Arrow Video release compared to Mill Creek’s 2012 Disc
This article contains several comparisons contrasting Mill Creek Entertainment’s 2012 Blu-ray transfer with the Arrow’s newer version. The frames aren’t necessarily exact matches, but should give a solid indication of the visual differences.
Earlier this year Arrow Video released The Grand Duel onto Blu-ray with a new restoration 2K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative, packed with new special features. One of the great spaghetti Westerns, it stars Lee Van Cleef as a roving sheriff on a mysterious mission of justice.
It was previously released on Blu-ray in a single-disc double-feature edition with Keoma (previously covered), from Mill Creek Entertainment.
That disc was a tremendous value, but featured noisy older transfers with plenty of room for improvement.
As comparisons go, this one is pretty straightforward. Arrow’s image is clearly superior, with fine grain, a much more varied color palette, and a “larger” view capturing more of the frame on all sides.
The first comparison above is sort of an anomaly, comparing the title cards. Mill Creek’s version employed digitally redone titles which are quite crisp looking. Arrow’s disc includes both English (“The Big Showdown”) and Italian (“Il Grande Duello”) versions.
The Italian titles are from a notably softer source, but this segment is “spliced in”. After this sequence, both versions of the film on Arrow’s disc revert to the same restored picture until the end credits (when the Italian version goes soft again).
Disc Specifications (as provided by Arrow):
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
- 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 deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
- New audio commentary by film critic, historian and theorist Stephen Prince
- An Unconventional Western, a newly filmed interview with director Giancarlo Santi
- The Last of the Great Westerns, a newly filmed interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi
- Cowboy by Chance, an interview with the actor Alberto Dentice AKA Peter O’Brien
- Out of the Box, a newly filmed interview with producer Ettore Rosboch
- The Day of the Big Showdown, a newly filmed interview with assistant director Harald Buggenig
- Saxon City Showdown, a newly filmed video appreciation by the academic Austin Fisher
- Original Italian and international theatrical trailers
- Extensive image gallery featuring stills, posters, lobby cards and home video sleeves, drawn from the Mike Siegel Archive and other collections
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Kevin Grant and original reviews
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The Grand Duel [Arrow Video Blu-ray]: https://amzn.to/2oAV7Ui
Except where noted, all 16:9 screen images in this review are direct captures from the disc(s) in question with no editing applied, but may have compression or resizing inherent to file formats and Medium’s image system. All package photography was taken by the reviewer.