Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 4th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1971
Director: Duccio Tessari
Writers: Gianfranco Clerici, Duccio Tessari
Cast: Helmut Berger, Giancarlo Sbragia, Ida Galli, Silvano Tranquilli, Wendy D’Olive, Günther Stoll, Carole André
BluRay released: August 22nd, 2016 (UK) / August 23rd, 2016 (USA)
Approximate running time: 99 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: LPCM Mono English, LPCM Mono Italian
Subtitles: English SDH, English (Italian Language)
BluRay Release: Arrow Video USA
Region Coding: Region A,B / Region 1,2 NTSC
Retail Price: $39.95 (USA) / £15.99 (UK)
Synopsis: When a young woman is murder in the park, law enforcement collects an overwhelming amount of evidence that leads to them to their suspect. On trial and now in custody, two witnesses to the original girl’s death are also murdered. Do the police have the right man, does he have an accomplice or is there something more sinister going on?
The Bloodstained Butterfly was co-written and directed by Duccio Tessari who’s other notable films include, The Bastard, Death Occurred Last Night and Big Guns – Tony Arzenta. Key collaborators on The Bloodstained Butterfly include, Screenwriter Gianfranco Clerici (Don’t Torture a Duckling, Cannibal Holocaust) and cinematographer Carlo Carlini (The Big Gundwown, Cry of a Prostitute) and composer Gianni Ferrio (Death Walks at Midnight).
Though there are many of the elements that one would associate with the Giallo genre, the end result is easily one of the more unique films to emerge from the Giallo genre. With one of its major divergences being that the investigation to find the killer is completed in the first act and the middle act is spent with suspected killer on trial. And by the time the final act rolls around a few more bodies turn up. Before everything coming to a head with a jaw dropping ending.
The narrative is meticulously constructed and pacing is never an issues as this film does a superb job letting each new revelation fully reach its maximum impact. Another strength of this film is its ability to keep the majority of the cast in play in regards to who the killer is. And just when it appears that the killer has been unmasked, there are a few well timed moments of misdirection are thrown in for good measure for the final act.
From a production stand point there is not a single area where this film is lacking. With one of its stronger assets being its visuals and how they play a role in the story at hand. Also for a film that has many standout moments visually, no moment stands out more than the initial murder of the young woman in the park.
Performance wise the entire cast are great in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance coming from Helmut Berger (The Damned, Conversation Piece) in the role of an accomplished concert pianist named Giorgio. Another performance of note is Giancarlo Sbragia (Equinox) in the role of Alessandro Marchi, the man on trial for murdering the woman in the park. Overall The Bloodstained Butterfly is a solid example of the Giallo from its golden age.
The Bloodstained Butterfly comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. For this release a brand new 4k transfer that created from the film’s original negative and the end results is easily the best this film has ever looked on home video. The source used is in great shape, grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in English and a LPCM mono mix in Italian. Both audio mixes are in very good shape, dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too, especially the score for the film. There are two subtitle options for this release. English SDH subtitles for the English language track and English subtitles for the Italian language track.
Extras for this release include, an optional intro before the film with actor Helmut Berger, a promotional image gallery, English and Italian language with English subtitles – trailers (3 minutes 11 seconds – both trailers), an interview with actress Lorella De Luca titled Me and Duccio (8 minutes 20 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an interview with Helmet Berger titled Mad Dog Helmet (17 minutes 31 seconds), an interview with actress Evelyn Stewart / Ida Galli titled A Butterfly Named Evelyn (54 minutes and 21 seconds), an essay about the film titled Murder in B-Flat Minor (26 minutes 51 seconds) and an audio commentary with critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman.
Topics discussed in the interview with Lorella De Luca include, her husband Duccio Tessari, his personal side and his career as a filmmaker.
The lengthy interview with Evelyn Stewart / Ida Galli is an essentially career retrospective where she discusses the majority of the films that she has appeared in. This interview also covers in get details her memories of working on The Bloodstained Butterfly.
The extra titled Murder in B-Flat Minor is comprehensive essay about the film and the cast.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, the opening credits and the significance of the music from the opening credits, how this film differs from more conventional Gaillo’s, the different versions / releases of this film, Duccio Tessari, the cast, the score, locations featured in the film and their thoughts on about the film.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art option and thirty-two-page booklet with cast & crew information, three essays’ – the first essay is titled Perversion Story: A Brief Introduction to the Italian Giallo written by James Blackford, the essay is titled Baroque and Roll: The Film Music of Gianni Ferrio written by Howard Hughes, the third essay is titled Breaking the Fourth Wall in the Bloodstained Butterfly written by Leonard Jacobs and information about the restoration. Also included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo release. Overall The Bloodstained Butterfly gets an exceptional release from Arrow Video, highly recommended.