Run, Man, Run!: Limited Edition [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Eureka
Review written by and copyright: Eric Cotenas (10th February 2023).
The Film

As resistance shifts towards the people during the Mexican Revolution due to the charisma of Santillana (Salon Kitty's John Ireland), El Presidente Diaz seems to have capitulated slightly by pardoning socialist poet Ramirez (Django, Prepare a Coffin's José Torres) from the firing squad. What the people do not know is that the president pardons dissidents in public but then has hired gunmen assassinate later. Ramirez is a different case, however, because he is the only one who knows the location of a large cache of gold intended for the revolution that he got across the border and hid before his arrest. Anticipating that he is a dead man as soon as the president learns the location of the gold, Ramirez can only depend on hapless thief Cuchillo "The Knife" (Almost Human's Tomas Milian) to bust him out of jail before his pardon and get him across the border to Burton City, Texas. Unfortunately, the hired gunmen pursuing him – French former secret service men Colonel Sevigny (Colt 38 Special Squad's Marco Guglielmi) and Jean-Paul (Death Smiles at Murder's Luciano Rossi) who came to Mexico with Maximilian ofAustria – get some help from Cuchillo's fiancee Dolores (Son of Samson's Chelo Alonso) who believes that a fortune in gold can only give Cuchillo a means of escaping his promise to marry her, and the gunmen offer her the thousand dollars she wants to buy a ranch.

When bandido Riza (The Long Hair of Death's Nello Pazzafini) tries to intimidate Ramirez into giving up the location of the gold by executing villagers, he accidentally kills Ramirez when the man attempts to shield a woman and her child. When Sevigny and Jean-Paul arrive on the scene, they find their attempts to protect Ramirez and Cuchillo preempted by the arrival of revolutionary fighters. During the shootout, the dying Ramirez tells Cuchillo the location of the gold and entrusts him to get it back to Santillana. Escaping the skirmish, Cuchillo travels covertly across the border as the new assistant of Salvation Army Sergeant Penny Bannington (Contempt's Linda Veras), but the French gunmen catch up to them. This time, Cuchillo is rescued by former Texas sheriff Nathaniel Cassidy (Doctor Butcher, M.D. (Medical Deviate)'s Donal O'Brien) who has grown disillusioned with law and order and is now on the take and makes off with a map Ramirez passed to Cuchillo. In spite of Cuchillo's greed, Santillana entrusts him with retrieving the gold. Unfortunately for both Cuchillo and Cassidy, the mayor of Burton City happens to be Penny's father (Sabata's Gianni Rizzo), and both father and daughter have different ideas about what to do with the gold than help the revolutionary cause south of the border.

Unreleased theatrically or on television in the United States and the United Kingdom – although a shorter English export version was prepared in addition to an English dub for the original cut – Run, Man Run is lighter in tone than director Sergio Sollima's Columbia Pictures-distributed western actioner The Big Gundown and the lesser-seen, psychological character study western Face to Face; and, yet, it is far more off-kilter compared to the other comedy spaghetti westerns of the later period of the genre, seeming more like a parody of the previous two Milian-starrers. The foil to the first two film's deep thinkers, Milian here is still a bit of a fool and his developing compassion and social conscience are not so explicitly-rendered as in the second film nor is the positive effect he has on bounty hunter Cassidy's world-wariness; indeed, it is easier to delineate the good and the bad from the characters who respect Cuchillo for who he is and the characters who see him as an easily-duped pawn (even if both find it necessary to manipulate him). In spite of the general comic tone, there are still moments of bleakness – mostly in how it depicts the devastation and oppression of the revolution – that place the film and its treasure-hunting plot more in the company of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly than one of the Trinity films. Despite the uneven tone, it is unfortunate that the film was not better distributed as the film's scale and production value certainly seem like they were meant to support a film intended for more than just Italian urban theaters in a sweltering August.


