Spaghetti Western home video releases with audio commentaries

In this episode, I want to look at a few options when it comes to audio commentaries on BluRay and DVD. Now, audio commentaries have long been a standard staple on digital formats, as early as LaserDisc actually. The spaghetti western genre however has never seen a huge inflation of audio commentaries, one reason being economic but the other being that a lot of people who could do one are no longer with us, so we’re stuck with experts, academics and journalists. Now that’s fine, but it’s only recently become a thing. When you read the following list however you will notice that in sum, there is no lack of audio commentaries. If we missed any, please comment or get in touch!

These are the titles the SWDb has listed (browse the SWDb, you will learn everything there is to know about every home video release of every spaghetti western) that have an audio commentary (click the title to get directly to the respective pages):

Django: The Arrow Video disc has an audio commentary by film critic, historian and theorist Stephen Prince. The King Records release (Japan) from 2020 also has a commentary but I haven’t found out by who.

Texas, Adios: The Arrow Video disc has an audio commentary by spaghetti western experts C. Courtney Joyner and Henry C. Parke.

Arizona Colt: Both the old Wild East disc as well as the upcoming Explosive Media disc have the audio commentary by film historian and spaghetti western expert Lee Broughton on it. The latter will also have a new and additional one (in German).

The Great Silence: The UK disc has anew audio commentary by Western expert Howard Hughes and filmmaker Richard Knew, as well as a new audio commentary by filmmaker Mike Siegel (English) and a third audio commentary by director and Spaghetti Western aficionado Alex Cox. The German disc has an audio commentary by Mike Siegel (German), whereas the discs in France and USA have no commentaries.

The Hunting Party: the USA BluRay has an audio commentary by film historians Howard S. Berger and Nathaniel Thompson.

Tepepa: The German BluRay has a commentary with Petroni. That one was also previously available on the Italian DVD.

Hannie Caulder: The USA disc has an audio commentary by western expert and director Alex Cox.

The Hills Run red: The US-disc has an audio commentary by Alex Cox.

Death Rides a Horse: The US-disc has an audio commentary by filmmaker Alex Cox. The upcoming release by Plaion Pictures (formerly Koch Films) will include an audio commentary by Mike Malloy and the commentary from the US disc as well.

A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die: The US-disc has an audio commentary by filmmaker Alex Cox.

Man of the East: The US-disc has an audio commentary by filmmaker Alex Cox.

Kill them all and come back alone: Both the USA and the UK Bluray contain the new audio commentary by filmmaker Alex Cox.

Valdez is Coming: The US-disc has an audio commentary by Film Historian Jim Hemphill.

Day of Anger: The BluRay released in Germany has a (German) audio commentary by Dominik Starck.

Viva Django: The German disc has an audio commentary by Maximilian Scholz & Benedikt Wilken.

Companeros: The US-disc has an audio commentary by journalists C. Courtney Joyner and Henry Parke.

Dead Men don’t count: The German BluRay by Explosive Media has an audio commentary.

Keoma: The Arrow Video disc has a new audio commentary by spaghetti western experts C. Courtney Joyner and Henry C. Parke, the older Blue Underground DVD however had a commentary with Enzo G. Castellari and journalist Waylon Wahl. So whoever releases this in the future needs to put all the extras on one disc.

Cannon for Cordoba: The US-disc has an audio commentary by Film Historians Howard S. Berger, Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson.

God forgives, I don’t: The German BluRay has an audio commentary by Maximilian Scholz & Leonhard Elias Lemke,

Whity: an old US DVD from Fantoma contained an audio commentary apparently.

The Big Gundown: Grindhouse’s USA disc has an audio commentary by western film experts C. Courtney Joyner and Henry C. Parke. The upcoming UK disc will contain a commentary by Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw on the Italian theatrical version and another with C. Courtney Joyner and Henry Parke on the extended US cut, the same included on the Grindhouse disc.

Deadlock: Both the German and more or less identical USA release have an audio commentary with Roland Klick and Ulrich von Berg, but I am personally not sure if its the same commentary, or if these are in fact two commentaries, one in German and one in English.

Once Upon a Time in the West: All the Paramount discs should have the composite commentary with contributions from directors John Carpenter, John Milius & Alex Cox, film historians Sir Christopher Frayling & Dr. Sheldon Hall, and Cast & Crew.

Doc: The US disc has a new commentary by filmmaker Alex Cox, while the UK disc which is a bit newer, has one with C. Courtney Joyner.

The Specialists: Both the UK as well as the USA Bluray have an audio commentary by filmmaker Alex Cox.

The Sabata trilogy: The UK trilogy box set is the one with audio commentaries. Sabata has one with Kim Newman, Adios Sabata a commentary by Mike Siegel and Return of Sabata one with authors C. Courtney Joyner & Henry Parke.

Django kill, if you live… shoot: The Italian DVD had an audio commentary by Giulio Questi.

The Valdez Horses: The German and the UK BluRay have the audio commentary with film historian Paul Talbot. The US Bluray also has an additional new commentary by film historian Paul Talbot.

The Hellbenders: While the German disc has an audio commentary by Troy Howarth and one by Alex Cox, the US disc has only the one with Alex Cox. We suspect that any European release that comes next will also have at least Troy’s commentary. The rights are wit StudioCanal who may release this in the UK fairly soon.

Get Mean: The audio commentary with Anthony, Battista, and Schneider is included on the US disc, but the German disc has no commentary.

