Friday, December 3, 2021

Giallo Essentials Collection (Yellow Edition) – Arrow Video (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Dates: Italy, 1973 (Torso), Italy, 1974 (What Have They Done to Your Daughters?), Italy, 1975 (Strip Nude for Your Killer)
Directors: Sergio Martino (Torso), Massimo Dallamano (What Have They Done to Your Daughters?), Andrea Bianchi (Strip Nude for Your Killer)
Cast: Suzy Kendall, Tina Aumont, Luc Merenda, John Richardson, Roberto Bisacco (Torso), Giovanna Ralli, Claudio Cassinelli, Mario Adorf, Franco Fabrizi, Farley Granger (What Have They Done to Your Daughters?), Edwige Fenech, Nino Castelnuovo, Femi Benussi (Strip Nude for Your Killer)

Release Date: December 21st, 2021
Approximate Running Times: 93 minutes 36 Seconds (Torso Italian Version, English/Italian Hybrid Version), 90 minutes 12 Seconds (Carnal Violence, Torso), 90 Minutes 50 Seconds (What Have They Done to Your Daughters?), 97 Minutes 59 Seconds (Strip Nude for Your Killer)
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Torso), 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (What Have They Done to Your Daughters?, Strip Nude for Your Killer)
Rating: NR
Sound: LPCM Mono Italian, LPCM Mono English (All Films), LPCM Mono English/Italian Hybrid (Torso)
Subtitles: English, English SDH (All Films)
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $99.95

"Arrow Video continues its exploration of Italian cult cinema with this volume of Giallo Essentials, bringing together three more suspense-filled exemplars of the genre!

In Massimo Dallamano’s What Have They Done to Your Daughters? (1974), hot-headed Inspector Silvestri (Claudio Cassinelli, The Suspicious Death of a Minor) and rookie Assistant District Attorney Vittoria Stori (Giovanna Ralli, Cold Eyes of Fear) investigate the apparent suicide of a teenage girl, leading them to a sordid prostitution ring whose abusers occupy the highest echelons of Italian society. Sergio Martino’s Torso (1973) helped lay the groundwork for the American Slasher Movie: when a ruthless killer begins to target the female university students of Perugia, Jane (Suzy Kendall, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage) and her friends flee for the peace of the countryside, only to discover that the threat isn’t far behind. Andrea Bianchi’s Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975) delivers depravity in droves as ambitious photographer Magda (Edwige Fenech, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key) and her on-off boyfriend, love rat Carlo (Nino Castelnuovo, The English Patient), team up to solve the spate of highly sexualized murders that are rocking a prestigious Milanese fashion house." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5 (Torso, What Have They Done to Your Daughters?, Strip Nude for Your Killer)

Here’s the information provided about Torso and Strip Nude for Your Killer's transfers, " The original 35mm camera negative was scanned in 2K resolution on a pin-registered Arriscan. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, picture instability and other instances of film wear were repaired or removed through a combination of digital restoration tools and techniques."

Here’s the information provided about What Have They Done to Your Daughters? transfer, "The restored HD master was provided by Camera Obscura."

Torso comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 45.7 GB

Feature: 25.5 GB 

What Have They Done to Your Daughters? comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 45.3 GB

Feature: 28 GB

Strip Nude for Your Killer comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 46.2 GB

Feature: 23 GB

The sources used for these films’ transfers are all in great shape. Colors are nicely saturated, image clarity and black levels look solid throughout, and grain remains intact. These transfers are direct ports of Arrow Video's earlier releases for these films.

It should be noted that there are four ways to view Torso: the Italian theatrical version, an English/Italian language hybrid, the U.S. theatrical version under the title Carnal Violence, and the U.S. theatrical version under the title Torso.

Audio: 4.25/5 (Torso, What Have They Done to Your Daughters?, Strip Nude for Your Killer)

What Have They Done to Your Daughters? and Strip Nude for Your Killer comes with two audio options: an English LPCM mono mix and an Italian LPCM mono mix.Torso has four audio options: a LPCM mono mix in Italian and a LPCM mono English/Italian hybrid for the ninety-four minute version, and a LPCM mono mix in Italian and a LPCM mono mix in English for the ninety-minute version. All the audio mixes sound clean, clear, and balanced. Range-wise, the Italian language mix is the more robust of these two audio mixes. There are two subtitle options for this release. English SDH subtitles for the English language track and English subtitles for the Italian language track.

