Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 29th, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1972
Director: Sergio Martino
Writers: Adriano Bolzoni, Ernesto Gastaldi, Sauro Scavolini
Cast: Edwige Fenech, Anita Strindberg, Luigi Pistilli, Ivan RassimovDVD released: January 25, 2004.
Approximate running time: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby digital 2.0
DVD Release: Eurovista (Grey Market Release)
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli) is a writer who has a sadomasochistic relation masochist with his wife Irina (Anita Strindberg). Oliviero is having an affair with a woman at a local book store. He agrees to meet the woman at secluded place so they won’t be seen and when he doesn’t show up after a night of heavy drinking he finds out the woman had been murdered. A killer is on the loose and kills victim after victim to keep their secret at any cost. After Irina’s niece Floriana (Edwige Fenech), shows up things start to heat as she seduces her uncle and she then moves on to her sleeping with her aunt as she tries to pit them against each other with the help of her boyfriend Dario (Ivan Rassimov).
In the early 1970’s Sergio Martino directed several Gialli that were extremely successful like Torso, The Case of The Scorpions Tale, Next!, and All The Colors of The Dark. Serigo Martino for Gently Before Shes Dies would freely adapt a script from Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat. Edwige Fenech would star in Gently Before She Dies she had previously worked with Sergio Martino in two other Giallo’s Next!, and All The Colors of The Dark. This time around Edwige Fenech is the protagonist instead of the victim as she is all too often cast as in other Gialli, still in this film as in most of her films she is more then happy to disrobe. Anita Strindberg performance as the cheated wife who goes over the edge is sincere as she lays her emotions out for all to see and it is one of her best performances. Luigi Pistilli gives one of his most fearless performances of his career. Sergio Martino always the master craftsman he has an excellent cast to work which allows him to be bolder in his choices as he mixes bizzare camera angles with precise editing. The screenplay is the films weakest link it fails to bring something fresh and new to the Poe’s story. The vastly underrated composer Bruno Nicolai composes one of his most versatile score’s for Gentle Before She Dies.
Gently Before She Dies is presented in its original 1:85:1 aspect ratio unfortunately it is not anamporphic enhanced. This DVD was obviously sourced from a VHS tape and even though there is no tape defects present the picture overall is soft especially during dark or night time scenes. The colors are pretty good considering the rarity of the source the overall DVD presentation is better then most DVD that I Have seen that have been sourced from VHS.
The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono English and the track doesn’t have any source problems as the audio is clean and easy to hear. This release is basically a bare bones affair as the only extra is a photo gallery.
Overall through out all of its turns and twists Gentle Before She Dies is unique thriller that has some gory murder scenes and some sexy moments like Fenech and Strindberg’s Lesbian scene. If you can find a copy do yourself a favor and check it out, highly recommended.