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Cricket, The 
Written by: on December 7th, 2009

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1980
Director: Alberto Lattuada
Writers: Marina Di Leo, Franco Ferrini, Alberto Lattuada, Natale Prinetto
Cast: Anthony Franciosa, Virna Lisi, Renato Salvatori, Clio Goldsmith, Barbara De Rossi, Antonio Cantafora, Mario Maranzana, Riccardo Garrone, Imelde Marani, Corrado Olmi, Loris Bazzocchi, Ettore Mattia, Aristide Caporale, Nazzareno Natale, Antonello Fassari

DVD released: January 12th, 2010
Approximate running time: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Mya Communication
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95

At the center of this films plot is a story about three women, a mother, her daughter and a friend of the mothers’. It is established early on that these women are fiercely competitive when it comes to being the center of attention, especially with men. This sets in motion a story that is deeply rooted in jealously. As the story progresses the mounting jealously between these women is the driving force behind their deteriorating metal stability, which was already fragile from previous relationships from their pasts which also fell apart.

The Cricket was co-written and directed by Alberto Lattuada. He also directed the comedy / crime hybrid Mafioso and co-directed with Federico Fellini, Variety Lights. The opening moments in The Cricket lay the foundation for what appears to be your typical Italian sex comedy. Then slowly things start to evolve into a bleaker story in which does not showcase any of the characters sympathetically. The one thing that makes this drastic shift in the tone of the film work as well as it does is that all of characters back-stories and motivations are given just enough time to resonate within the evolving story at hand.

The most surprising aspect of this film was the performances of its three female leads Virna Lisi (Casanova ’70), in the role of the mother who is also a has been night club singer, Barbara De Rossi, in the role of the daughter who desperately wants her mother’s affection and Clio Goldsmith in the role of the mother’s friend, she is referred to in the film by the name ‘The Cricket’. These three characters offer up an ample amount of sex appeal and when they want something they are not above offering up their bodies as incentive. Another performance of note is Anthony Franciosa (Tenebre), in the role of Annibale the man who is an integral to the three main women characters lives. Ultimately The Cricket is a satisfying mix melodrama and erotica, that all leads up to an unforgettable conclusion.

The DVD:

The Cricket is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that frames the image in a 1.77:1 aspect ratio. While I am not sure what this film’s intended aspect ratio, the opening credits which appear tightly framed do suggest that maybe this film ratio is closer to 1.66:1, than the 1.77:1 aspect ratio is it presented in. Aspect ratio’s aside the overall framing of the image after the opening credits looks correct as everything that should be in frame is. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. Judging by softness / haziness of the image, this transfer does not look like it was sourced from a film print. While there is print damage which varies in degree throughout, it is never excessive. Colors, flesh tones and black levels generally look good, just never great.

This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in Italian and removable Italian subtitles have been provided. The subtitles are easy to read and follow. The spelling and grammatical errors that have occurred on previous Mya Communication DVD release have been kept in check with this release as I only spotted one misspelled word. There is noticeable background noise that varies in degree throughout. Also the overall range of this audio mix is rather limited.

Extras for this release include an image gallery with stills and posters. Overall The Cricket gets an average DVD release from Mya Communication.

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