Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 27th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1934
Director: Nunzio Malasomma
Writer: Tomaso Smith
Cast: Dria Paola, Anna Magnani, Corrado Racca, Dino Di Luca il notaio
DVD released: November 18th, 2008
Approximate running time: 69 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Mya Communication
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: A young woman named Beatrice loses her sight after witnessing the death of her mother. Unable to see Beatrice is unable to identify her mothers’ killer. The police arrest a man who they believe is the murderer. Did they get the right man or is the killer still lurking in the shadows? Years later a family friend introduces Beatrice to a renowned Doctor who specializes in restoring sight. Will Beatrice regain her sight and identify her mothers’ killer or will someone make sure that she never sees again?
The plot for The Blind Woman of Sorrento is adapted from a novel written by Italian author, playwright and journalist Francesco Mastriani in 1852. Besides Nunzio Malasomma’s 1934 theatrical adaptation, there have been three other films on Francesco Mastriani’s The Blind Woman of Sorrento. The most recent film adaption was directed by Nick Nostro (Superargo Versus Diabolicus) in 1963. Two years after its initial release in Italy, The Blind Woman of Sorrento was released in the U.S. in 1936.
The plot for The Blind Woman of Sorrento unfolds like a Hitchcock styled thriller. The plot builds around Beatrice’s disability (her blindness) and the killers’ fear that she may one day regain her vision thus ending the killers’ Anonymity. There are a few twists and turns along the way which all lead to a predictable ending. The film is paced just right with no scene feeling overlong or unnecessary.
Visually this period era drama is filled with lavish sets and costumes. The black & white cinematography is beautifully realized. The film’s most memorable moment is the scene where Beatrice’s bandages come off after her operation.
The cast features Anna Magnani in one of her first starring roles. She is most remembered for her performance as the title character in Mamma Roma. Dria Paola is cast in the pivotal role of Beatrice. Without a doubt she is this film’s one shining star. She does a remarkable and convincing job playing a blind woman. Ultimately, The Blind Woman of Sorrento is a well made thriller that fully exploits its interesting premise.
MYA Communication presents The Blind Woman of Sorrento in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. At the beginning of the DVD there is a disclaimer about the audio/video presentation for this film which explains that every attempt was made to clean up the source material used for this transfer. The quality of the transfer fares well with good contrast and solid black levels throughout. The print damage which is present in this transfer is never intrusive or excessive. This transfer has also been flagged for progressive playback.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in Italian and removable English subtitles have been included. The audio has some minor distortion issues with most of the defects kept in check. Even though the audio comes off as sounding flat the audio is more than adequate.
Considering the age (74 years) and rarity of this film it is not surprising that there is no extra content. Overall The Blind Woman of Sorrento gets a superb release from MYA Communication that far exceeded my expectations.