Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 14th, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: Italy / France, 1973
Director: Corrado Farina
Writers: Corrado Farina, François de Lannurien
Cast: Carroll Baker, George Eastman, Isabelle De Funès, , Daniela Balzaretti, Mario Mattia Giorgetti, Sergio Masieri, Angela Covello
BluRay released: February 28th, 2012
Approximate running times: 83 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono Italian
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, English for Italian Version
BluRay Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
Baba Yaga was adapted from a adult line of comics that revolved around a character named Valentina that created by Guido Crepax, who’s comics where known for ample amount of eroticism, dream like narratives and evocative imagery.
And while the majority of film adaptations of comic books fail to capture the essence of the source material. This is not the case with Baba Yaga, which is about as a faithful as any film could ever hope to be to the source from which it was adapted from.
Narrative wise, things are actually a lot more straight forward then what they at first appear to be. When broken down to its bare essence, this is basically a story about a young woman, who is seduced by a witch.
To spice things up there is never a shortage of flesh on parade. It should be noted that this version that is included as part of Blue Underground’s release is missing two key moments of nudity involving its two leading ladies (these moments have been included with the deleted scenes).
In a film in which things often dive deep into the surreal end of the pool. It should not come as surprise that this film’s most potent asset is its atmospheric visuals. Another area in which this film often excels is its brisk editing style, that perfectly captures the feel of a comic book narrative.
The one area where this film is not as strong as it could have been are the performances from its cast, most notably its two leading ladies Isabelle De Funès in the role of Valentina and Carol Baker (Paranoia, Knife of Ice) in the role of Baba Yaga. Reportedly Corrado Farina has two other actress in mind for this film, Elsa Martinelli (One on Top of the Other) for the role of Valentina and Anne Heywood (The Lady of Monza) for the role of Baba Yaga.
Baba Yaga comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. This transfer does a superb job retaining the intended ‘soft focus’ look of the film, colors have never as vibrant as they do hear, black levels look consistently strong and there are no problems with compression.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD Mono mix in English and a DTS-HD Mono mix in Italian (English subtitles have been included with the Italian audio mix). Both audio mixes sound very good as dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented. This release also comes with these subtitle options, English SDH, French and Spanish.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (3 minutes 33 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a poster & stills gallery, a comic book to film comparison segment, deleted and censored scenes (10 minutes 1 second – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles), a short film also directed by Corrado Farina titled ‘Freud in Color’ (12 minutes 6 seconds – 1.33:1 full frame, in Italian with English subtitles) and a interview with Corrado Farina titled ‘Farina & Valentina’ (21 minutes 40 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles). The short film titled ‘Freud in Color’ takes a look at Comics in Italy and the interview with Corrado Farina, who discusses film adaptations of Comics, casting choices – who he originally wanted and who ended up in the film, censorship and his thoughts on the version of this film that was released theatrically. All of the extras content from Blue Underground’s 2003 DVD release has been carried over for this release. Overall another strong BluRay release from Blue Underground.