Friday, July 29, 2022

Libido – Severin Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1965
Directors: Ernesto Gastaldi, Vittorio Salerno
Writers: Mara Maryl, Ernesto Gastaldi, Vittorio Salerno
Cast: Dominique Boschero, Mara Maryl, Giancarlo Giannini, Luciano Pigozzi

Release Date: June 10th, 2022
Approximate Running Time: 89 Minutes 32 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Italian, DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $34.95

"When a small boy witnesses his father kill a woman during an S&M session, he’ll grow into a disturbed young man (Oscar® nominee Giancarlo Giannini in his film debut) tormented by images of violence, perversion, madness and murder." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "a 2K scan from the dupe negative."

Here's additional information about the transfer, "Libido was scanned from the only known film element: a dupe negative. There are some occasional minor imperfections printed into the element which are unfixable and hopefully not too distracting."

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

Disc Size: 35.2 GB

Feature: 25.7 GB

The disclaimer before the film gives a fair assessment of the source used for this transfer. Though there are instances of source-related imperfections, most of these are minor and not too distracting. That said, there are a few moments that are noticeable. Image clarity, contrast, and black levels are strong throughout, and the image retains an organic look.

Audio: 3.75/5 (DTS-HD Mono Italian), 4/5 (DTS-HD Mono English)

This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in Italian and a DTS-HD mono mix in English. Both tracks sound clean, clear, and balanced. The English language track sounds more robust than the Italian language track. Included with this release are removable English subtitles for the Italian language track, removable English SDH subtitles for the English language track, and a second English subtitle track for Italian text when watching with the English language track.


Extras for this release include a theatrical trailer (2 minutes 55 seconds, DTS-HD mono English with removable English subtitles for Italian text), an interview with screenwriter/co-director Ernesto Gastaldi titled I've Got You Under My Skin (57 minutes 7 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an audio commentary with  Kat Ellinger, author of Daughters of Darkness, and a slipcover.


When one discusses Italian thrillers, Ernesto Gastaldi is one of the most prominent screenwriters to excel in this genre. Notable Italian thrillers he wrote include The Sweet Body of Deborah, The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, Death Walks at Midnight, and Torso. Though most remembered for his work as a screenwriter, he directed five films and one short film. His directorial debut was Libido, a film which he co-directed with Vittorio Salerno (No, the Case Is Happily Resolved, Savage Three).

Libido contains elements that are commonly associated with giallo cinema. The result is a film that actually owes more to Gothic horror than it does to the Giallo genre. That said, Libido is a perfect fusion of these two film genres.

Libido’s narrative revolves around a protagonist who, as a child, witnessed his father's erotic sexual acts, which on that night led to a woman's death. This childhood trauma serves as the foundation for the subsequent events. From there, the protagonist and three other characters revisit the home where the trauma occurred, and from there a series of events unfold that make the protagonist question their sanity.

As mentioned before, Libido’s connection to Gothic horror can be linked to its striking use of black and white cinematography, which is stylish and overflowing with a foreboding atmosphere. And though there have been gialli that were shot in black and white, this genre is most remembered for its use of color.

The cast is limited to four actors, though they are all great in their respective roles. The play is essentially a showcase for Ernesto Gastaldi’s wife, Mara Maryl, who portrays Brigitte, the wife of the man who’s in charge of the protagonist's inheritance until his twenty-fifth birthday. The other three cast members are Dominique Boschero (Who Saw Her Die?) in the role of the protagonist's wife; Peter Lorre's lookalike Luciano Pigozzi (Blood and Black Lace) in the role of Brigitte’s husband; and Giancarlo Giannini (Black Belly of the Tarantula) in the role of Christian, the troubled protagonist who is only three months away from collecting his inheritance.

From a production standpoint, Libido does an amazing job with its modest resources. A protagonist who doubts his sanity while everyone around him has motives that arouse suspicion is a brilliantly realized premise. Also a well-executed narrative that does a great job of building momentum and a very satisfying finale that perfectly ties everything together that preceded it. Another strength is Carlo Rustichelli’s (The Whip and the Body) solid score that reinforces the mood. Ultimately, Libido is a solid film that fans of psychological thrillers are sure to enjoy.

Libido gets a first-rate release from Severin Films that comes with a strong audio/video presentation and a pair of informative extras, highly recommended.

A screenshot example of source related damage.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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