The Inglorious Bastards (1978)
By: David Michael Brown on October 27, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Severin Films (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0. 99 minutes
The Movie
Director: Enzo Castellari
Starring: Bo Svenson, Fred Williamson, Peter Hooten, Michael Pergolani
Screenplay: Sandro Continenza, Sergio Grieco, Franco Marotta, Romano Migliorini, Laura Toscano
Country: Italy/USA
External Links
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When Quentin Tarantino adores a film he certainly likes the world to know. Whether waxing lyrical on Ozploitation in Mark Hartley's glorious Not Quite Hollywood to releasing cult classics like The Mighty Peking Man and Jack Hill's Switchblade Sisters on his demised DVD label Rolling Thunder he certainly puts his money where his mouth is, often reveling in the obscurity of the 'masterpieces' he is spruiking. Having his moniker emblazoned on your product obviously has selling power but recently, in the aftermath of the Grindhouse fiasco, all that Tarantino touches no longer turns to gold. It's of great interest then to see the film that has inspired Tarantino's next project, The Inglorious Bastards.

To be honest, the source material, while an entertaining boy's own adventure, has little to truly set this band apart from many other action adventures that were being churned out by the Italian film industry at the time. The usual concoction of gun blazing violence, improbably nudity and wise cracking heroes delivers the goods in terms of bullets spent and petrol burnt, but in hindsight, it seems that many have elevated Enzo. G. Castellari's Inglorious Bastards to a level way beyond the delirious heights that Tarantino's patronage would have them believe.

While Hollywood luminaries such as Brad Pitt are being bandied around to bring Tarantino's war epic to life, Enzo. G. Castellari's cast was a more humble collection of thespians. Top billing went to Fred 'The Hammer' Williamson, hot off Black Caesar and Three The Hard Way, and Bo Svenson, but the rest of the odd ball cast give the motley bunch of soldiers a delightfully skew look at odds with your usual American war film.

Castellari made his name with an extensive resume of spaghetti westerns, cop thrillers, post-apocalyptic action adventures, and Giallo chillers including Django Rides Again, Street Law and Cold Eyes of Fear. The Inglorious Bastards is obviously a cheeky swipe at The Dirty Dozen and its plot gives us no surprises as the gang of condemned war criminals flee to the Swiss border destroying all in their wake. Even when the gang find themselves enlisted on a daring mission into Nazi occupied France you have a pretty good idea where the film is going. Castellari manages to throw in as many exploitative moments as the plot will allow; violence, action, huge explosions, female nudity and gratuitous cigar chomping all add to the fun. Despite these trappings the film does tend to meander at times and some scenes are overly talky, but who needs dialogue when you can blow things up? Overall Castellari has fashioned a first class Boys Own adventure that even the most critical of war film fans cannot fail to enjoy.
The 16:0 enhanced 1.85:1 presentation is clear, bright and sharp. Severin have done an extraordinary job with this transfer. Castellari's war film has never looked this good.
The mono soundtrack is pretty good while not ever threatening to challenge your speakers. It's clear and loud and the explosions and gunfire shake the room, what more could you want?
Extra Features
Severin have put together a gloriously over indulgent collection of extras to celebrate the release of this new transfer.

On the first disc the much heralded interview with Castarelli by Tarantino kicks things off, and it's more an interesting glimpse inside the head of the world's ultimate fan boy than an incisive look into the making of the film but its great to see the two's obvious respect for each other. Castellari is quite happy to take the back seat as Tarantino goes into overdrive about his love of the film.

Train Kept-A-Rollin' is an incredibly in-depth making-of documentary that covers every aspect of the filmmaking process, including interviews with the director along with the ever bashful Fred Williamson ("I'm a good looking guy, who the girls love, who can kick butt") Bo Svenson and Massimo Vanni. Many of the behind the scenes crew including Special Effects artist Gino de Rossi, screenwriters Laura Toscano and Filipo de Masi and the films producer Roberto Sbarigia also discuss the project.

Back to the War Zone takes Castellari back to the original shooting locations, and the trailer rounds things off, unless you are lucky enough to get the limited triple disc "Explosive Edition". Severin have unearthed four tracks off Francesco De Masi's long lost soundtrack and sweetened the deal by including the only surviving tracks on a bonus CD.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
As Tarantino begins to shoot his big budget remake with Brad Pitt, Severin must be commended in giving us the opportunity to look back at Castellari's original. The fact that they have given this entertaining little war film the triple disc deluxe treatment only adds to the pleasure and once again shows that while filmmakers in the Italian film industry of the 70s were happy to pilfer their ideas from Hollywood, they brought style, panache and fun to genre's that their American counterparts had long since made moribund. An excellent disc of a cracking war film and highly recommended.

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