5 Star DVD package - marred by MGM/Sony DVD sound problem!!!
Robert W. Grandcolas | Eatontown, NJ United States | 11/30/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Sabata is one of the very best Spaghetti Westerns. Unfortunately this DVD is marred by a terrible sound-sink problem throughout most of the middle of the film. And I do not mean bad dubbing! Sabata was filmed with the actors speaking entirely in English so the sound should be perfect. The sound becomes and stays so out of sink that voices and all sound effects (footsteps, slaps, gun shots etc.) are noticeably off by what seems like two seconds. There is one scene where Sharky's mother is slapping him. The slap sounds occur every time she pulls her hand back. Characters continue to move their mouths long after their voices have stopped. This completely mars one of the greatest spaghetti westerns of all time and the very best of the three Sabata films! This is a problem with the MGM/Sony DVD pressing not with the original film.
Sabata is otherwise an excellent combination of western action, acrobats, fancy gadgets, humor, good music and clever camera work. The acting by Lee Van Cleef and the rest of the cast is top notch.
Van Cleef, a great character actor who has incredible presence, who always apears in charge but never upstages the other actors helps to give the cast an ensemble feeling rather then a one man show.
The clever editing, fluid camera work, and color photography in Sabata is super. The film is extremely stylish and purposely tongue in cheek, highly entertaining, imaginative, and funny.
The plot - A trio of city-big-wigs attempt to empty the bank. Sabata finds out and blackmails the buch. The trio sends more and more bad guys to dispatch Sabata (Blazing Saddles Style). With each attempt the henchmen are bumped-off (in increasingly funny and imaginative ways). After each attempt Sabata ups the anti. This continues until all hell breaks loose in a wonderfully filmed Indiana Jones style shootout.
Roger Greenspun of the New York Times accurately describes the film in his review: "As heroic fiction, it is stronger on colorful success than on noble character, but it is so energetic and at the same time so tactful about its achievements that I find it impossible not to credit most of its ideas at face value-and sometimes a little more... Sabata (Lee Van Cleef) is a black-cloaked mysterious stranger, with looks of Judex and the manner of Fearless Fosdick...Sabata is one of those rarities (even among mysterious strangers) who absolutely never makes mistakes, never is surprised, and always wins, usually by superior fire power, even when their enemies number an army. He is assisted (not that he needs it) by a Mexican ne'er-do-well (Pedro Sanchez) and an acrobatic Indian (Nick Jordan) whose leaps and somersaults wonderfully extend the meticulous agility that is central to Sabata's enterprise and to the film's style...style must be very nearly an article of faith with (director) Frank Kramer (his real name is Gianfranco Parolini) whose graceful camera performs elegant arabesques above the simplicities of a plot for which he is also partially responsible. "Sabata" keeps throwing out almost gratuitous pleasures in movement and design-like the lovely Mario Bava adventure films-and for this enterprising prodigality Kramer deserves praise. So do the cast members"
Now for the other two films in this package.
Adios Sabata and The Return of Sabata do not have the problem with sound. They are flawed but still entertaining films. Neither can hold a candle to the original Sabata.
I agree with others that Yule's overly serious rendition of Sabata and his outlandish western custom really detract from a potentially very good Adios Sabata. Adios Sabata has a darker tone due to Brynner's performance, political overtones and an ultra cruel bad guy. The film is even more tongue in cheek and looks more expensive then Sabata. There is more acrobats, outlandish gimmicks and gadgets. Yule's serious performance and costume just don't make it as Sabata although the rest of the cast is excellent.
In Return of Sabata Van Cleef and most of the original cast are back but have the thankless task of trying to keep an OK but confusing film on track. They almost manage it. The opening theme song is typical of the problems with the film. Like the film - you don't know how to take the theme song. Is it unintentionally inept and silly or purposely tongue in cheek, campy or meant as joke? There is an annoying feeling that the filmmakers had too many ideas but couldn't quit put them together. But there are still some clever plot twists, gimmicks and enough color and humor to keep you entertained. The cast again is very good. Stylistically there appears to be more Mario Bava influence - especially on the way the action is filmed and colorful lighting. The film does not deserve to be Harry & Michael Medved's "The Fifty Worst Films of All Time." Did the Medveds possibly have a vendetta against Van Cleef for some reason? - They were especially cruel to him in their review.