Extras:

Extras for Torso include reversible cover art, English language trailer under the title Carnal Violence (3 minutes 6 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), Italian theatrical trailer (3 minutes 8 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Italian with removable English subtitles), a Q&A with Sergio Martino from the 2017 Abertoir International Horror Festival (47 minutes, Dolby Digital stereo English and Italian with English translation for the Italian), an interview with Mikel J. Koven, author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film titled Saturating the Screen (25 minutes 4 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with filmmaker Federica Martino, daughter of Sergio Martino titled Women in Blood (24 minutes 59 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi titled Dial S for Suspense (29 minutes 16 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with actor Luc Merenda titled The Discreet Charm of the Genre (34 minutes 52 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with co-screenwriter/director Sergio Martino titled All Colors of Terror (34 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles) and an audio commentary with Kat Ellinger, author of All the Colors of Sergio Martino.

Extras not carried over from Arrow Video's 2018 Torso Blu-ray release is a thirty-two-page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Violence Brings in the Bucks’: Joseph Brenner the Forgotten Hero of 42nd Street written by Adrian Smith, an essay titled Songs for Europe: The Music of Guido and Maurizio De Angelis written by Howard Hughes and information about the restoration/transfer.

Extras for What Have They Done to Your Daughters? include reversible cover art, Italian theatrical trailer (3 minutes 55 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Italian with removable English subtitles), an image gallery (posters/lobby cards/other promotional materials), English language opening and closing credits (3 minutes 8 seconds, Dolby Digital mono), unused hardcore footage (5 minutes 5 seconds, this extra has no sound), a featurette is titled Eternal Melody (49 minutes 39 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), a featurette titled Dallamano’s Touch (22 minutes 22 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), a new video essay by Kat Ellinger, author and editor-in-chief of Diabolique Magazine titled Masters and Slaves: Power, Corruption & Decadence in the Cinema of Massimo Dallamano (19 minutes 44 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and an audio commentary with Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films.

Extras not carried over from Arrow Video's 2018 What Have They Done to Your Daughters? Blu-ray release is a twenty-four page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled What Have They Done to Society? written by Michael Mackenzie and information about the restoration/transfer.

Extras for Strip Nude for Your Killer include reversible cover art, an image gallery (posters/lobby cards/stills), Italian theatrical trailer (3 minutes 41 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Italian with removable English subtitles), English language trailer (3 minutes 41 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an interview with actor and production manager Tino Polenghi titled Jack of All Trades (21 minutes 50 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with assistant director Daniele Sangiorgi titled The Art of Helping (44 minutes 18 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with actress Erna Schurer titled The Blonde Salamander (18 minutes 30 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with actor Nino Castelnuovo titled A Good Man for the Murders (14 minutes 31 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), a video essay by author and film critic Kat Ellinger titled Sex and Death with a Smile (23 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and an audio commentary with Adrian J. Smith and David Flint.

Extras not carried over from Arrow Video's 2019 What Have They Done to Your Daughters? Blu-ray release is a twenty-four-page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Strip Nude for Your Voyeur: Sex and Voyeurism in Andrea Bianchi’s Strip Nude for Your Killer written by Rachael Nisbet and information about the restoration/transfer.

Other extras include a rigid box packaging with newly designed artwork by Haunt Love in a windowed Giallo Essentials Collection slipcover.

Summary:

Torso: Torso like Sergio Martino’s other Giallo’s is well made film that features stylish cinematography, inventive murder set pieces and a bevy of beautiful women in various stages of undress. Torso is Sergio Martino’s most graphic Giallo. And the scene where the killer stalks a woman in the woods is Torso’s most memorable death scene.

The narrative is well-constructed, the red herrings are well-executed and there is an ample amount of tension. Torso hits its stride once the four girls arrive at a secluded villa. And nowhere is this clearer, than how this isolated-location reinforces the mounting tension.

Torso features a strong cast and they are all very good in their respective roles. With this film’s most memorable performance being Suzy Kendall (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Spasmo) in the role of Jane. Other notable cast members include, Tina Aumont (The Howl, Lifespan), Luc Merenda (The Violent Professionals, A Man Called Magnum) and John Richardson (Eyeball, Nine Guests for a Crime). Ultimately Torso is a well-made thriller that perfectly exploits the Giallo genres most celebrated elements.

