Carlo Lizzani’s Spaghetti Western Requiescant follows in the foot steps of Sergio Leone

An orphaned Mexican boy survives a massacre in San Antonio, only to return years later having become an incredibly accurate marksman with the pistol. If that sounds like your basic Spaghetti Western scenario, you are correct. Director Carlo Lizzani’s Requiescant (also known as Kill and Pray) is a fine 1967 Italian Western that works for genre fans. Including a soundtrack by Riz Ortolani (Day of Anger, Cannibal Holocaust), Requiescant ranks among the more well known Spaghetti Westerns not made by Sergio Leone.

Requiescant is Latin for “Rest in Peace,” which becomes the name by which our titular hero becomes known. It’s a saying he utters after killing his enemies with his incredible gun skills. Lou Castel (Fists in the Pocket, A Bullet for General) plays a young Mexican raised to be a pacifist by a traveling preacher after Confederates massacred his family as a young boy. When his step-sister runs away to San Antonio, Requiescant pursues her. The sharpshooter doesn’t ask for trouble but often gets it, forcing him to employ his natural talent more often than he would like. As the bodies start piling up, he draws the wrong kind of interest.

Lizzani constructs an elaborate metaphor in the narrative for class struggles going on in Italy at the time.

A sadistic, aristocratic villain named George Bellow Ferguson played by Mark Damon (Black Sabbath, The Fall of the House of Usher) runs the town. He’s a former Confederate with a nasty streak. His step-sister Princy has fallen under the control of Dean Light, played by Franco Citti (Accattone, The Godfather). She has been forced into prostitution against her will. Dean is Ferguson’s henchman and crosses paths with our titular hero when his underlings end up getting killed. Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini (Salò) takes a rare acting role as a Mexican priest.

Requiescant is a fine genre exercise that dabbles in heavier matters under its surface. Lizzani constructs an elaborate metaphor in the narrative for class struggles going on in Italy at the time. The government was actively censoring films for political content around this period. Lizzani slips in a barrage of critiques against the current Italian political system of the time using this simple story set in the post-Civil War American West. Far removed from those times, what is left in Requiescant is a decent tale that has been done before.

The Spaghetti Western features fine performances by its cast but something feels missing at times. Lou Castel has an unassuming charm as the soft-spoken hero, but he’s no Clint Eastwood.

Movie ★★★☆☆

Requiescant Blu-ray screen shot 5

Arrow Video has provided a brand-new 2K restoration for Requiescant that looks fantastic. The 1967 Western has been scanned from the original camera negative in nearly perfect condition and film-like quality. This is a technically flawless vintage film transfer that brings new life and resolution to the movie. Requiescant hasn’t likely looked this great since its theatrical debut. A crisp, superb presentation brimming with definition and detail.

The 106-minute main feature is encoded in a perfect AVC video encode on a BD-50. The entire grain structure has been transparently rendered without any hint of processing. Strong black levels and excellent contrast make for pleasing video, especially for a film of this age. The sharp, unfiltered detail looks immaculate. The elements are in fairly clean shape, carefully restored by Arrow with all the considerable skill they have shown for vintage elements.

This is simply yet another gorgeous vintage film transfer supervised by James White of Arrow Video. They’ve clearly become the best label in the world transferring older Italian films and this is one more feather in their cap. Requiescant on Blu-ray looks fabulous and should please anyone interested in it.

Video ★★★★☆

Arrow provides both the original Italian and English mono dubs in decent 1.0 PCM options. For whatever reason, the Italian dub sounds distant and thinner than the more robust English dub. Neither are perfect examples of audio recordings, the English dub offers more clarity.

Optional English and English SDH subtitles are offered on the different soundtracks. Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing are for the English soundtrack.

Audio ★★★☆☆

Requiescant offers a lighter set of special features than most Arrow Video releases. This is a combo set with a DVD. The booklet includes lengthy writing that helps make up for the lack of video features.

  • Interview with Lou Castel (13:38 in HD) – An all-new interview recorded exclusively for this release. The actor discusses what he added to the character that wasn’t in the script and his memories on the production.
  • Interview with director Carlo Lizzani (27:43 in HD) – An archival interview that ranges over his career, including Requiescant. The discussion rambles a bit but Lizzani explains the political situation in Italy at the time, important context for the film.
  • Theatrical Trailer (02:58 in HD)
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx
  • Illustrated 22-page collector’s booklet containing new writing on the film by Pasquale Iannone

Extras ★★☆☆☆

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.