PS to Michael - generaly I respect your reviews and opinions.
The film stock - crispness, contrast, and color - is excellent on all three films in this DVD set. The sound quality - although mono is top grade and full bodied and almost devoid of hiss. There are no extras on the DVDs.
We have waited a long time for Sabata to come out on DVD. The packaging for the three Sabata films is very nice. But the sound problem on Sabata is terribly disappointing and makes this perfect DVD package almost unacceptable. I would have given this otherwise beautiful package 5 stars if not for the sound problem on Sabata.
Note - Since writting this review I have bought MGMs European PAL regon 2 version of Sabata [...] and the sound is in perfect sink with the film thoughout. If you have a PAL all-region DVD player this is the version of Sabata to get. Its great - 5 stars!"
The Best Spaghetti Western Trilogy? No, but good fun none th
Brian J. Griffin | 11/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD trilogy collects all three of the Sabata films in great quality. There are no real extras and special features, but that's ok. You don't really need them. The sound and picture quality is just spiffy. They put a nice little collection together.
The movies themselves are three of the better Spaghetti Westerns. While they are nowhere near the greatness of the Leone films, they are all a pretty fun watch. Actually these films aren't really a trilogy. They all pretty much stand up on their own.
Lee Van Cleef stars as Sabata in the first and third film. Here he has a fantastic screen presence. He does a great job of bringing Sabata to life. Yul Brynner's Sabata in Adios Sabata is quite different. He's very quiet and stern. He also wears a pretty silly costume. Despite that, he does a decent job. It's just not Sabata. They should have just called him Indio Black in this film.
All three movies have similar plots and characters. In fact, much of the cast appears in all three films playing the same types of characters. These movies cannot be taking to seriously. While the gunplay is pretty well done, expect to see lots of weird gimmicks. Characters who do flips and cartwheels off of roofs, others who kick tiny steal balls at opponents, and all types of weird gimmicky guns. Don't expect a gritty realistic western. It's all pretty wild stuff. If you can deal with all of that, then sit back and enjoy. On a side note, the music in the first two films is fantastic.
If you like Spaghetti Westerns, I think this trilogy is a must for your collection. In my opinion Lee Van Cleef does some of his best work in the first Sabata film. So check it out, but use caution. Don't expect these movies to be anything like the "Dollar Trilogy." It's more of a fun ride that's not meant to be taken to seriously.
"sabata" rides again
movie hound john | 01/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"i saw these films when i was 9 or 10 years old and loved them. lee van cleef was a much better actor than people gave him credit for. the first film "sabata" is something of a cross between the man with no name movies and bond films. the action and story move so quickly you don't have time to care about and plot holes there may be. if you have seen "desperado" then you will see how sabata had to be part of what inspired it. guns hidden in strange places and mind blowing action scenes will keep you glued to the t.v. adios,sabata the second movie puts yul brynner in the role and though he is a fine actor this film and his acting just never really mesh and this is why i gave this set a 4 and not a 5. return of sabata puts van cleef back in the saddle and sends this series out with a bang. if you like spaghetti westerns this should please you and belongs beside the man with no name movies in your collection."
A classic trilogy
Dong Tran | Bloomfield, NJ United States | 02/23/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This trilogy is a collector's item as far as Italian-made westerns are concerned. The characters are not consistent from film to film but the plots are intricate for westerns. Don't expect too much but have fun just the same."
Van cleef swims nicely as "sabata",but brynner sinks beneath
John D. Page | usa | 05/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"all right ,i love westerns and "SABATA" AND "THE RETURN OF SABATA" are great. they both star lee van cleef and he's the perfect anti-hero. both of the westerns are restored nicely in widescreen and are just great. adios,sabata started life as indigo black,but when duded for u.s. release the name was changed so really this isn't part of the other two.yul brynner(looking like he just did a show on the vegas strip in his fringed black cloths) seems lost and is most uneffective in the underwritten role. mr. brynner is a great avtor,but this just wasn't his movie and i only give it a 3 star"