Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 8th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1971
Director: Enzo G. Castellari
Writers: Leo Anchóriz, Tito Carpi, Enzo G. Castellari
Cast: Giovanna Ralli, Frank Wolff, Fernando Rey, Julián Mateos, Karin Schubert, Leonardo Scavino, Franco Marletta, Gianni Garko
DVD released: April 28th, 2009
Approximate running time: 88 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Redemption Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Cold Eyes of Fear was co-written and directed by Enzo G. Castellari, whose other notable films Street Law, High Crime, The Heroin Busters, The Big Racket and The Inglorious Bastards. The screenplay for Cold Eyes of Fear was co-written by Leo Anchóriz and Tito Carpi. Outside of a few screenwriting credits Leo Anchóriz was acted in several films like Sandokan the Great, The Pirates of Malaysia, Seven Guns for the MacGregors, 7 Women for the MacGregors and A Bullet for Sandoval. Tito Carpi was a prolific screenwriter whose diverse screenwriting credits include Any Gun Can Play, Eagles over London, Seven Murders for Scotland Yard, A Fistful of Lead, Ubalda, All Naked and Warm, Giovannona Long-Thigh, Jungle Holocaust, The Shark Hunter and The New Barbarians: Warriors of the Wasteland.
Despite only using a handful of locations Cold Eyes of Fear, features some stylish imagery. The cinematographer on Cold Eyes of Fear was Antonio L. Ballesteros, whose other notable films include The Colossus of Rhodes and The Vampires’ Night Orgy. The film’s opening sequence is a superb piece of misdirection that fits perfectly in with the other giallo’s from this era. After this opening sequence the film shifts away from the elements one would normal expect from a giallo as the plot verges into a tense character drama about revenge. The bulk of the film takes place at the residence of a Judge who one of the criminals who have Kidnap his nephew and the date he has brought home. There are no onscreen murders until the films finale. The plot moves along nicely with the conflict between the criminals and their prisoners driving the story.
The most prominent name in the cast is Fernando Rey (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie) who is cast in the role of the judge who is the target of the criminals’ revenge. Despite only being in a handful of scenes his character looms large throughout the film. Giovanna Ralli is cast in the role of the seductive lady of the night named Anna. Some of Giovanna Ralli’s other notable films include The Mercenary and What Have They Done to Your Daughters? Other notable cast members include Gianni Garko (The Psychic), Julian Mateos (The Hellbenders), Frank Wolff (The Great Silence, Once Upon a Time in the West) and a brief cameo like role from Karin Schubert who provides the films only moment of T&A. The film’s score was composed by Ennio Morricone, who provides work man like score that is reminiscent at times of his score for The Bird with the Crystal plumage. Ultimately despite its lack of bloodshed and salacious activity Cold Eyes of Fear is an engaging and riveting story that cleverly plays against the genres typical conventions.
Redemption Films presents Cold Eyes of Fear in a 1.85:1 letterboxed widescreen. This transfer has not been flagged for progressive play back. For a non anamorphic and interlaced transfer, this transfer does fare well in other areas as colors, flesh tones and black levels all fare well. Also the source material used for this transfer is in good shape with only a few minor instances of print damage.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio has noticeable background noise throughout that varies in degree and there are also distortion issues most noticeable when the score is playing in the background. The audio comes off sounding to tiny and I found myself having to adjust the volume while watching to hear the dialog.
Extras for this release include an English language trailer for the film (3 minutes 9 seconds) and a brief stills gallery (5 images). Also included with this release are trailers for other Redemption titles that are also available on DVD. Redemption Films had previously released Cold Eyes of Fear on DVD back in 1998 and the audio / video presentation appears to be a direct port of that previous release. Overall Redemption Films re-release of Cold Eyes of Fear is a subpar release that leaves plenty of room for improvement.