What Have They Done to Your Daughters?: What Have They Done to Your Daughters? is more of a crime thriller then a Giallo like its predecessor. What Have You Done to Your Daughters? is a sequel to Massimo Dallamano’s hugely successful Giallo What Have They Done to Solange?.

With What Have They Done to Your Daughters? Massimo Dallamano takes the violence up a notch as he expands on ideas and themes he explored earlier in What Have They Done to Solange?. Thematically What Have They Done to Your Daughters? tackles some controversial issues like birth control, underage sex and abortion.

What Have They Done to Your Daughters? moves a brisker pace then its predecessor What Have They Done to Solange? and Massimo Dallamano many years as a cinematographer is clear as every frame are interesting compositions that add to the films dark undertones. One of my favorite moments in the film is when the killer stalks assistant district attorney Vittoria Stori in a parking garage. The Film Noir like lighting sets the mood as tension filled game of cat and mouse ensues with Vittoria narrowly escaping the killers’ meat cleaver on more than one occasion. Massimo Dallamano uses this shadow like lighting to great effect many times throughout the film.

Stelvio Cipriani’s has composed several classic scores like Rabid Dogs, Twitch of the Death Nerve, The Frightened Woman and Execution Squad. Stelvio Cipriani’s score for What Have They Done to Your Daughters? is one of his best scores as a composer. And the main theme is the closest I have heard anyone come to mimicking Ennio Morricone.

What Have They Done to Your Daughters? feature’s a strong cast of euro regulars Giovanna Ralli (Cold Eyes of Fear, The Mercenary), Claudio Cassinelli (Flavia the Heretic, The Suspicious Death of a Minor) and Mario Adorf (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Short Night of the Glass Dolls).

Farley Granger (Amuck!) has a cameo in What Have You Done to Your Daughters?. He is best remembered for his portrayal of Guy Haines in Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train. Farley Granger’s role is all to brief and he is never given enough screen time to make his character nothing more than a plot device that furthers the story.

Content wise, What Have They Done to Your Daughters? has everything one would expect from a Giallo. It has a black gloved killer dressed in biker gear and the paring of a male and female who are throw together to solve the mystery. Another strength of this film is how it perfectly fuses the Giallo and the Polizioteschi genre’s.

Though What Have They Done to Your Daughters? is a complete departure from its predecessor What Have You Done to Solange?, I still found it too be just as engaging and in many ways more disturbing. Massimo Dallamano only made a handful of films before his untimely death due to a car accident, still it is clear in every film that he directed or worked on as a cinematographer that he was a gifted filmmaker.

Strip Nude for Your Killer: Giallo’s are known for their exotic and strange titles, as much as they’re remembered for their violent set pieces and excessive amounts of naked flesh on display. Strip Nude for Your Killer is more than just some suggestive title thrown together by a producer. Director Andrea Bianchi (Cry of a Prostitute, Burial Ground) has the actors do just what the title suggests “Strip Nude for Your Killer”, as victim after victim is murder with little or no clothes on.

Strip Nude for your Killer is sleazy and has more full-frontal nudity then any Giallo I have seen so far. Strip Nude for Your Killer is not as bad as Mario Landi’s sleaze classic Giallo a Venezia and in many ways it is similar to another Edwige Fenech Giallo The Case of The Bloody Iris.

Performance wise the cast are not much more than objects that are strategically placed throughout. There are an ample number of attractive women who all take their clothes off at some point. Most notably Edwige Fenech, the main attraction of Strip Nude for Your Killer. Other notable cast members include, Femi Benussi (A Hatchet for the Honeymoon, So Sweet, So Dead) and Nino Castelnuovo (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Camille 2000).

Surprisingly Andrea Bianchi’s Strip Nude for Your Killer is well crafted film that exhibits some inspired moments like, when the obese Maurizo tries to seduce one of the models Doris and he at one point threatens to hit her with a vase before she agrees to have sex with him. Only when he can get it up Doris leaves him alone and in his frustration he starts talking to a deflated blow up doll ‘You are the only one for me’, before the killers puts him out of his misery.

While I am not going to call Strip Nude for Your Killer a masterpiece. It certainly is far from one of the worst example’s the Giallo genre has to offer. There are several murder scenes that rival some of the most violent Giallo’s ever released. Another aspect of this genre that has long been one of its strongest selling points is nudity and there is plenty of it on display in this film. And though, Strip Nude for Your Killer’s plot is not its strongest asset, there is enough going on that there is never a dull moment. Overall Strip Nude for Your Killer has enough sleaze and nudity to enchant even the most dedicated Giallo fan.

