Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 1st, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1971
Director: Maurizio Lucidi
Writers: Augusto Caminito, Fulvio Gicca Palli, Aldo Lado, Anthony La Penna, Maurizio Lucidi, Antonio Troiso
Cast: Tomas Milian, Pierre Clémenti, Katia Christine, Luigi Casellato, Marisa Bartoli, Ottavio Alessi, Alessandra Cardini, Enzo Tarascio, Carla Mancini, Bruno Boschetti
DVD released: November 3rd, 2008
Approximate running time: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Shameless Films
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £12.99
Synopsis: Fate brings together two strangers who agree to exchange murders and when one of the two strangers backs out of the agreement the plan starts to unravel.
If the plot for The Designated Victim sounds familiar that is because is liberally borrows from the Alfred Hitchcock film Strangers on a Train which was adapted from a novel written by Patricia Highsmith. While there are many similarities to Strangers on a Train there is enough differences in The Designated Victim like the film’s ending. Also the only has one murder is The Designated Victim which is committed off camera and only the aftermath is shown. The Designated Victim is directed with a tremendous amount of style. This film’s greatest asset is the scenic Venice locations.
The most memorable moment in the film is a scene when Stephan is in his office trying to forge his wife’s signature. Matteo who has just been savagely beaten by his brother shows up unannounced. Stephan help’s clean Matteo’s wounds thus creating an un-forgeable bound between the two. The plot is flawlessly paced to give each new revelation its maximum effect.
The Designated Victim features a superb cast. Pierre Clémenti is cast in the role of Count Matteo Tiepolo an enigmatic persona who slowly seduces Tomas Milian’s character Stefano. Pierre Clémenti is most known for his work with Bernardo Bertolucci on films like Partner and The Conformist. It is refreshing to see Tomas Milan who is known for portraying larger than life persona’s in a more passive role. Besides the well rounded cast and picturesque photography one must not overlook the pitch perfect score from composer Luis Enríquez Bacalov. Ultimately The Designated Victim is a criminally underrated Italian thriller that deserves to be seen by a wider audience.
Shameless Films for this DVD release have used to sources for their fan edited of the film. The bulk of the film is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen while a handful of scenes are in a letterboxed widescreen. The extra scenes that are presented in a letterboxed widescreen come from a worn VHS source. The rest of the transfer fares well with good colors and details look crisp throughout. The jumping from the anamorphic source to these letterboxed moments are not subtitle.
This release comes with two audio options English and Italian. Both are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. The English audio mix sounds clean, clear and evenly balanced. The Italian audio mix also fares well with some minor instances of background noise. Removable English subtitles have been included.
Extras for this release include trailers for The Designated Victim, Who Saw Her Die, Strip Nude for Your Killer, Oasis of Fear, The Nighttrain Murders, The New York Ripper and Phantom of Death. Other extras include a picture gallery (24 images) and nine deleted scenes. The main extra is an informative fact track with Stephan Novak. Also included with this release is a reversible covert art that includes the film’s original poster art. Overall Shameless Films gives The Designated Victim a fully loaded DVD release that is highlighted by Stephan Novak’s fact track.