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Stendhal Syndrome, The: Comparison (Dutch Film Works vs. Medusa) 
Written by: on December 3rd, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, January 26th, 1996
Director: Dario Argento
Writer: Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini
Cast: Asia Argento, Thomas Kretschmann, Marco Leonardi, Luigi Diberti, Paolo Bonacelli
The Stendhal Syndrome
DVD released: 2000 2003
Approximate running time: 113 minutes 114 and 113 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.50:1 non-Anamorphic Widescreen 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 16 14
Sound: Dolby Digital Surround English Dolby Digital 5.1 Italian and English with English subtitles
DVD Release: Dutch Film Works Medusa
Region Coding: Region 2 Pal Region 2 PAl
Retail Price: $14.95 $32.95


Dutch Film Work’s Region 2 DVD
Medusa’s Region 2 DVD

The Film : Anna Manni (Asia Argento), a detective with the anti-rape squad receives a tip shortly after arriving in Florence that a serial rapist who she has been pursing is in town. Anna’s informant agrees to meet her at the Uffizi Gallery with more info about the serial rapist. Shortly after Anna enters the gallery she is overcome by the paintings which transform themselves before her eyes causing her to faint and hit her head on a table. When Anna regains consciousness she is help by an attractive man named Alfredo. Not knowing who she is or why she was there she refuses Alfredo’s help. Anna now in the safety of her hotel recovering from the events early in the day she is confronted by Alfredo who happens to be the serial rapist she has been tracking. He overpowers her as he rapes her psychically and mentally. Somehow Anna manages to escape from Alfredo before he has a chance to kill her. Anna now suffering from the dementia brought on by the “The Stendhal Syndrome” must also deal with the fact Alfredo is still at large with the possibility that he might come back and finish her off.


Every version of the Stendhal Syndrome including the Dutch film works release have looked liked they have been sourced from a VHS. First off the Dutch film works release is under matted to about 1.50:1 instead of the films original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Other problems include washed out colors and the image lacks detail as it is soft through out. Flesh tones look slightly off and darker scenes which take place at night or in the shadows are too dark. Medusa’s Stendhal Syndrome DVD is simple breath taking and it puts to shame all the other versions ever released. The color palette is vivid through out and the flesh tones look natural. The amount of detail in every frame is another plus to this transfer and detail in darker scenes in the film aren’t obscured like in previous editions. Overall Medusa’s transfer for the Stendhal Syndrome finally gives the viewer a chance to see the film as close to the way it looked original theatrically.


Dutch film works release comes with one audio option an English dubbed audio track that is presented in Dolby Digital surround. Overall the track makes good use of the fronts and surrounds. Dutch subtitles that are removable are present on the Dutch film works release. Medusa’s release comes with the original Italian audio presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and surround on the first DVD and an English dubbed audio presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 on the second DVD. English subtitles have been included for the first DVD which has the Italian audio tracks. The audio tracks included for the Medusa release offer superior sound quality all around. The dialog comes through crystal clear and the 5.1 mixes really showcase Morricone’s haunting score. Medusa’s release gives all the speakers a good workout and there is no sign of hiss or distortion. The Stendhal Syndrome has never sounded better.


Dutch film works release includes the following extras filmographies (in Dutch), photo gallery, the films original trailer and Michele Soavi seventy one minute documentary Dario Argento’s World of Horror. The extras for the Medusa release include cast and crew filmographies, interviews with Asia and Dario Argento and a featurette about the making of the Stendhal Syndrome which runs about thirty five minutes in length. All of these interviews and the featurette are in Italian and do not include English subtitles.


Medusa’s release offers the best audio/video presentation of the Stendhal Syndrome to date and it would have been a slam dunk if they included subtitles with their extras. The inclusion of English dubbed version along with the uncut Italian version which thankfully has been subtitled. Finally after countless inferior versions of the Stendhal Syndrome a DVD that is worthy of this film.

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