Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 17th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1975
Director: Dario Argento
Writers: Dario Argento, Bernardino Zapponi
Cast: David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia, Macha Méril, Eros Pagni, Giuliana Calandra, Piero Mazzinghi, Glauco Mauri, Clara Calamai, Aldo Bonamano, Liana Del Balzo, Nicoletta Elmi
BluRay released: January 25th, 2016
Approximate running times: 126 minutes (Director’s Cut), 105 minutes (International Theatrical Cut)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Italian, Dolby Digital Mono Italian, Dolby Digital Mono English / Italian (Director’s Cut), Dolby Digital Mono English (International Theatrical Cut)
Subtitles: English (Director’s Cut, International Theatrical Cut)
BluRay Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region A,B
Retail Price: OOP
Deep Red was co-written and directed by Dario Argento, a filmmaker who is often referred to as the Italian Alfred Hitchcock. And just like the aforementioned Alfred Hitchcock, Dario Argento has spent the bulk of his career working primarily with in thriller (giallo) genre. In the early 1970’s Dario Argento quickly rose to prominence after directing a trio of thriller’s known as the animal trilogy (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, The Cat O’ Nine Tails, Four Flies on Grey Velvet). Having directed three films in the span of two years. Dario Argento would over the next few years pursue other avenues like producing a thriller anthology series Door into Darkness and a historical comedy / drama hybrid Five Days in Milan. Unfortunately this change of direction was not what he was looking for and Five Days in Milan performed poorly at the box office. After an attempt to adapt Frankenstein. Dario Argento would return to the genre that had made him a household with the 1975 film Deep Red.
The plot for Deep Red like Dario Argento’s previous thrillers revolves around an amateur sleuth, who becomes involved in the investigation after witnessing the original crime which sets everything in motion. And just like those aforementioned thrillers Deep Red also has a companion who aides the protagonists in their investigations. The relationship between the film’s protagonist a musician named Marcus Dailey and a reporter named Gianna Brezzi is arguably the most enduring pairing to ever appear in a Dario Argento film. Cast in the role of Marcus Dailey is a British actor named David Hemmings, who rose to prominence after staring in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-up. It should also come as no surprise the character and his journey is Deep Red bears many striking similarities to the character he portrayed in Blow-up. Cast opposite David Hemmings is an Italian actress named Daria Nicolodi, who would play an important role in the evolution of Dario Argento as a filmmaker. They would begin a relationship while working on Deep Red that would culminate while working on Phenomena.
The red herring is an integral component to the thriller genre. And if done poorly it could quickly tip the hat to who the true perpetrator is. Thankfully Deep Red is a meticulously laid out murder mystery that does not play its hand before its most optimal moment. And when the moment of true finally arrives retracing the who’s and the why’s are equally satisfying. Another area that Deep Red excels are its kill sequences. Which serve as so much more than your random act of violence. In fact there are several instances in which clues to the killers’ identity are left at the scene of the crime.
Visually Dario Argento proves once again that he is not interested in retreading where he has been. And that he is always more than willing to experiment visually as a filmmaker. When talking about the visuals for Deep Red one must not overlook cinematographer Luigi Kuveiller’s contributions. He had previously worked with Dario Argento on Five Days in Milan. Some of his notable films as a cinematographer include Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, Flesh for Frankenstein and The New York Ripper. Another key collaborator on Deep Red was the progressive rock band Goblin, who would go onto to work with Dario Argento of several other films most notably Suspiria. The score for Deep Red was co-written by Giorgio Gaslini, who’s other notable scores include So Sweet, So Dead, Five Days in Milan and the Italian T.V. series Door Into Darkness. As important as the visuals and as good as the performances are, the real backbone of this film is its driving score. With the standout musical motif being a children’s song that the killer uses as a calling card.
Deep Red comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Also included with this release is a second BluRay disc which contains the International Theatrical Cut of Deep Red on a single layer 25 GB BluRay. And for this release both versions of the films have been given brand new 4k transfers that were sourced from the original Techniscope negative and a vintage interpositive was also used for these brand new transfers. Needless to say the end result is without a doubt the best looking transfers that any Dario Argento film has received to date.
The Director’s Cut comes with three audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1in Italian, a Dolby Digital mono mix in Italian and Dolby Digital mono mix in English and Italian. Also included with this release are subtitles the dialog in Italian for the English / Italian hybrid mono mix and removable English subtitles for the two Italian language tracks. And the International Theatrical Cut comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English and removable English SDH subtitles have been included for this audio mix. This release comes with a wide variety of audio options all of which are in superb shape. There are no issues with distortion, background noise or hiss and dialog always comes though clearly. Other areas where the audio excels is its range and depth which ensure that the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented and that the film’s score has just the right amount of oomph!
Extras for this release are spread over three discs.
Extras on disc one include, a brief intro before the film with composer Claudio Simonetti, the Italian trailer for the film (1 minute 46 seconds), ‘Profondo Giallo’ a visual essay by Michael Mackenzie that offers an in-depth look at Dario Argento’s early films and the road to Deep Red (32 minutes 57 seconds), four featurettes’ – ‘Lady in Red – Daria Nicolodi Remembers Profondo Rosso’ (20 minutes 39 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), ‘Music to Murder For! – Claudio Simonetti on Deep Red’ (15 minutes 26 seconds, in English), ‘Rosso Recollections – Dario Argento’s Deep Genius’ (13 minutes 59 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) ‘Rosso from Celluloid to Shop’ (14 minutes 46 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) and an audio commentary with Dario Argento expert Thomas Rostock.
Topics discussed in the featurette with Daria Nicolodi include, her thoughts on Dario Argento’s Animal trilogy, how Argento gave her a drastic makeover for the character she portrayed in Deep Red, working with David Hemmings, the film’s score, arts influence on Deed Red and Argento as a filmmaker and how the character she portrayed in Deep Red was her favorite role as an actress.
Topics discussed in the featurette with Claudio Simonetti include, Goblin’s first encounter with Dario Argento and collaborating on Deep Red’s score with Dario Argento.
The segment titled ‘Rosso from Celluloid to Shop’ is essentially Luigi Cozzi giving a tour of his store Profondo Rosso.
The audio commentary with Thomas Rostock is a informative and at times insightful track.
Extras on disc two include, the US Theatrical Trailer (2 minutes 41 seconds) and Deep Red – International Theatrical Cut (104 minutes 42 seconds –1080 Progressive Widescreen, in English with English SDH subtitles).
Extras on disc three include 28-track CD featuring the entire Deep Red film score from Italian progressive rock band Goblin and composer Giorgio Gaslini.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art option, 6 x postcard-sized lobby card reproductions, a double-sided fold-out poster featuring two original artworks and a thirty-two-page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled ‘Dario Argento’s Deep Red’ written by Alan Jones, an essay titled ‘Deep Red the Quintessential Giallo’ written by Mikel J. Koven, ‘Profondo Rosso: The Complete Original Soundtrack Recording’ the track listing for the CD that is included with this release and information about the restorations. All around there is not a single area where this release does not excel, a rock solid audio / video presentation, wealth of extras and very cool limited edition packaging. Overall Arrow Video once again deliverers another exceptional release that is easily stands tall as Deep Red’s best home video release to date, highly recommended.