Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 23rd, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, August 16th, 1971
Director: Sergio Martino
Writers: Ernesto Gastaldi, Eduardo Manzanos Brochero, Sauro Scavolini
Cast: George Hilton, Anita Strindberg, Janine Reynaud, Luigi Pistilli
DVD released: May 31st, 2005
Approximate running time: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Italian
DVD Release: No Shame
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: Lisa Baumer (Ida Gali), makes love to her lover and in the sky above in an airplane with her husband Kurt Baumer an explosive detonates killing everyone on board. A phone call awakens her with the bad news as she lay in bed with her lover. She is informed that her husband unknown to her had taken out a life insurance policy for $1,000,000 that named Lisa as his beneficiary. In order to collect on the policy she must fly to Athens for the release of the funds. In Athens after Lisa has collected her money she runs into some trouble when Lara Florakis (Janine Reynaud), Kurt’s mistress wants a piece of the pie. Lisa is murdered by a blacked gloved killer in her hotel room and he makes off with her money. Insurance detective Peter Lynch (George Hilton), helps Cleo Dupont (Anita Strinberg), who photographed Lisa’s murder as they set out to solve Lisa’s Murder.
Sergio Martino is a master craftsmen filmmaker who has worked in about every genre of cinema and in the early 1970’s when the giallo was at the height of its popularity it only made sense for Martino to capitalize on the current trend. The 1970’s would be Sergio Martino’s most creative decade as a filmmaker. He would direct several classic giallo’s Next!, Case of the Scorpion’s Tail, All the Colors of the Dark, Torso and Gently Before She Dies most them which would star his brothers girlfriend at the time Edwige Fenech.
The Case of The Scorpions Tale was shot on several locations Italy, England, Spain and Greece and cinema photographer’s Giancarlo Ferrando and Emilio Foriscot beautifully capture the landscapes. The special effects during the murders hold pretty well and the same cannot be said for the model plane that blows up at the beginning of the film. Case of the Scorpions Tale like most of Martino’s giallo’s has a solid cast that includes George Hilton (The Strange vice of Mrs. Wardh, All the Colors of the Dark), Anita Strindberg (A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, Who Saw Her Die?), Janine Reynaud (Succubus) and Luigi Pistilli (Your Vice Is a Closed Room and Only I Have the Key). The films two lead’s George Hilton and Anita Strindberg make an interesting pair. They have a strong chemistry that is heightened from the sexual tension building up between them.
Composer Bruno Nicolai most know for his collaborations with Ennio Morricone the score is nerve wracking and haunting as his gorgeous melody give the film more depth. Janine Reynard death scene is my favorite murder set piece in a Sergio Martino film as her face pressed against a window looks contorted and grotesque. The Case of The Scorpion Tale is a perplexing story that weaves so many red herrings that once the killer’s identity is revealed you will be surprised. There are also a couple brutal set pieces that the giallo is known for in this film. The Case of The Scorpions Tale is one of those films that start’s to grow on you the more you watch. Sergio Martino direction is creates intense moments throughout and he manages to give us in the final product one of his most suspenseful films of his career.
No Shame presents The Case of The Scorpions Tale in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This high definition transfer has been sourced from the restored original 2p negative and it is available for the first time ever on DVD in its original aspect ratio and uncut. The colors are vibrant as they come alive and flesh tones look healthy. Black levels are solid and remain constant through out. There is an exceptional amount of detail present in every frame. Grain is kept to a minimum and there are no problems with compression or artifacts. This DVD transfer is interlaced. Overall the print is nearly flawless.
This DVD comes with two audio options the films original Italian language track and an English dubbed track both are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. Both audio sources suffer from some mild hiss, still nothing that ever becomes distracting. The English dubbed track is in better shape then the Italian soundtrack as it has a slightly more beefed up audio. Offering the viewer multiple audio options are always welcome and I wish more companies would do this since it can only help broaden the films marketability. English subtitles have been included that are easy to follow and understand.
Extras include the films original trailer which comes with two audio options English & Italian and poster & still gallery that runs just shy on minute in length. Other extras include a collectable booklet that includes bios for Sergio Martino, George Hilton and Anita Strindberg. Rounding out the extras is the excellent documentary “Creepy Crawly: The Scorpions Shadow”, which features interviews with Sergio Martino, Luciano Martino, Ernesto Gastaldi and George Hilton. All of the participants are lucid as they remember even the smallest detail about working on this film nearly thirty five years ago. The information the relay is as informative making this twenty four minute documentary a virtual treasure trove for giallo fans.
Overall another solid DVD release from No Shame that improves upon last year’s region 2 The Case of The Scorpions Tale released on DVD by X-Rated Kult DVD. The Case of The Scorpions Tale is a tense thriller that has all the hallmarks that fans of the golden age of giallo have come to expect, highly recommended.