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Henri Verneuil
Anthony Quinn, Charles Bronson, Anjanette Comer
Writing Credits:
James R. Webb

In 1746, outlaw Leon Alastray is hunted by the Spanish army but is given sanctuary by a priest in a village terrorized by marauding Yaqui Indians.

Rated G.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA Stereo
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 111 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 6/15/2021

• Vintage Featurette
• Trailer


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Guns for San Sebastian [Blu-Ray] (1968)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 28, 2021)

Does a movie need to be made in Italy to qualify as a “Spaghetti Western”? Technically – maybe, but non-Italian productions can certainly come with the same feel, and we find that kind of flick via 1968’s Guns for San Sebastian.

Set in Mexico circa 1746, outlaw Leon Alastray (Anthony Quinn) flees from the Mexican army. Along the way, he winds up in the obscure village of San Sebastian.

The locals mistake Leon for a priest and won’t accept his denials, especially after an apparent miracle takes place in his presence. Despite his initial resistance, Leon eventually accepts a leadership role and teaches the villagers how to fight back against the local tribes that terrorize them.

Did you ever think “I like The Magnificent Seven but would prefer it with six fewer characters”? If so, Guns becomes the movie for you!

That simplifies matters a lot and makes Guns seem more like a knock-off than it is. Nonetheless, the two come with a similar vibe that evokes memories of Seven.

Too many memories, really, since Seven offers a considerably superior project. While Guns never becomes a bad movie, it seems like a fairly lackluster Western.

Much of the problem stems from the film’s inconsistent tone and pacing. A lot of Guns lumbers along without obvious purpose.

The film seems eager to focus on Leon’s embrace of his position as phony priest, but Guns tends to ramble and avoid much compelling material in that regard. The story seems unsure where it really wants to go, so the narrative meanders.

Quinn does offer some charm as our lead, at least. He manages to embrace the different facets of the role and turns Leon into a likable rogue who develops a social conscience.

Unfortunately, Quinn can’t overcome the essential lack of real energy or momentum found in Guns. Too much of the film simply seems lackluster for it to become anything better than average.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C-

Guns for San Sebastian appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a high-quality presentation.

Sharpness usually looked fine. The occasional wide shot seemed a bit soft, but those instances remained infrequent and minor.

The movie came with no issues related to jagged edges or moiré effects, and I saw no signs of edge haloes. Grain felt natural, and print flaws failed to become a concern.

To match the Mexican setting, the film’s palette went with a fairly arid sandy feel much of the time, though a few brighter hues emerged as well. The Blu-ray reproduced these tones appropriately and made them seem satisfying.

Blacks appeared dark and tight, while shadows seemed smooth and well-rendered. This turned into another solid transfer from Warner Archives.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA stereo soundtrack, it seemed inconsistent, mainly related to the localization of speech. The soundscape attempted to place dialogue in various spots, but it did so without much accuracy.

This meant that some lines showed up where they needed to land but others manifested from illogical places. This didn’t become a persistent distraction, but it created an occasional nuisance.

At least the mix compensated with appealing stereo spread for the movie’s score. Effects appeared to remain essentially monaural, as I detected only minor signs of panning, localization or movement from those elements.

Audio quality seemed acceptable for its vintage. Speech became the weakest link, mainly due to lackluster looping. The lines always felt intelligible, but they never came across as natural.

Effects were on the thin side but they didn’t appear distorted or problematic. Music remained the strongest aspect of the mix, as the score offered lush tones.

Really, the stereo music became the biggest strength here. That aspect of the track compensated for some localization issues and made this a “B-“ mix.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a vintage featurette. In this nine-minute, 54-second piece, we get information about sets/locations as we watch aspects of the shoot. Though not especially informative, the featurette offers a decent behind the scenes view of the production.

While you can certainly find worse Westerns than Guns of San Sebastian, you can also find many superior efforts. This becomes a watchable but somewhat dull experience. The Blu-ray comes with very good picture, erratic audio and minor supplements. Expect a pretty mediocre Western here.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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