Arrow Video continues their Giallo Essentials Collection with the yellow box that contains three films that they originally released separately. All three films in the Giallo Essentials Collection come with solid audio and video presentations and a wealth of extra content. That said, the only content new to this release is the box that houses the three films and a slipcover for the box. Though most Giallo fans already own Arrow Video’s original releases for these three films, The Giallo Essentials Collection is a convenient way for anyone who has not already purchased Arrow Video’s original releases to add more Gialli to their collections.



























Written by Michael Den Boer

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Disciples of Shaolin – 88 Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong/Taiwan, 1975
Director: Cheh Chang
Writers: Cheh Chang, Kuang Ni
Cast: Alexander Fu Sheng, Kuan-Chun Chi, Ming Li Chen, Ching-Ping Wang, Ti Lu, Tao Chiang, Hark-On Fung, Chiang Han, Shou-Yi Fan, Li Hsu, Stephan Yip, Hui-Huang Lin, Jamie Luk

Release Date: December 14th, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 107 Minutes 09 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Mandarin, DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English
Region Coding: Region A,B
Retail Price: $29.95

"When shaolin disciple Kuan Fung Yi (Alexander Fu Sheng) takes a job at a textile factory he soon becomes embroiled in a bitter and violent clash with the rival Manchu clan who run a neighboring mill." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, “HD master from the original 35mm negatives.” 

Disciples of Shaolin comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 38.6 GB

Feature: 31.3 GB

This is another solid transfer from 88 Films. The source used for this transfer is in great shape. Colors are nicely saturated, image clarity and black levels look strong throughout. That said, this transfer is on par with 88 Films' other Shaw Brothers transfers.

Audio: 4.25/5 (DTS-HD Mono Mandarin), 4/5 (DTS-HD Mono English)

This release comes with two audio options: a DTS-HD mono mix in Mandarin and a DTS-HD mono mix in English. Though both audio mixes sound clean, clear, and balanced, the English language track has a few minor silabance issues. Range-wise, the fight sequences sound robust. Included with this release are two subtitle options: English for the Mandarin language track and a second English subtitle track for Mandarin text and signs.

Extras:

Extras for this release include original theatrical trailer (2 minutes 52 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Mandarin with burnt in English and Cantonese subtitles), an interview with Shaw Bros actor and acclaimed director Jamie Luk who discusses director Cheh Chang and Disciples of Shaolin (25 minutes 40 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Chinese with non-removable English subtitles), an audio commentary with film critic and author Samm Deighan, an audio commentary with  action cinema experts Mike Leeder and Arne Venema, reversible cover art, a double-sided foldout poster, a limited-edition slipcover and a limited-edition twenty-four page booklet with an essay titled Disciples of Shaolin and The Visceral Martial Arts Cinema of Cheh Chang written by Mathew Edwards, an interview with actor Jamie Luk, an essay titled International Bright Young Thing A Look Back on the Shaw Brothers Classic The Disciples of Shaolin AKA Hong Quan Xiao Zi (1975) and its Gifted, Charismatic Star Alexander Fu Sheng written by Andrew Graves and an essay titled Finding Fu Sheng written by Karl Newton.

Summary:

Don’t let this film's title mislead you; there is no Shaolin temple or Shaolin monks. The Mandarin title, "Hong Quan Xio Zi," translates to "The Hung Boxing Kid." Disciples of Shaolin was originally released in the USA under the title "Invincible One."

When it came to Hong Kong cinema in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, one would be hard pressed to name a more influential director than Cheh Chang. It should not come as a surprise that he’s often referred to as "The Godfather of Hong Kong cinema". And with Disciples of Shaolin, he delivers yet another outstanding example of martial arts cinema.

The opening credits feature an all-too familiar martial arts demonstration by the protagonist. From there, the narrative spends the next thirty minutes building the characters. Then, once the action sets in, it's a relentless series of brutal action set pieces where characters have bones broken or are stabbed to death. The finale provides a cathartic conclusion to the protagonist's death fight sequence in which he fends off attackers while trying to protect a wound that could lead to his demise.