Released directly to television in the U.S. by Ziv International some years after its theatrical releases overseas – while the U.K. got the considerably shorter export version direct to video in the early eighties – Run, Man Run made its English-friendly DVD debut in Japan in 2002 as part of one of the expensive Macaroni Western Bible sets in a non-anamorphic transfer with English and Italian audio options as well as English and Japanese subtitles. This was followed up stateside in 2004 with an anamorphic DVD from Blue Underground and that has been the standard until now. Eureka's 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 widescreen Blu-ray comes from a new 4K restoration by L'Immagine Ritrovata with additional grading done by Eureka. Obviously, the additional grading was done to "undo" some of the former company's grading choices but some of the damage is done, including bright highlights in the exteriors that look overexposed as the grading tries to restore true whites and blacks that are crushed or a little flat during the sunny exteriors. Skintones vary based on the scene but the make-up on some of the characters is more obvious than on others. Detail is definitely more than a step up over the SD master but one wishes that Eureka (or some or some other company that licenses the film is able to get the original raw scan from the licensor if L'Immagine Ritrovata supplied it to the owners in addition to their restoration). The limited edition second disc includes the shorter (84:03 versus 120:44) version presumably intended but not released in English countries is also recreated from the master for the longer version and includes the Italian credits rather than the unrestored English ones that are included as an extra on the first disc.


The Italian version includes restored Italian and full English mono tracks in LPCM 2.0 – suggesting that the shortening of the English version was an afterthought – and both tracks have been restored, faring better than the image restoration, delivering the spoken word and sung theme song and the scoring with depth that gives chills during the opening montage artwork of Mexican revolution carnage. Optional English subtitles are available for the Italian track while a second track is enabled with the English audio to translate the Spanish spoken word and theme song vocals as well as some text. The English version only includes an English LPCM 2.0 mono track and the aforementioned subtitles for the Spanish vocal.


The bulk of the extras are on the first disc starting with an audio commentary by writers Barry Forshaw and Kim Newman in which they discuss the damage of the shorter cut to character introductions and narrative flow, how pushing Milian into the lead and making O'Brien's ex-sheriff more ambiguous shifts the balance compared to the first two Sollima westerns, how Sollima's earlier trio of Eurospy films also reflected the western trilogy's shift from serious political commentary to parody, and parallels in Sollima's subsequent crime films. In addition to discussing the parodic nature of the plot and its borrowing from other westerns – Italian and otherwise, noting the Hollywood subgenre of Mexican Revolution westerns – they also make the case for a more affectionate assessment of the least-known and least-successful of the three Sollima/Milian westerns.

In "Stephen Thrower on Run, Man, Run!" (18:42), Thrower notes that neither the film at hand or Face to Face were ever released stateside theatrically (the latter film has an April 1976 US release date at IMDB attributed to Peppercorn-Wormser but that Temple of Schlock's Chris Poggiali and film historian John Charles report that it was a tax shelter release with only a handful of requisite bookings rather than a regional release) and ruminates on the reasons why Run, Man Run is lesser-known to English-speaking audiences, including forefronting Milian's character and the actor drawing upon the Italian tradition of commedia dell'arte which may have been off-putting to foreign audiences (also noting the greater success of Italian comedies in general domestically than in other territories).

The disc also includes the English opening credits (3:07) in unrestored condition – which may be why it was not used for the recreation of the shorter cut on the limited second disc of this set – as well as the English export trailer (3:41).

The limited second disc includes the aforementioned shorter English export cut and the only extra is an audio commentary by author Howard Hughes and filmmaker Richard Knew who cannot help but spend a chunk of the shorter running time discussing just what is missing from this version and the effect it has on the story (for instance, the introductions of Cassidy and Dolores are completely cut to get Cuchillo into the jail cell with Ramirez quicker so both characters are given more abrupt introductions). They also discuss the tonal variations of this comedy or parody of the first two Sollima films, differentiating actual locations from sound stage sets – including other films where they previously appeared – and some of the character actors like Federico Boido (AKA "Rick Boyd) who boasted to Terence Stamp in Fellini's segment of Spirits of the Dead of having been a stunt double to Milian (presumably in Face to Face where Boido had a small role).


Both discs are housed with a reversible cover in a limited edition slipcase featuring new artwork by Tony Stella with a collector's booklet (which should also be included in the standard edition since this is a "Masters of Cinema" edition rather than the "Eureka! Classics" line where the booklets are always limited to the first pressing) featuring "Born in a Wind of Knives: Sergio Sollima's Run Man Run" by Howard Hughes in which he discusses the three Sollima westerns, the "Zappata Western" genre in Italy and abroad, and notes that Sollima revealed that the score by Bruno Nicolai did indeed have contributions by Ennio Morricone which was just speculated on the Hughes/Knew commentary track (Nicolai was Morricone's conductor and orchestrator during his most prolific scoring period so it would have been believable that the score was simply "Morricone-esque" rather than actually featuring cues by him).


The least-known and least-successful of Sergio Sollima's westerns Run, Man, Run proves its worth as a minor classic of the genre on Eureka's "Masters of Cinema" edition.


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