Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 3rd, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: 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
DVD released: March 29th, 2011
Approximate running time: 114 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Raro Video
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.98
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.
Raro Video Presents The Vanquished in a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. Outside of some very mild instances of print / source damage. The bulk of this transfer looks very good. Contrast and black levels look consistently good throughout. There are no problems with compression and edge enhancement, while present is it never too intrusive.
This release comes with two audio options, a Dolby Digital Mono that presents each episode in their intended languages, French, Italian and English. The other audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix that presents the entire films in Italian. Background noise is kept to a minimum and dialog is clear throughout. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release include a text based biography and filmography for Michelangelo Antonioni, two interviews, actor Franco Interlenghi (10 minutes 51 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Italian with English subtitles) and screenwriter / producer Turi Vasile (13 minutes 25 seconds – 4:3 full frame, 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 – 4:3 full frame, 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 The Vanquished gets a strong DVD release from Raro Video.