Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 13th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1974
Director: Luigi Comencini
Writers: Luigi Comencini, Ugo Pirro
Cast: Giuliano Gemma, Stefania Sandrelli, Brizio Montinaro, Renato Scarpa, Cesira Abbiati, Rina Franchetti, Emilio Bonucci
DVD released: November 8th, 2011
Approximate running time: 101 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian, Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Raro Video
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: Star crossed lovers from opposing sides of the track, one from northern Italy and the other from southern Italy, are faced with insurmountable obstacles that put a strain on their relationship.
Crime of Love (Delitto d’amore) was co-written and directed by Luigi Comencini, who’s other notable films include Bread, Love and Dreams, The Window to Luna Park, Bebo’s Girl and The Scopone Game. The screenplay for Crime of Love (Delitto d’amore) was co-written by Ugo Pirro, who’s other notable credits as a screenwriter include Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion and The Garden of the Finzi-Continis. The cinematographer on Crime of Love (Delitto d’amore) was Luigi Kuveiller, who’s other standout films as a cinematographer include Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein, Andy Warhol’s Dracula, The Five Days of Milan, Deep Red and The New York Ripper. The score for Crime of Love (Delitto d’amore) was composed by Carlo Rustichelli, who is most known for his collaborations with Mario Bava (The Whip and the Body, Blood and Black Lace and Kill Baby, Kill).Though widely regarded as one of Luigi Comencini finer moments as a filmmaker (the film was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 1974 Cannes film festival), Crime of Love (Delitto d’amore) is challenging love story that is hell bent on defying this genres most durable clichés. And there is something that can be said for a film that goes against the grain. The events which unfold in this are not a easy path to travel, since the film’s two protagonists Nullo and Carmela are far the most sympathetic characters to ever grace the silver screen. To further complicate the deficiencies of these two protagonists, is the fact that the majority of their screen time together is often underwhelming. With only the film’s final act serving up anything that resonates with any potency. Unfortunately by the time that their fates have been set in tone, it too little, too late by then.
If anything that love story angle can be seen as window dressing for what starts off as a secondary story line, the factory at which Nullo and Carmela puts its workers in danger because of the materials they work with. And it is this part of the story for which this film leaves its strongest impression. Another interesting angle that is explored in great depth, is the divide between those who lived in northern and southern parts of Italy at that moment in time. And while such regionalizing of a story, can limit its appeal outside of any films native country. It is not that greatly affected in the story at hand, since no matter where you come from in the world, it is easy to identify with such divisions of social classes.
Being that this is a film that is anchored by its protagonists, it should not come as surprise that the success of the story at hand, rests squarely on the shoulders of its two leading actors, Giuliano Gemma (The Desert of the Tartars, Tenebrae) in the role of Nullo and Stefania Sandrelli (Divorce Italian Style, The Conformist) in the role of Carmela. Of the two performances, Giuliano Gemma’s is easily the weaker of the two, as he comes off as wooden and often lacks credibility during more emotional driven moments. And while Stefania Sandrelli is not without its own short comings, she stills manages to sell her role when it is most important, most notably the films final act.
Raro Video presents Crime of Love (Delitto d’amore) in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s intended aspect ratio. Like many of their previous North American DVD releases, this new DVD release is of a title that they previously released on DVD in Italy. And just like the majority of those aforementioned North American releases, this release has been given a brand new high definition transfer. Colors look nicely saturated and accurate, black levels fare well and details generally look crisp. There are no problems with compression and the sourced used is in exemplary shape. It should be noted that there are a handful of moments in which edge enhancement in more pronounced, then it looks for the bulk of the transfer.
This release comes with two audio options, a Dolby Digital Mono mix in Italian and a Dolby Digital Mono mix in English. Outside of some very mild background noise that is present on the Italian audio mix, there are really no major issues with either of these audio mixes. Dialog always comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced on both audio mixes. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 56 seconds – letterboxed widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles) and a interview with film historian Adrian Apra (12 minutes 9 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Italian with English subtitles), who gives a well rounded view of Luigi Comencini’s cinematic output. He also gives a in-depth and insightful analytical breakdown of Crime of Love (Delitto d’amore). Also included with this release is slip cover that has different image, then the one used for the front cover art on the DVD and a twenty page collectable booklet that contains comments from filmmaker Marco Ferreri and Luigi Comencini about Crime of Love (Delitto d’amore), the booklet also has a interview with Luigi Comencini who discusses in great various aspects of this production, a pair of essays about the film, a text piece about the film’s score and Luigi Comencini’s filmography. Overals Crime of Love (Delitto d’amore) gets a good DVD release from Raro Video.