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A musician witnesses the murder of a famous psychic, and then teams up with a fiesty reporter to find the killer while evading attempts on their lives by the unseen killer bent on keeping a dark secret buried.
For more about Deep Red and the Deep Red Blu-ray release, see Deep Red Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on January 5, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Dario Argento
Writers: Dario Argento, Bernardino Zapponi
Starring: David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia, Macha Méril, Eros Pagni, Giuliana Calandra
» See full cast & crew
Deep Red Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, January 5, 2011
Dario Argento's "Profondo Rosso" a.k.a "Deep Red" (1975) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Arrow Films. The supplemental features included with this release are: short introduction by composer Claudio Simonetti; audio commentary with Danish filmmaker and Dario Argento expert Thomas Rostock; conversation with actress Daria Nicolodi; conversation with composer Claudio Simonetti; theatrical trailers; and more. Also included with this release are: 4-Panel reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork, exclusive double-sided poster; and illustrated collector's booklet containing an essay by Alan Jones. In Italian or English, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
A British jazz pianist, Marc Daly (David Hemmings, Blow-Up, Lola), living in Rome witnesses the brutal murder of a famous psychic (Macha Meril, Belle de jour, Vagabond). Shortly after that, he becomes haunted by a nagging feeling that he might have seen something important that he can't remember but could possibly lead the police to the killer. Encouraged by one of his best friends, Carlo (Gabriele Lavia, Scandalosa Gilda), he begins his own investigation.
Marc is eventually joined in his efforts by a beautiful reporter, Gianna Brezzi (Daria Nicolodi, Schock), who is just as determined to find the psychic's killer as she is to get in bed with him. Giordani (Glauco Mauri, L'ospite), a psychology professor who was once close friends with the victim, also joins the investigation and offers to help.
The more time Marc spends studying the case, however, the more confused he becomes. Eventually, a lucky break reveals to him that the murder of the psychic was likely motivated by the killer's desire to conceal a different, much older crime. He begins digging up various old secrets and the killer goes berserk.
Arguably Italian director Dario Argento's best film, Profondo rosso a.k.a Deep Red requires multiple viewings to fully grasp all of its intricate details. It is quite a chaotic film, resembling a vivid surreal dream, often making very little sense but producing images that are indeed impossible to forget.
The plot is fractured into various small episodes, some good, some not so good. The good ones typically culminate with outbursts of shocking but occasionally also borderline cartoonish violence. They are also marked by the nagging presence of Argento's trademark spine-chilling atmosphere (which is in fact what makes all of his films so fascinating to behold). The bad ones are characterized by the presence of pointless conversations or various weak attempts at satirizing repression.
The most exciting protagonist in Profondo Rosso is Argento's camera. There are various scenes where its unusual moves produce awkward viewing angles and unnatural shot transitions that give the film quite the edge. A few are so bold that they could actually induce claustrophobic reactions. Elsewhere in the film one feels as if one is placed in the camera or, as I assume Argento intended, inside the killer's head, thus literally viewing the action through his eyes.
As it is the case with practically all of Argento's films, in Profondo Rosso music has a very important role. Legendary Italian group Goblin's soundtrack is deeply atmospheric, at times notably unsettling and dark, complimenting exceptionally well Argento's unique cinematic style.
Note: British distributors Arrow Films' Blu-ray release of Profondo Rosso contains the film's Theatrical Cut, running at approximately 105 minutes, and the Director's Cut, running at approximately 127 minutes.
Deep Red Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Dario Argento's Profondo Rosso arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Arrow Films. Please note that Disc 1 contains the Director's Cut, while Disc 2 contains the International Theatrical Cut of the film.
Even though Arrow Films' high-definition transfer of the Director's Cut of Profondo Rosso is somewhat inconsistent, I am very pleased with it. Generally speaking, it represents a substantial upgrade in quality in practically every key area we typically address in our reviews - fine object detail, clarity, contrast levels, and color reproduction. Those of you who have digital projectors will be pleased to know that there are various stability improvements as well.
Most of the fluctuations noted above are in regard to color reproduction and grain retention. While viewing Profondo Rosso I noticed numerous mild color pulsations that pop up here and there, as well as minor traces of noise corrections that have been applied to random scenes. Neither the former nor the latter, however, affect the overall integrity of the presentation. On the contrary, the color reproduction is very good, and grain, though occasionally mixed with mild noise, is also present throughout the entire film.
There are a few frame transition issues, mostly during the final third of the film, but they appear to have been inherited. What is more important here is the fact that a lot of the background flicker and macroblocking from the R1 SDVD release of Profondo Rosso have been rather effectively addressed. Finally, I noticed a few small warps, as well as tiny flecks, and even a couple of scratches popping up here and there, but considering the type of limitations various SDVD releases of Profondo Rosso have conveyed during the years, the quality improvements are indeed very impressive. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location. For the record, there is no problematic PAL or 1080/50i content preceding the disc's main menu Please note that screenshots 1-10 are from the Director's Cut of Profondo Rosso, while screenshots 11-19 are from the International Theatrical Cut).
Deep Red Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are four audio tracks on this Blu-ray release: Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (on Disc 1) and English Dolby Digital 2.0 (on Disc 2). For the record, Arrow Films have provided optional English subtitles for both the Director's Cut and the International Theatrical Cut of Profondo Rosso. When turned on, they appear inside the image frame.
The Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is excellent. The bass is surprisingly potent, the rear channels very intelligently used, and the high-frequencies not overdone. There is a wonderful range of nuanced dynamics as well, giving Goblin's outstanding soundtrack quite a boost. The dialog is stable, clean, and relatively easy to follow (the dubs included).
The English Dolby Digital 2.0 isn't terribly disappointing but it isn't overly impressive either. The dialog is fairly easy to follow, but the dynamic intensity from the terrific Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is completely gone.
Deep Red Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Note: All of the supplemental features included on the two Blu-ray discs are perfectly playable on North American PS3s and SAs.
Disc 1 - Director's Cut
Deep Red Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I am very pleased with this stylish package. Yes, there are certain minor limitations with the technical presentation, the overwhelming majority of which I believe are inherited, but Dario Argento's Profondo Rosso has never looked this good before. I really hope that in the future Arrow Films will also manage to bring some classic Italian comedies and dramas to Blu-ray. Having some of Dino Risi, Mario Monicelli, Elio Petri, Mauro Bolognini, or Salvatore Samperi's films on Blu-ray will be special. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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UK's Arrow Video has announced A Bay of Blood (Reazione a catena; Mario Bava, 1971) and Deep Red (Profondo rosso; Dario Argento, 1975) for Blu-ray release on December 6 and 13, respectively. The studio has also announced that the highly anticipated limited edition ...
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