The Grand Duel | Lee Van Cleef’s last great western gets a 2k Blu-ray release
Genre stalwart Lee Van Cleef stars as a gnarled ex-sheriff called Clayton who comes to the aid of young Philipp Wermeer (Alberto Dentice), a fugitive framed for the murder of a powerful figure called The Patriarch. Clayton helps Philipp fend off attacks from bounty hunters in a series of thrilling shootouts before the two make their way to Jefferson to confront the Saxon brothers, the cunning David (Horst Frank), the hotheaded Eli (Marc Mazza), and depraved psycho Adam (Klaus Grünberg), and reveal who really killed The Patriarch.
Penned by giallo writer Ernesto Gastaldi, The Grand Duel is one of the best Spaghetti Westerns of the 1970’s, featuring a superb central performance from Lee Van Clee, assured direction from Giancarlo Santi (a former as assistant-director to both Sergio Leone and Giulio Petroni), and a soaring tuneful score from composer Luis Bacalov (Django).
Add in some knock-out action sequences, a bunch of colourful characters, and a touch of giallo-noir in the second half and this forgotten gem really is one of the grandest of all the Italian westerns. But the highlight for me was Klaus Grünberg’s pockmarked villain Adam Saxon. Dressed in white, with matching gloves, he is truly despicable – especially when he massacres a group of Dutch immigrants just for the fun of it.
The Grand Duel is out on Blu-ray from Arrow Video from 6 May 2019.
• New 2K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Uncompressed mono 1.0 LPCM audio
• Original English and Italian soundtracks, titles and credits
• Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
• Optional English subtitles for the English soundtrack
• Audio commentary by film critic, historian and theorist Stephen Prince
• An Unconventional Western: interview with director Giancarlo Santi
• The Last of the Great Westerns: interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi
• Cowboy by Chance: interview with the actor Alberto Dentice (aka Peter O’Brien)
• Out of the Box: interview with producer Ettore Rosboch
• The Day of the Big Showdown: interview with assistant director Harald Buggenig
• Saxon City Showdown: video appreciation by the academic Austin Fisher
• Original Italian and international theatrical trailers
• Extensive image gallery
• Reversible sleeve featuring original artwork by Matt Griffin
• Collector’s booklet (First pressing only)