Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 1st, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1977
Director: Mauro Bolognini
Writers: Sergio Amidei, Nicola Badalucco, Angelo Dellagiacoma, Mario Monicelli, Alberto Piferi, Luciano Vincenzoni
Cast: Shelley Winters, Max von Sydow, Renato Pozzetto, Alberto Lionello, Laura Antonelli, Mario Scaccia, Franco Branciaroli, Milena Vukotic, Rita Tushingham, Adriana Asti
BluRay released: November 15th, 2016
Approximate running times: 112 Minutes
Aspect Ratios: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Italian
BluRay Release: Twilight Time
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $24.95
Gran Bollito was directed by Mauro Bolognini who’s other notable films include, The Big Night, Bell’ Antonio, He and She and The Inheritance. Key collaborators on Gran Bollito include, screenwriter Mario Monicelli (Big Deal on Madonna Street, Casanova 70) and cinematographer Armando Nannuzzi (Wake up and Kill, The Damned). This film is based on the real life events of Leonarda Cianciulli, the Italian serial killer best known as the “Soap-Maker of Correggio”.
Though this film is based on real life events. The way in which this film tells its story is far removed from reality. And is one has to define this film by pigeonholing it into one specific genre, then this film would be best summed up as a fantasy film. Other genres that filter their way into this melting pot of genres include, the thriller and comedy genres.
The narrative is well constructed, albeit at times predictable due to the events which occur being based on real life events. Fortunately, the way in which said events are told and depicted ensure that there is never a dull moment. Another strength of this film is how it is able to inject humor into such bleak subject matter and this extends to moments of bloodletting which are sufficiently gory.
Performance wise the entire cast are all great in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance being Shelly Winters (The Night of the Hunter, Lolita) in the role of Lea, this film protagonist. She delivers a pitch perfect performance of a woman who has lost her sanity.
Other notable performances include, Laura Antonelli (Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs, Venus in Furs) in the role of Sandra, she is Lea’s son’s girlfriend and Max von Sydow (The Virgin Spring, Hour of the Wolf) in the role of Lisa Carpi and after this initial character is murder, he later on in the film reappears as another character named Carabinieri marshal. Several of the male cast members portray women in the film, including the legendary Max von Sydow!
Gran Bollito comes on a 50 GB dual layer (29.2 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This transfer does a great job retaining this film’s intended soft focus look. Colors and flesh tones look accurate and black levels remain strong throughout. Grain looks healthy and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in Italian and included with this release are removable English subtitles. There audio sounds clean, clear and balanced throughout. This is a dialog driven film and range wise though things tend to sound rather limited, the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented.
Extras for this release include, an option to view the Twilight Time catalog, an eight page booklet with an essay about the film written by Julie Kirgo, a trailer for the film (3 minutes 35 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) and an audio commentary with film historians Derek Botelho and David Del Valle.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, The real-life events that inspired the film, the cast & why the majority of the male cast are drag, how the humor in this film does not translate well for non-Italian viewers, director Mauro Bolognini and their thoughts about the film.
Overall Gran Bollito gets a first-rate release from Twilight Time.
Note: This Blu-Ray release is a limited-edition release of 3,000 copies.