Friday, November 15, 2013
Blu-ray Review: 'My Name is Nobody'
Article first published as Blu-ray Review: 'My Name is Nobody' on Blogcritics.
Have you ever really wondered who was really in charge of a movie? Case in point: Poltergeist. Every frame of the film feels like a Steven Spielberg film. No one will ever convince me that Tobe Hooper actually directed it. In the case of 1973’s spaghetti western My Name is Nobody, the same case could be made between Tonino Valerii and Sergio Leone. Image Entertainment is proudly releasing the film on Blu-ray November 5 for its 40th anniversary. Now you can make your own case as to how much Leone was really involved.
My Name is Nobody is the tale of Jack Beauregard (Henry Fonda), a gun-slinging bounty hunter on the brink of retirement. After taking out a trio at a barber shop, Jack catches up with “Nobody” (Terence Hill), a young gunslinger who just may be Jack’s biggest fan. Before retiring, Nobody wants Jack to go down in history by single-handedly taking down The Wild Bunch consisting of 150 men. The Wild Bunch, in this story, are a group of men laundering their gold with ore, under the leadership of Sullivan (Jean Martin). Now, Jack must face his own age and come face-to-face with two big showdowns before he’s able to settle down.
My Name is Nobody fires onto Blu-ray in a surprisingly spry 1080p presentation in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio on a 25GB disc. Considering there are absolutely no special features, the presentation fits nicely on the single layer disc. Detail and resolution are extremely sharp considering the source print. However, the usual suspects come through. White specks, scratches, vertical lines, fluctuating grain, and the occasional soft shot never dampen the fun with the amount of detail. Flesh tones may take on a pinkish hue at times, but the rest of the colors look great.
Some crush rears its head during a scene inside a mirror house and a barn, but there’s never any banding or aliasing. The ugliest it gets are five huge tears at different moments. One of the fun things about the high-def presentation is being able to see the tape used to piece the frame together. But like I said, aside from the age-related issues, the print looks very nice. The 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio never even gets caught in any hiss or pop. I still find it funny that most of the film is obviously dubbed even though everyone is speaking English. This is probably as good as the film will look and sound for now. English subtitles for the hearing-impaired are also included.
One of the most interesting aspects of My Name is Nobody is that it is a parody. While it’s no Blazing Saddles, there are plenty of laughs and the film just leaves a big grin on your face. Let’s just say the more familiar you are with the genre — and of Leone’s films in particular — the more fun you’ll have. As with all of these films, it tends to run a little too long at 117 minutes, but it never gets in the way of a good time. Two of the funniest gags are even saved for last. Sam Peckinpah is name-dropped for good measure, and I’ve already mentioned The Wild Bunch. When I popped in the disc I said to my wife, “Why do I have a feeling something from Kill Bill will show up in this?” And I was right! One piece from Ennio Morricone’s score was cribbed by Quentin Tarantino.
My Name is Nobody may be one of the more surprising films to get the Blu-ray treatment, but it proves itself to be a wonderful addition to the growing number of classic westerns getting the high-def treatment. It really is a lot of fun, and featuring great video, it’s definitely a spaghetti western worth revisiting from time to time.