The Law of Violence (La legge della violenza) (1969)

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Spaghetti Western Reversible Cover
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1969
Running Time 81:06 (Case: 83)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Gianni Crea
Studio
Distributor
Bounty Films Starring Giorgio Cerioni
Angel Aranda
Igli Villani
Miguel de la Riva



Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI Rental Music Stelvio Cipriani


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     After three years in gaol, Jack (Giorgio Cerioni, billed as George Greenwood) escapes and returns to the town of Red Rock and the men who betrayed him. He kills one, the saloon owner, and makes a deal with the others, the mayor, banker and railroad owner, to take over the saloon and the town. Jack makes Chris (Angel Aranda), a man who believes in the rule of law and who gave up his guns five years ago, Sheriff. Jack takes up with the town prostitute Clementine (Igli Villani) and uses a group of thugs led by Bill Hackett (Miguel de la Riva) to control the townspeople, extorting “protection” money and killing those who resist. Chris is unable to find the courage to resist or take up his guns again until the town drunk is lynched, falsely accused by Jack of a crime committed by the son of the mayor. There remains nothing left for Chris to do but to strap on his gun and resort to the law of violence.

     The Law of Violence (La legge della violenza) was directed by Gianni Crea. This was his first film, and he went on to make a few more, including another spaghetti western, Seven Devils on Horseback in 1975. The Law of Violence is a strange film, not only because in the fights it utilises a very swaying, almost unfocussed, hand-held camera, which is quite annoying. There also seems to be some sudden jumps in plotting; for example, near the start when Jack is stabbed he is next, without explanation, being tended to by Chris. Did they know each other? We never find out. The Law of Violence, except for the shootout at the climax, is also more a western drama than a typical spaghetti western; it is slow building with little action and frequently focusses on the hypocrisy of the town’s leaders, especially in regards to Clementine. The sub-plot involving the mayor’s son also takes a while to get going. Giorgio Cerioni is tanned, blonde and blue eyed, very much in the Terrence Hill mould, although he lacks Hill’s charisma and rather overacts.

     The best thing about The Law of Violence is the fabulous spaghetti western score by Stelvio Cipriani. He has 239 credits listed on the IMDb, including A Bay of Blood (1971) for Mario Bava, and his music was still iconic enough for Tarantino to sample it in Death Proof in 2007. It is all there in The Law of Violence, the trumpets, bells, drums, bells, wind instruments, organ and guitar, driving the film along.

     The Law of Violence is a Spanish / Italian co-production, a very minor spaghetti western. Except for the wonderful spaghetti western score and the shoot-out at the end which utilises a slow build up with close-ups of hands and eyes, The Law of Violence is more a drama than an action spaghetti western, raising issues about hypocrisy, corruption, prejudice, violence and the rule of law that are not that common in this genre. This results in an interesting, if uneven, film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Law of Violence is presented in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, not the 2.35:1 original ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     Detail in exterior wideshots is fairly soft but interiors and close ups of faces and eyes (it would not be a spaghetti western without them) are strong. Colours are natural, if not exactly vibrant, blacks and shadow detail are fine. Brightness and contrast was inconsistent and skin tones varied from very tanned to light.

     There were a number of minor flecks, some motion blur with movement, minor interlacing, occasional macro-blocking and frame jumps and freezes. This makes the print sound very bad, but they are fleeting and for the rest of the time the print looks pretty good for a low budget spaghetti western that is over 45 years old.

     No subtitles are provided.

     In line with site policy, one mark has been deducted from the video total because of the incorrect aspect ratio.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The only audio track is English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 192 Kbps. It is not surround encoded.

     The film was originally shown with a mono sound. Dialogue is clear and the effects, such as shots, horses’ hooves and footsteps are crisp enough and loud. As noted, the original score by Stelvio Cipriani was fabulous and it came over loud and clear.

     I expect that none of the cast was speaking English on set and the lip synchronisation of this English dub is even poorer than usual for spaghetti westerns. There was slight hiss in the audio in sections without effects or music and dialogue also jumped as the video jumped.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     There is a reversible cover but no extras. The static menu with music offers only Play Movie / Chapters.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     I can find only a French DVD of The Law of Violence, but have no other details. Our Region Free PAL release is at least cheap!

Summary

     The Law of Violence is in the incorrect aspect ratio; I suspect it may also be a censored version as the hanging scene features a very abrupt cut. So although The Law of Violence is an unusual and interesting film raising issues that are not that common in this genre, and it has a fabulous score, it is hard to recommend due to the technical presentation.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, December 15, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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