Massacre time: The German disc has an audio commentary with Leonhard Elias Lemke and Jonas Erler (German), whereas the the UK/USA disc from Arrow (part of the Vengeance Trails box set) has a new commentary by authors and critics C. Courtney Joyner and Henry Parke.

My name is Pecos: The UK/USA disc from Arrow (part of the Vengeance Trails box set) has a new commentary by actor Robert Woods and C. Courtney Joyner.

Bandidos: The UK/USA disc from Arrow (part of the Vengeance Trails box set) has a new commentary by author and critic Kat Ellinger.

And God said to Cain: The UK/USA disc from Arrow (part of the Vengeance Trails box set) has a new commentary by author and critic Howard Hughes.

If you meet Sartana…: The UK/USA disc from Arrow (in their Sartana box) has a new commentary by Mike Siegel, (in English).

I am Sartana…: The UK/USA disc from Arrow (in their Sartana box) has a new commentary by C. Courtney Joyner (screenwriter and novelist) and Henry Peake (editor for True West magazine).

Have a good funeral…: The UK/USA disc from Arrow (in their Sartana box) has a new commentary by C. Courtney Joyner and Henry Parke.

Duck, you sucker!: The US release from Kino Lorber and the UK release from Eureka both have two audio commentaries, one with filmmaker Alex Cox and the other by film historian Sir Christopher Frayling. The Frayling one is included on most previous MGM/Fox special editions of the movie as well…

The Good, the Bad and The Ugly: The two commentaries by Sir Frayling and historian Richard Schickel have been included in most previous special edition releases of the film by MGM/Fox, but limited to the extended cut.
Newer discs form Kino Lorber Studio Classics (USA only) have a new audio commentary by film historian Tim Lucas (on the restoration of the theatrical cut) but also carry over the previous commentaries, at least on editions that also contain the extended cut.

A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars more: A commentary by Sir Frayling was included on previous MGM/Fox special editions of the film (as well as on the German StudioCanal disc for example). Kino Lorber Studio Classics adds a new additional commentary on their newer discs by historian Tim Lucas.

Django the Bastard: the Synapse disc has an audio commentary with Troy Howarth.

Death Sentence: The first release by Koch Films on DVD contained an audio commentary by Mario Lanfranchi.

Ace High: The latest spaghetti western to arrive in HD finally (albeit in the shorter international cut only) will have yet another commentary with Alex Cox.

The Grand Duel: The BluRay by Arrow Video has an audio commentary by film critic, historian and theorist Stephen Prince. The old Blue Underground DVD had a commentary with C. Courney Joyner and Henry C. Parke.

Shanghai Joe: The upcoming release from Cauldron Films has a commentary of our very own Mike Hauss ( @Djangoisme ).

The Mercenary: The BluRay by Kino Lorber has an audio commentary by Alex Cox.

A Pistol for Ringo and The Return of Ringo: the Arrow BluRay double feature contains audio commentaries with C. Courtney Joyner and Henry Parke.

Not a bad list at all. Let me know if I am missing any.

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,Django The Bastard" (Synapse Films) - commentary with Troy Howarth

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oh damn, good catch. updated the list :slight_smile:

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The Koch DVD of ‘Sentenza di morte’ (Django - Unbarmherzig wie die Sonne) has an English audio commentary by director Mario Lanfranchi.

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thanks, also added. Oh man that one should really get a BluRay upgrade

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The Arrow Blu-ray of ‘Il grande duello’ has a commentary by the late film historian Stephen Prince - perhaps better known for his Kurosawa and Peckinpah books and commentaries.

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also added, and the shanghai joe disc announced today

The Kino Lorber Blu-ray and DVD release of ‘Il mercenario’ has an audio commentary by Alex Cox - who was previously somewhat dismissive of the film in his book on SWs.

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slipped my mind. thanks for pointing out this omission, will add it right away :slight_smile:

Is the audio commentary not also quite dismissive?

Perhaps unsurprisingly Cox adopts a less subjective tone for KL and tries to put the film into a wider perspective. But a critique (whether you agree with the analysis or not) is far preferable to the dry, almost verbatim style summary of filmography notes favoured by many audio commentaries.

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The old USA Blue Underground DVD of The Grand Duel had a commentary by Parke and Joyner

They also did commentaries for the Arrow Blu-rays of The Return of Ringo and A Pistol for Ringo

I don’t enjoy their commentaries very much, they feel to me like American Western experts who moonlight in the spaghetti gutter (that we love). From mispronouncing Gemma to other issues I have, I just see their work as a missed opportunity for a different commentary.

I like Cox’s commentaries though there tends to be a lot of silence. When he does talk I’m usually happy.

Kim Newman does my favorite commentaries though I think he’s best at literary based horror, sci Fi and fantasy genre contextualizing.

Howarth is fine, I do tend to enjoy him more with Thompson than solo.

I like Ellinger’s commentaries generally and was satisfied with Bandidos. I do think she excels more with a director she’s into and able to contextualize that than serving as a generalist.

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Experts !!!? I quite agree. If you can’t get something as fundamental as correct pronunciation , then you have no business doing a commentary track,

PS: Though Cox is full of made up BS, to make himself sound more knowledgeable than he actually is … there’s loads of inaccuracies on the commentary for ‘Shalako’. He shamelessly drools with praise for actor Woody Strode, each time he’s on screen … and slams the film for it’s violence against women (never mind everyone else in the film who’s a victim of brutality) It just sounded like he wanted to placate all politically correct groups, rather than accept the film as a product of it’s time, and just a piece of entertainment.

And calling Duccio Tessari “Doossio Tesarry”.
Unbearable.

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