Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 7th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: South Africa, 1978
Director: Christopher Rowley
Writer: Bima Stagg
Cast: Nigel Davenport, Ken Gampu, Peter Dyneley, Bima Stagg, Madala Mphahlele
DVD released: November 9th, 2010
Approximate running time: 87 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: A newspaper reporter becomes entangled in a war between vigilantes and criminals.
Death of the Snowman is soul infused crime film from South Africa. That was clearly inspired by Blaxploitation film genre. Which had already runs its course by the time this film went into production. And like so many productions from this era this film is a product of its time. With its the look of the film is rooted into late 1970’s fashion and decor.
The story revolves around a newspaper reporter, who teams up with a lieutenant. This most unlikely of pairings is in line with the anything goes feel to the story at hand. And while there are many long stretches were things tend to drag. All is not lost as there are a handful of moments that keep things from coming to a complete halt. The majority of these moments also happen to be the film’s more violent moments. In generally the action sequences come off a mediocre. The kill scenes are just about the only area where this film does not falter. The most enjoyable aspect of this film and without a doubt its greatest asset is a Caucasian hit man character, who looks like he could have been cloned from disco Icon Barry Gibb’s DNA. Trying to gauge the performances is kind of tricky since its appears that the majority of cast has been dubbed. At least the dubbing adds a level of humor to this very unusual film.
Synapse Film’s presents Death of a Snowman in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. Colors tend to fluctuate, flesh tones fare better and black levels are average at best. There are no problems with compression or edge enhancement. There is also print debris that varies in degree throughout. In all despite the limitations of the source material. This is still a more than serviceable presentation.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. There are some mild issues with background noise and distortion. Dialog comes through clearly. Range wise things are rather limited.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (3 minutes 24 seconds – anamorphic widescreen). Overall Death of a Snowman gets a good DVD release from Synapse Film’s.