MGM Blu-ray Review: Sergio Leone’s ‘Duck, You Sucker’

While Fox and MGM have licensed most catalog MGM/UA/Orion titles to third parties like Criterion, Kino and Twilight Time, strangely, they decided to release Sergio Leone’s forgotten classic Duck, You Sucker (A Fistful of Dynamite) on Blu-ray themselves. The main advantage of this is that it’s dirt cheap – only $14.99 on Amazon during release week.

The film itself is one of the great Westerns. Leone is beloved for his Dollars Trilogy with Clint Eastwood, his Western epic-to-end-all-epics Once Upon A Time In The West and his passion project, Once Upon A Time In America. However, during that long gap between OUATITW and OUATIA, there was Duck You Sucker. It is set during the Mexican Revolution, and pairs Mexican outlaw Juan (Rod Steiger) with Irish revolutionary John (James Coburn). Both stars give incredible performances over the 2.5-hour runtime and it never gets boring.

While there’s a lot more I could say about the film itself, I want to focus on the Blu-ray release. While it looks much better than Kino’s horrendous release of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, it is clear that there is significant damage to the film. It would take a lot of money to bring Duck to the level of Paramount’s gorgeous OUATITW Blu-ray and MGM doesn’t have it or doesn’t want to spend it.

While Fox gave the Dollars films a menu, this disc has none. For some inexplicable reason, Fox continues to release most MGM titles without menus and it’s disgusting at this point. (Even In The Heat of the Night didn’t get a menu!) At least all the extras from the DVD release are here, including Sir Christopher Frayling’s 20-minute overview of the film and his commentary. There’s also a neat Criterion-esque featurette on the different versions of the film.

Duck is an essential part of Leone’s career and I don’t think you can fully comprehend the link between OUATITW and OUATIA without it. While a glorious restoration and a menu would have been nice for this Blu-ray release, I can’t not recommend it enough.

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