Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 5th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1972
Director: Silvio Amadio
Writer: Silvio Amadio
Cast: Farley Granger, Barbara Bouchet, Rosalba Neri, Nino Segurini, Dino Mele, Umberto Raho, Patrizia Viotti, Petar Martinovitch, Bruno Alias
BluRay released: April 28th, 2017
Approximate running time: 101 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Italian, DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English, German
BluRay Release: Camera Obscura
Region Coding: Region B / Region 2 PAL
Retail Price: 27.99 EUR
Synopsis: A young woman looking for the answers behind her friend’s disappearance gets a job as a writer’s secretary. Will she uncover the truth behind her friend’s disappearance or will she become the next victim?
One of the key elements which plays a large role in Italian thrillers are their locations. And when it comes to locations, there are few that match that atmosphere of Venice, a city that is comprised of 118 islands and these islands are linked together by water canals and bridges.
Italian thrillers that used Venice as its main location include, Who Saw Her Die?, The Bloodstained Shadow, Giallo in Venice and Amuck!. Another thriller that was made in Venice that bears many of the traits that have since become synonymous the Italian thriller is Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now.
Amuck! was written and directed by Silvio Amadio, a diverse filmmaker who had worked in a wide variety of genres. His most notable film’s include, Wolves of the Deep, Assassination in Rome, Smile Before Death and That Malicious Age.
Though Amuck’s! narrative is rooted in the elements that one has come to expect when watching an Italian thriller. The way it’s narrative unfolds is provides a fresh take on all too familiar tropes. And when it comes to red herrings this film delivers in spades. With its most devious moment of misdirection saved for its finale.
When this film was made, the majority of its contemporaries were body count whodunits with killers’ who black gloves and other clothing to disguise their identity’s. This film goes against the grain and content wise it is more in line with more psychologically rooted Italian thrillers like, A Quiet Place to Kill (Paranoia), So Sweet… So Perverse and One on Top of the Other.
Another strength of this film’s narrative is how it’s protagonist is feed information about her missing friend, who she suspects has been murdered. And not to be overlooked is how this film interjects eroticism into the story at hand. And nowhere is this more evident than in the decadent behavior of many of the ley characters.
Performances wise the entire cast are very good in their respective roles. With the main attraction of this film being it’s two leading ladies, Barbara Bouchet (Don’t Torture a Duckling, Cry of a Prostitute) in the role of Greta Franklin, the young women who poses as a secretary to expose the truth behind her friends disappearance / death and Rosalba Neri (Lucky, the Inscrutable, Top Sensation) in the role of Eleanora Stuart, the nymphomaniac with of the author that Greta works for. These two actresses provide a perfect balance between purity and perversity. And this film never wastes a moment when it comes to exploiting their beauty. Other notable cast members include, Farley Granger (So Sweet, So Dead, The Prowler) in the role of an author named Richard Stuart and Petar Martinovitch (Lady Frankenstein) in the role of Rocco, a half-witted fisherman.
From a production standpoint, there is not an area where this film does not excel. The visuals are rock solid throughout, most notably through its use of flashback’s and the film’s atmospheric score does a pitch perfect job maintaining the mood. Standout moments include, a slow-motion lesbian kissing scene, a “Most Deadly Game” like scene where Greta’s finds herself the prey while on a hunting trip. And the film’s Karma infused finale which provides a very satisfying conclusion.
Amuck! comes on a 50 GB dual layer (44.8 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This is another outstanding transfer / restoration from Camera Obscura. The image does a superb job retaining a film like quality, colors are nicely saturated, flesh tones look natural, details look sharp and black levels look solid throughout. Grain looks remains intact and there are no issues with DNR or compression. It is hard to image that this film could ever look any better than it does for this release.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in Italian and a DTS-HD mono mix in English. Both audio mixes are free of any distortion or background noise, dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced. Range wise both audio mixes do an excellent job when it comes to the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack and the score for the film sounds robust. Included with this release are two subtitle options, English and German.
Extras include, an English language trailer for the film (3 minutes 52 seconds), a photo gallery, three featurettes – In a House of Sin (18 minutes 11 seconds, in Italian with English and German subtitles), Death in Venice (15 minutes 15 seconds, in Italian with English and German subtitles) and Amadio! (20 minutes 58 seconds, in Italian with English and German subtitles) and an audio commentary with film experts Marcus Stiglegger, Pelle Felsch and Kai Naumann.
The extra titled In a House of Sin is an interview with actress Barbara Bouchet who discusses, the casting process in European cinema during the 1970’s, Amuck! and how she got cast, working with director Silvio Amadio, shooting films in Italy and their creative process, shooting in Venice, information about the locations, Farley Granger, what she likes to do in her free time, Rosalba Neri and their kissing scene, her thoughts about the cast and where Amuck! ranks in regards to her other films.
The extra titled Death in Venice is an interview with actress Rosalba Neri who discusses, Barbara Bouchet, Farley Granger, Venice / locations, working with director Silvio Amadio, the kissing scene and her thoughts about shooting similar scenes, the cast, her wardrobe, her thoughts about her death scene, producer Italo Zingarelli and her thoughts about the film.
The extra titled Amadio! Is an interview with Stefano Amadio, the son of director who discusses, his father’s origins as a filmmaker, Luchino Visconti and how he helped his father become a director, Wolves of the Deep, how his father worked in whatever genre was popular at that time in Italian cinema, Amuck! and its alternate titles, the origins of Amuck! and how this film relaunched his father’s career, Barbara Bouchet and how she was uninhibited when it came to shooting nudity, censorship issues that the film faced, the cast, his father’s creative process as a filmmaker and information about other film’s and actors / actresses who worked with his father.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, the various which this film has been released under, Giallo’s that take place in Venice, Giallo’s that take place in an isolated location, the Giallo genre and where Amuck! fits into this genre, information about the cast and their thoughts about the performances, their thoughts about the lesbian kissing scene and their thoughts about the film.
Rounding out the extras is a CD that contains the score for the film, a booklet that includes an informative essay titled Thus Spoke Amadio written by Marcel Barion. This essay is presented in dual text, English and German. This release also comes with multi-lingual menus, English and German. Overall Amuck! gets an exceptional release from Camera Obscura, highly recommended.
Note: Camera Obscura are also releasing this film on DVD.