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Deep Red (Limited Edition) (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

An English jazz pianist in Italy witnesses the murder of a famous psychic and becomes obsessed with solving the crime with then help of a beautiful reporter in this blood-stained giallo from Dario Argento.

Filmmaker Dario Argento returned to giallo after a few years away trying his hand at other genres with 1975’s Deep Red, the giallo to end all gialli. Now an even more seasoned and confident director, Argento grabbed the format by the proverbial collar and shook it up once again, pushing all the lesser imitators that had sprung up in the intervening years aside.

From the street below at night, English jazz pianist Marcus Daly (David Hemmings, Blow Up) witnesses the axe murder of a neighbor on his apartment building, the famous psychic Helga Ulmann (Macha Méril). Believing he noticed a clue that could lead to the killer, Marcus becomes obsessed with finding the clue and the killer, launching his own parallel investigation into Helga’s murder with the help of attractive reporter Gianna (Daria Nicolodi. It leads him into a labyrinthine journey of the macabre and an abandoned house with a secret room hiding a corpse. What does any of this have to do the murder? Well, it may tie-in to the opening flashback sequence of the film where we see the silhouette of a child witnessing slasher murder.

Deep Red helped to inspire a slew of horror and slasher films and itself treads the line of horror and crime thriller. Argento dives into his filmmaker’s toolbox to craft a stunning, stylish, and eerie visual film that uses angular shots and quick cuts. Of course, red is a thematic color that drenches the palette in the visceral. Driving the action is the pulsating proggy score from Goblin.

There are two versions of the film, both presented in this Limited Edition release from Arrow Video. The “original” version, restored to its full-length Italian version runs nearly 30 minutes longer, but does tend to lose sight of its objectives. Most of the additional footage is dialogue between Marcus and reporter Gianna, which doesn’t move the story forward. The tauter “export” version for the American market is the superior film.

The Video

These are brand new 4K restorations of both the original 127-minute Italian version and the 105-minute export version from the original negative by Arrow Films framed at 2.35:1 in HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) with Dolby Vision. The film grain looks superb and there is crisp texture and detail with spot on flesh tones. The Dolby Vision application yields some brilliant reds and some specular highlights that ‘pop’ just a bit more like the glint of light on the chrome of cars or the bulbs in lamps and headlights. There is an issue with black crush on clothing, however, as a lot of the black clothing crushes out and loses finer detail. Whether this is an artistic choice or not is hard to tell, but it does bring this otherwise superb presentation down a couple notches for me.

The Audio

There are a few versions available depending on which version of the film you choose. Whichever mix you go with, just know that the film was originally filmed in English and post-synched later in both English and Italian. The English mixes will most closely line up with the lip movements, but for the original version, they did not record any English audio for the extended scenes in the original cut, so Italian audio is used in the English/Italian mono hybrid mix for those scenes. Apart from that, the choice of Italian 1.0, Italian 5.1 or the English Hybrid will result in excellent sound whichever one is chosen. The English 1.0 on the Export version is my favorite only because it doesn’t have the jarring switch to Italian for any parts and you still get very clean, dynamic, and punchy audio. For the original version, the Italian 1.0 has the most authentic sound, but the 5.1 has a good spruced up sound to it as well.

The Supplements

Arrow Video continues to impress with these Limited Edition releases, packing them with an abundance of bonus features and collectibles that cinephiles and collectors will find difficult to pass on. This 4K Ultra HD release of Deep Red is no exception.

  • New 4K restoration of both the original 127-minute Italian version and the 105-minute export version from the original negative by Arrow Films
  • 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentations of both versions in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
  • Limited edition packaging with reversible sleeve featuring originally and newly commissioned artwork by Obviously Creative
  • Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by Alan Jones and Mikel J. Koven, and a new essay by Rachael Nisbet
  • Fold-out double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Obviously Creative
  • Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproduction artcards

Original Version

  • Commentary by Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson
  • Commentary by Thomas Rostock
  • Deep into the Red (1080p; Dolby Vision; 00:57:40) – An interview with Dario Argento, shot exclusively for Arrow Video in 2018, and an archival interview with actress Daria Nicolodi
  • The Medium Wore Black (1080p; Dolby Vision; 00:20:55) – An interview with actress Macha Méril, shot exclusively for Arrow Video in 2018.
  • 16 Years in Red (1080p; Dolby Vision; 00:46:31)– An interview with production manager Angelo Iacono, shot exclusively for Arrow Video in 2018.
  • Death Dies (1080p; Dolby Vision; 00:14:47) – An interview with composer Claudio Simonetti, shot exclusively for Arrow Video in 2018.
  • Carlo Never Dies (1080p; Dolby Vision; 00:15:32) – An interview with actor Gabriele Lavia, shot exclusively for Arrow Video in 2018.
  • I am the Screaming Child (1080p; 00:07:43) – An interview with actor Jacopo Mariani, shot exclusively for Arrow Video in 2018.
  • Bloodstained (1080p; Dolby Vision; 00:05:28) – An interview with actor Lino Capolicchio, Argento’s original choice for the role of Marcus Daly, shot exclusively for Arrow Video in 2018.
  • Trailers
  • Image Galleries

Export Version

  • Profondo Giallo (1080p; Dolby Vision; 00:32:57) – A visual essay by Michael Mackenzie featuring an in-depth appreciation of Deep Red, its themes and its legacy.
  • 2011 Introduction by Claudio Simonetti (1080p; Dolby Vision; 00:00:24)
  • Profondo Rosso: From Celluloid to Shop (1080p; Dolby Vision; 00:14:28) – A tour of the Profondo Rosso shop in Rome with long time Argento collaborator Luigi Cozzi.
  • Rosso Recollections (1080p; Dolby Vision; 00:12:24) – Director Dario Argento discusses his most celebrated giallo.
  • The Lady in Red (1080p; Dolby Vision; 00:18:45) – An interview with actress Daria Nicolodi.
  • Music to Murder For! (1080p; Dolby Vision; 00:14:05) – An interview with Goblin’s Claudio Simonetti.
  • US Trailer

The Final Assessment

One of Dario Argento’s finest gialli gets one of its finest releases with this 4K Ultra HD Limited Edition collection from Arrow Video. Highly recommended.

Deep Red (Limited Edition) is out of 4K Ultra HD October 26, 2021 from Arrow Video


  • Rating Certificate: R
  • Studios & Distributors: Rizzoli Film | Seda Spettacoli | Arrow Video
  • Director: Dario Argento
  • Written By: Dario Argento | Bernardino Zapponi
  • Run Time: 127 Mins.
  • Street Date: 26 October 2021
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • Primary Audio: Italian LPCM 1.0
  • Secondary Audio: Italian DTS-HD MA 5.1 | English/Italian Mono (Hybrid) | English LPCM 1.0
  • Subtitles: English
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