Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 29th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, October 21st, 1953
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Writers: Michelangelo Antonioni, Giorgio Bassani, Suso Cecchi d’Amico, Diego Fabbri, Roger Nimier, Turi Vasile
Cast: Franco Interlenghi, Anna-Maria Ferrero, Eduardo Ciannelli, Evi Maltagliati, Umberto Spadaro, Peter Reynolds, David Farrar, Patrick Barr, Fay Compton, Raymond Lovell, Françoise Arnoul, Jean-Pierre Mocky, Etchika Choureau, Henri Poirier, Albert Michel
BluRay released: July 8th, 2014
Approximate running times: 114 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame / 1080 Progressive / VC-1 Video
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Italian, DTS-HD Mono French / Italian / English
BluRay Release: Raro Video
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $34.95
The Vanquished is a trio of tales that revolve around youth indiscretions that all end in tragedy. Each of the three tales take place in a different country: France, Italy, and England.
The first story (French) revolves around a group of teenage friends, who lure a friend to a secluded place to kill him. Their motives for killing him are purely financial, and the story’s idyllic set up perfectly offsets it’s bittersweet resolution.
The second story (Italian) centers around a young man who has become involved with a smuggling organization. This episode’s main twist revolves around the fact that no one that is close to this young man has any clue what he has been doing when he goes out every night. One evening he narrowly escapes capture by the police. To complicate matters further, his parents contact the police when he doesn’t return home after being out all night.
Story three (English) revolves around a young man who finds a murdered woman’s body in the park. Naturally he exploits his find for all it is worth, so he sells his story to a newspaper. Not satisfied with the minimal attention he gains from this brief moment in the spotlight, he then ups the ante and reveals more information about the dead woman. This segment foreshadows themes that Michelangelo Antonioni would latter explore in Blow-Up.
Though these three stories are tied together via similar themes, they all stand up well on their own, with the English segment being the strongest of the three. The French segment is not far behind, but the Italian segment faced severe censorship and alterations from Michelangelo Antonioni’s original vision.
When compared to what was yet to come from Michelangelo Antonioni as a filmmaker, the three stories which make up The Vanquished are rather conventional and at times lack the polish of his more renowned films. That being said, fans of Michelangelo Antonioni should get the most mileage out of this film, while newbies should check out his more well known films like L’Avventura, Blow-Up and The Passenger, before probing deeper into his filmography.
I Vinti comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive that retains this films original aspect ratio. Before the film starts there is a disclaimer that mentions that for this transfer three different sources were used. The good news, print damage is minimal, contrast and black levels look very good throughout. Now the now so good news, just like there DVD release which had issues with edge enhancement. This new release appears to suffer from some of these same issues as there is most definitely some digital manipulation going on. Grain structure is nonexistent and this also takes away from the overall clarity of the image.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD Mono mix in Italian and a DTS-HD Mono mix in French, Italian and English. Quality wise both of these lossless audio mixes are slight upgrades form their DVD counterpart. With the area that benefits the most from these new audio tracks are the ambient areas of the soundtrack. Dialog always comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced throughout. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
All of the extras expect for two items have been carried over from Raro Video’s DVD release and those two items are a text based biography and filmography for Michelangelo Antonioni. Extras included with this Blu-Ray include two interviews, the first one with actor Franco Interlenghi (10 minutes 51 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in Italian with English subtitles) and the second one with screenwriter / producer Turi Vasile (13 minutes 25 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in Italian with English subtitles), the uncut version of the Italian episode that was presented at the 1953 Venice film festival (30 minutes 5 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in Italian with English subtitles) and a short film also directed by Michelangelo Antonioni titled ‘Tentato Suicidio – Attempted Suicide’ (22 minutes 53 seconds – 1.33:1 full frame, in Italian with English subtitles). Franco Interlenghi discusses how he got involved in this project and Turi Vasile discusses some of the censorship that this film encountered. The short film included with this release is one of six segments that make up the 1953 film L’Amore In Citta (Love in the City). Rounding out the extras is a eight page booklet with an essay about the film and a filmography for Michelangelo Antonioni. Overall I Vinti makes its Blu-ray debut with a lackluster transfer that fails to take full advantage of this format.