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Cesare Canevari
Corrado Pani, Claudia Gravy, Lou Castel
Writing Credits:
Mino Roli, Nico Ducci, Eduardo Manzanos

Left for dead after a robbery gone wrong, an outlaw seeks revenge.

Rated NR.


Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Italian LPCM Monaural
English LPCM Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $99.95
Release Date: 7/25/23
Available as Part of “Blood Money Volume 2” Four-Film Collection

• Audio Commentary with Film Historians Nathaniel Hawthorn and Troy Howarth
• “The Movie That Lived Twice” Featurette
• “A Milanese Story” Featurette
• “Untold Icon” Featurette
• Trailer
• Image Gallery


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-Panasonic DMP-BDT220P Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Matalo [Blu-Ray] (1970)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 6, 2023)

In Spanish, “matalo” means “kill him”. Thus 1970’s Matalo delivers a Spaghetti Western whose title offers a simple premise.

Outlaw Bart (Corrado Pani) narrowly avoids a hanging. Along with fellow bandits Ted (Antonio Salines) and Phil (Luis Dávila) and lovely Mary (Claudia Gravy), this crew attempts a stagecoach robbery.

However, it goes wrong and the others leave Bart for dead. As the criminals hole up in largely abandoned Benson City, Bart pursues his violent revenge.

I don’t consider myself to be an expert in Spaghetti Westerns by any stretch of the imagination. However, I’ve seen enough to realize that the majority follow the “Man With No Name” template that embraces stoic anti-heroes as their leads.

On the surface, Matalo follows this trend. As usual, it asks us to bond with a badly flawed main character, one who keeps his words and emotions under wraps.

However, Matalo steers away from the stark vibe of the Leone films that epitomize the Spaghetti Western. Instead, the film clearly shows the influence of the Woodstock Generation.

This becomes obvious via the movie’s rock-influenced score, and it also shows up via our lead. Pani looks more like a participant in an anti-Vietnam rally than a 19th century Western outlaw.

Beyond these choices, Matalo stands out from the crowd because it offers a downright trippy take on the topic. In a genre populated by borderline cookie cutter efforts, this one delivers something truly out of the ordinary – and possibly unique.

Matalo takes the Man With No Name’s sparseness of language to an extreme. Bart doesn’t seem to be literally mute, and the character delivers a little voiceover narration, but he speaks few actual lines to the other roles.

Don’t expect others to pick up the slack. Matalo plays as a dialogue-free experience most of the time.

That clearly gives the film an unusual spin. Even in the rugged world of Westerns, we expect a fair amount of speech, but Matalo lacks many lines.

Despite its connection to the Spaghetti Western genre, Matalo seems at least moderately influenced by the success of 1969’s Easy Rider. With its minimalist tone, its stoner vibe, its rock music elements and its transposition of hippies into the Old West, I find it hard to believe that the filmmakers didn’t take some cues from Dennis Hopper’s classic.

I needed to see Easy Rider a good half-dozen times before I “got it”, and maybe Matalo will require the same number of repeat viewings to work. After one screening, though, I find it to offer an intriguing but not especially successful experiment.

The movie’s unusual approach keeps us with it for the first act or so. Matalo seems so different that it makes us want to see where it will go with the material.

Unfortunately, too much of the time the answer appears to be “not much of anywhere”. Even in a genre not known for rich characters and deep plots, Matalo seems thin and meandering.

With its unique take on the Western, Matalo needs to find solid ground on which to work. We can accept only so much stylistic weirdness before we crave some greater substance.

That breaking point indeed appears to occur about half an hour into Matalo. What starts as bold and daring soon becomes rambling and barely coherent.

This seems like a shame, for I really do appreciate all the risks the movie takes. It would seem easy for the filmmakers to simply churn out more of the same old, same old, but they give Matalo an approach that makes it radically different than the norm.

The end product just doesn’t find enough to do with the concepts to maintain viewer attention, though. I recommend Matalo to genre fans given its quirky place in film history, but they shouldn’t expect a consistently satisfying experience.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio C+/ Bonus B-

Matalo appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This turned into a fairly positive presentation.

Overall delineation worked fine. While some aspects of the image leaned a little soft, the movie usually showed appealing accuracy.

I saw no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. Grain felt natural – if a little heavy – and the other than a few small specks, the movie lacked print flaws.

As with most Westerns, a sandy palette dominated, with only sporadic instances of brighter hues. This made sense within the film’s setting and the disc reproduced the colors in a largely satisfying manner.

Blacks appeared fairly deep and dense, while shadows came across as mostly smooth. Expect a generally high-quality image.

As for the movie’s LPCM monaural audio, it seemed typical for the era’s Italian soundtracks. This meant the standard dubbed dialogue, but given the nature of Matalo, that became less of a distraction than usual.

As noted, Matalo didn’t come devoid of speech, but it went with many fewer lines than the average movie. Dialogue seemed awkwardly integrated and stiff, but again, the fact so much of the film delivered no spoken material left this as less of an issue.

The rest of the mix followed the standard patterns, with effects that sounded dull but fairly clean, with only a little distortion. Music didn’t present great range but the score felt adequately reproduced. This turned into another acceptable mix that never sounded better than okay.

A few extras appear, and we get an audio commentary from film historians Nathaniel Hawthorn and Troy Howarth. They provide a running, screen-specific discussion of the movie’s genre, cast and crew, and some production elements.

As becomes the case with three of the four commentaries that accompany the movies in the “Blood Money” collection, this one tends to focus on a broad look at how the film fits into the Spaghetti Western field – or “Italian Western”, as Howarth and Hawthorn prefer. This may disappoint those who want specifics about Matalo, but I won’t complain too much.

Veterans of the format, Howarth and Hawthorn almost always provide engaging, lively chats, and that trend continues here. They deliver a nice overview of the genre and turn this into a solid commentary.

Three featurettes follow, and The Movie That Lived Twice goes for 16 minutes, nine seconds. This offers an introduction to Matalo from journalist/critic Fabio Melelli.

Like his three prior intros, Melelli touches on genre domains and details about Matalo. Inevitably, some of this repeats from the commentary, but Melelli nonetheless delivers a pretty positive chat with enough fresh material to make it worth a look.

A Milanese Story spans 44 minutes, 42 seconds. It delivers notes from filmmaker Davide Pulici.

Here we get info about Matalo director Cesare Canevari’s life and career. With nearly 45 minutes at his disposal, Pulici manages to create a positive summary.

Lastly, An Untold Icon goes for 39 minutes, 28 seconds. In this reel, we hear from musician/disc collector Lovely Jon.

“Icon” discusses composer Mario Migilardi and his score for Matalo. Like other chats with Jon, this one provides a solid overview of its subject matter.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find an Image Gallery. It presents 14 stills related to the movie’s promotion.

Arguably the weirdest Spaghetti Western ever made, Matalo deserves lots of credit for its daring nature and willingness to break from genre confines. However, it loses its way too quickly and ends up as a noble but spotty experiment. The Blu-ray brings largely positive picture as well as acceptable audio and a mix of bonus materials. I’m glad I saw the trippy Matalo but I don’t think it really works as a film.

Note that this release of Matalo comes only as part of a four-film package called “Blood Money Volume 2”. In addition to this movie, it brings three other Spaghetti Westerns: $10,000 Blood Money, Vengeance Is Mine and Find a Place to Die.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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