Though the action set pieces are top-notch and the narrative is solid, one must not undervalue Alexander Fu Sheng’s (Legendary Weapons of China) portrayal of Kuan Fung Yi. He delivers a charismatic performance that perfectly captures his character's confidence and fearlessness. Another strength of his performance is when it comes to his character's mischievous slide. His character leaves his footprint on other characters' asses. That said, the rest of the cast are very good in their respective roles.

An all-too common thing in the 1970’s martial arts cinema was using music from other films. And in the case of Disciples of Shaolin, it uses three music cues from Gianni Ferrio’s score for La poliziotta and two music cues from Ennio Morricone’s score for Death Rides a Horse. Ultimately, Disciples of Shaolin is a top-tier martial arts film that fans of classic martial arts cinema should thoroughly enjoy.

Disciples of Shaolin gets an excellent release from 88 Films that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and a wealth of insightful extras, highly recommended.








Written by Michael Den Boer

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The Climber – Arrow Video (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) 

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1975
Director: Pasquale Squitieri
Writers: Carlo Rivolta, Pasquale Squitieri
Cast: Joe Dallesandro, Stefania Casini, Benito Artesi, Ferdinando Murolo, Raymond Pellegrin

Release Date: May 15th, 2015 (UK), May 16th, 2015 (USA)
Approximate Running Time: 107 Minutes 30 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: LPCM Mono Italian, LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH, English (Italian Language)
Region Coding: Region A,B/Region 1,2 NTSC
Retail Price: £24.99 (UK), $39.95 (USA)

'The Climber follows in the tradition of gangster classics such as The Public Enemy and Scarface as it charts the rise and inevitable fall of small-time smuggler Aldo (Dallesandro). Beaten and abandoned by the local gang boss after he tries to skim off some profits for himself, Aldo forms his own group of misfits in order to exact revenge..." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the original negative."

The Climber comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 36.1 GB

Feature: 28.3 GB

There are no issues with compression; colors look accurate, details look crisp and black levels remain strong throughout.

Audio: 4.25/5

This release comes with two audio options: a LPCM mono mix in English and a LPCM mono mix in Italian. Both audio mixes sound clean, clear, balanced, and robust when they need to. Included with this release are two subtitle options: English SDH and English for the Italian language tracks.

Extras:

Extras for this release include an interview with actor Joe Dallesandro titled Little Joe’s Adventures in Europe (28 minutes, 39 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), reversible cover art, and a sixteen-page booklet with cast and crew information, an essay titled "Paradise Lost" written by Roberto Curti, and information about the restoration and transfer.

Included with this release is a DVD that has the same content as the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo.

Summary:

The Climber has many elements that have become synonymous with Italian crime films, most notably car chases. Content wise, The Climber is more about organized crime than a cop’s versus criminal’s scenario.

The Climber’s well-constructed narrative does a good job of chronicling the protagonists' rise and fall. And there are no issues with pacing, as The Climber is a satisfying mix of action set pieces and melodramatic moments.

The Climber's strongest asset is its leading man, Joe Dallesandro (The Gardener, Madness) in the role of Aldo. Other performances of note is Stefania Casini (Suspiria, Bloodstained Shadow) in the role of Aldo’s love interest and Raymond Pellegrin (Beatrice Cenci, Shoot First, Die Later) in the role of Don Enrico, the mafia boss whose betrayal of Aldo has led to an all-out war.

Standout moments include the scene where Aldo is betrayed by the boss of the crime syndicate that he worked for. This is one of many brutal moments in the film, and in this scene, two men beat Aldo to a pulp. Other standout moments include a scene where one of Aldo’s friends is murdered and his dead body is thrown off a balcony. And The Climber’s explosive finale has all the ingredients that one would expect from an Italian crime film.

The Climber gets a first-rate release from Arrow Video that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and an informative interview, highly recommended.








Written by Michael Den Boer

Wake Up And Kill – Arrow Video (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) 

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1966
Director: Carlo Lizzani
Writers: Carlo Lizzani, Ugo Pirro
Cast: Robert Hoffmann, Gian Maria Volonté, Claudio Camaso, Renato Niccolai, Ottavio Fanfani, Pupo De Luca, Corrado Olmi, Lisa Gastoni

Release Date: November 23rd, 2015 (UK), November 24th, 2015 (USA)
Approximate Running Times: 123 Minutes 51 Seconds (Italian Version), 97 Minutes 38 Seconds (English Version)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Both Versions)
Rating: 15 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: LPCM Mono Italian (Italian Version), LPCM Mono English (English Version)
Subtitles: English (Italian Version), English SDH (English Version)
Region Coding: Region A,B/Region 1,2 NTSC
Retail Price: £19.99 (UK), $29.95 (USA)

"During the 1960s Luciano Lutring committed more than one hundred armed robberies in Italy and on the French Riviera. To the media he was the machine gun soloist , a name he d earned as he kept his weapon in a violin case. To the public he was a romantic figure, one who only targeted the wealthy, stealing more than 35 billion lire during his criminal career.

