Saturday, November 19, 2022

Blood and Diamonds - 88 Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1977
Director: Fernando Di Leo
Writer: Fernando Di Leo
Cast: Claudio Cassinelli, Martin Balsam, Barbara Bouchet, Pier Paolo Capponi, Olga Karlatos, Vittorio Caprioli, Carmelo Reale, Alberto Squillante

Release Date: October 31st, 2022 (UK), December 13th, 2022 (USA)
Approximate running time: 102 minutes 40 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Rating: 15 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: LPCM Mono Italian, LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English
Region Coding: Region A,B
Retail Price: £19.99 (UK), $34.95 (USA)

"After being set up by the Mafia gang he is part of, Guido (Claudio Cassinelli) is sent to prison but upon he vows to take revenge on those who betrayed him." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, “Brand New Remastered 4K Transfer from the Original Negative”.

Blood and Diamonds comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 45.6 GB

Feature: 30 GB

The source used for this transfer looks phenomenal. Colors and flesh tones look correct; image clarity, black levels, and compression are solid; and the image retains an organic look.

Audio: 4.25/5 (LPCM Mono Italian, LPCM Mono English)

This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in Italian and a LPCM mono mix in English. Both audio tracks sound clean, clear, and balanced. Ambient sounds are well  represented, and the score sounds appropriately robust. Also, there are removable English subtitles for the Italian language track.


Extras for this release include a theatrical trailer (3 minutes 14 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Italian with removable English subtitles), Italian opening, intermission and closing titles (4 minutes 16 seconds, Dolby Digital mono), an interview with actor Luc Merenda titled Blood and Di Leo - A Portrait by Luc Merenda (19 minutes 20 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a documentary about director Fernando Di Leo titled Journey of love - Discovering Fernando Di Leo (96 minutes 39 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an audio commentary with Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson, reversible cover art, a double sided poster (limited to first pressing), a slipcover (limited to first pressing), and twenty-four page booklet (limited to first pressing) with an essay titled Diamonds and Bills written by Francesco Massaccesi, an essay titled Forgotten Gem written by Andrew Graves, and an essay titled Roma Calibro 9 written by Rachael Nisbet.


Despite directing films in a variety of genres, Fernando Di Leo is most remembered for his contributions to Poliziotteschi cinema. Milano calibro 9, The Italian Connection, The Boss, Shoot First, Die Later, and Kidnap Syndicate are among the notable Poliziotteschi directed by Fernando Di Leo. Notable Poliziotteschi screenplays written by Fernando Di Leo include Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man, and Young, Violent, and Dangerous.

One thing that most of Fernando Di Leo’s films have is elaborate pre-credit sequences that set the tone. Blood and Diamonds opens with a pre-credit diamond heist sequence that sets in motion a double cross that plays a role later on. From there, the protagonist is sent to prison, and when the protagonist is released from prison, he goes looking for the person who set him up.

Many aspects of Blood and Diamonds are reminiscent of Fernando Di Leo's Milano Caliber 9. Both films revolve around career criminals recently released from prison and their attempts to leave their old lives behind. Their former associates from the criminal underworld drag them back into the fold.

Blood and Diamonds has a solid cast that has several recognizable faces for anyone familiar with 1970s Eurocult cinema. Claudio Cassinelli (The Suspicious Death of a Minor) is cast in the role of the protagonist, Guido Mauri, an expert safe cracker. Other notable cast members are Martin Balsam (Confessions of a Police Captain) in the role of a crime boss named Rizzo, Barbara Bouchet (Amuck!) in the role of a femme fatale named Lisa, and Pier Paolo Capponi (The Cat o' Nine Tails) in the role of an enforcer named Tony who works for Rizzo.

When it comes to creating tense action set pieces, Fernando Di Leo is second to none. With "Blood and Diamonds," he delivers a few memorable set pieces that rank among his best. Notably, there is a scene where two masked thugs rob a bus that Guido is on, and what should have been a routine robbery turns deadly when Guido takes matters into his own hands.

Content-wise, Blood and Diamonds has all the elements that are synonymous with Poliziotteschi cinema. And though the premise retreads familiar ground, the well-constructed narrative does a superb job building tension, and a fantastic ending provides a perfect coda. Another strength is composer Luis Bacalov’s (Django's) score. Though not Fernando Di Leo’s most memorable foray into Poliziotteschi cinema, Blood and Diamonds is a strong swan song for his last Poliziotteschi.

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

Written by Michael Den Boer

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