Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 25th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, January 9th, 1968
Director: Giulio Questi
Writers: Franco Arcalli, Giulio Questi
Cast: Gina Lollobrigida, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Ewa Aulin, Jean Sobieski
DVD released: July 2nd, 2003
Approximate running time: 87 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Italian
DVD Release: King Records
Region Coding: Region 2 NTSC
Retail Price: $42.95
Synopsis: Mark (Jean-Louis Trintignant) only married his wife Anna (Gina Lollobrigida) because of her wealth. They run a chicken farm between the two of them. Mark has been having several affairs including one with Gabriella (Ewa Aulin) Anna’s cousin. Things start to heat up when Gabriella moves in with Mark and Anna. Gabriella and mark continue their affair and plot Anna’s death. Gabriella is also involved with Mondaini (Jean Sobieski) who has dirt on Mark that the two plan to use against him. At the chicken farm they have created a chicken without a head or wings which repulses mark as he promptly kills the beast. Anna receives a letter informing her of her husbands’ affairs and with Gabriella’s help they plot to get him out of the picture. The remainder of the film is filled with double and triple crosses.
Death Laid an Egg is Giulio Questi’s only foray into the wonderful world of giallo films and just like Django, Kill… If You Live, Shoot! Questi’s only entry in the spaghetti western genre his films are full of surrealism that often overshadows actors’ performances. Giulio Questi only directed a handful of films most of them were made between the late 1950’s and early 1970’s. Giulio Questi had a small role as Don Giulio in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce vita. Jean-Louis Trintignant in the late 1960’s and 1970’s worked with some of Italy’s best director’s starring in films like, So Sweet So Perverse, The Great Silence and The Conformist.
Giulio Questi has a knack for making dream like images that mesmerize the viewer like one of Stendhal’s paintings. His compositions are rich in detail and beneath his chaotic story telling is a deeper meaning about hidden psychosis and depths one will go to if desperate enough. Bruno Maderna’s score perfectly captures the films paranoia atmosphere with its dissonant tones and bizarre arrangements. Death Laid an Egg is blessed with a solid cast Gina Lollobrigida, Ewa Aulin, Jean Sobieski and especially Jean-Louis Trintignant sympathetic portrayal of Mark. The most disturbing moment in the film has to be when Mark kills the mutated chickens. Death Laid an Egg has all the right elements we have come to expect when watching a giallo, still like the other Giulio Questi film that I have seen Django, Kill… If You Live, Shoot.
King Records presents Death Laid an Egg in a 1:85:1 non-anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. The print used is in very good shape as the colors are always strong and the flesh tones look natural. The black levels are solid and grain is kept to a minimum. This the best looking transfer that I have seen so far from King Records.
This DVD offers two audio choices English and Italian Dolby Digital Mono with optional Japanese subtitles. I listened to the English track since that is my native language which is free of any hiss or distortion. The dialog is clear and easy to hear. Extras include the films original trailer and a poster gallery.
Too bad King Records didn’t put as much effort into the extras for this release as they did for the A/V which is by far and away the best this film has ever looked on home video. Last year Blue Underground announced that they would be including Death Laid an Egg in their upcoming Giallo collection 2. In recent months as the release continues to get pushed back it has become uncertain now if they will include Death Laid an egg in their Giallo collection. If you love Giallo’s Death laid an Egg has all the elements we have come to expect and for the foreseeable future King Records DVD looks like it is the only option we have if you want to see or own this title.