Wake Up and Kill was the logical extension of such fame. It became the first feature to commit Lutring s story to celluloid, shooting having begun mere months after his eventual arrest." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4/5 (Italian Version), 3.75/5 (English Version)

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative."

Wake Up And Kill comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 45.2 GB

Feature: 25 GB (Italian Version), 19.8 GB (English Version)

The source used for the Italian version is in great shape. Color reproduction is solid, the image looks crisp, black levels and shadow detail are consistently strong throughout, and grain looks natural.

The source used for the English language version’s transfer is on par with the longer Italian language version. The only area where they differ is that there is slightly more print debris during the opening moments of the English language version.

Audio: 4.5/5

This release comes with one audio option for each version. 

The Italian version comes with an LPCM mono mix in Italian and removable English subtitles. There are no issues with distortion or background noise, and the dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced. Also, this audio track exhibits solid range and depth. This film’s score benefits most from this audio mix. 

The English version comes with an LPCM mono mix in English and removable English SDH subtitles. The audio track for the English language version is on par with the longer Italian language version.

Extras:

The extras for this release include an English language trailer for Wake Up and Kill (1 minute 18 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an English language version of the film under the title Wake Up and Kill, reversible cover art, and a twenty-eight page booklet with cast and crew information, an essay titled The Machine Gun Soloist written by Robert Curti, and information about the transfer.

Included with this release is a DVD that has the same content as the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo release.

Summary:

The plot is based on the real-life exploits of Luciano Lutring, who carried out hundreds of robberies in Italy and France during the 1960’s. He would be finally caught on September 1st, 1965, in Paris, France. Narrative wise, this film follows Luciano Lutring from his humble beginnings as a small-time crook who becomes bolder as he becomes more well-known due to the press coverage of his robberies. The film culminates with his capture in France.

Content wise, there are many elements in Wake Up and Kill that would later become synonymous with the Poliziotteschi, an Italian film genre that rose to prominence in the 1970’s. And besides the usual suspects, it's the cops versus the criminals. When it comes to its criminals, Wake Up and Kill actually breaks things down into two distinctively different fractions: those who are freelancers who steal for themselves and those who are part of a crime family. And nowhere is this more accentuated than in the scene where Luciano, who is now in France and unable to get anyone to buy the jewels he stole, is brought in.

All the main characters are well-defined, and their motivations are never in doubt. And though there is an ample amount of time spent exploring the more dramatic side of Luciano Lutring’s story, When it comes to more action-oriented moments, Wake Up and Kill delivers the goods and then some. One of this film’s strengths is its ability to balance drama and action.

Another strength of Wake Up and Kill is its ability to create tension and sustain it. And not to be overlooked is Wake Up and Kill's solid visuals which greatly add to the story at hand. Also, from a pacing stand point things move along a deliberate pacing that ensures that there are more peaks then valleys.

From a performance stand point the entire cast are all very good in their respective roles. With the standout performances coming Robert Hoffmann (Grand Slam, Spasmo) in the role of Luciano Lutring and Lisa Gastoni (The Maniacs, Seduction) in the role of Yvonne, Luciano’s love interest. These two actors’ have a tremendous amount of chemistry and the scenes where they interact are the one that resonate most. Other notable performances include, Gian Maria Volonté (A Bullet for the General, The Red Circle) in the role of an Italian inspector named Moroni and Volonté’s brother Claudio Camaso (Vengeance) in the role of Franco Magni, Yvonne’s jealous ex-lover. Ultimately, Wake Up And Kill a riveting crime drama that Poliziotteschi fans are sure to thoroughly enjoy.

Wake Up and Kill gets a strong release from Arrow Video that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and two versions of the film, recommended.








Written by Michael Den Boer

Giallo Essentials Collection (Yellow Edition) – Arrow Video (Blu-ray) Theatrical Release Dates: Italy, 1973 (Torso), Italy, 1974 (What Have...