant picture that is presented in it’s original aspect ratio 2.35:1 format from the transfer of the original negative. The long range shots of the desert are unbelievable with the 1080p transfer. The contrasting colors amongst the town of Clifton organically bring the town to life, constructing a seemingly realistic town rather than a stage or a set. The audio comes in three soundtrack options: English (longer cut of the film), Italian (longer cut of the film), or English (shorter international version). The Riz Ortolani soundtrack really stands out clearly and firmly but not in annoying overbearing style that doesn’t sync with the film or with the characters’ dialogues. There are a few high frequency pops during a couple of transitional scenes, but these won’t distract from the amazing film. This Region A and B Blu-ray is absolutely stunning with loads of extras just waiting to be experienced. MVD and Arrow Film’s Blu-ray version of “Day of Anger,” the first time on Blu-ray anywhere in the world, would be a fine piece for anybody’s western collection.