Written by: George Pacheco on June 14th, 2015
Theatrical Release Dates: Italy, February 9th, 1942
Director: Alessandro Blasetti
Writer: Sam Benelli, Alessandro Blasetti
Cast: Amedeo Nazzari, Clara Calamai, Osvaldo Valenti
DVD Release Date: May 12th, 2015
Approximate Running Time: 82 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: One Seven Movies
Region Encoding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
The people behind One Seven Movies have become known, among other things, for their tendency to cull the archives of obscure Italian exploitation films when it comes to their DVD releases. This latest presentation from One Seven is a bit of curveball, then, in the fact that La Cena delle Beffe, here re-titled The Jester’s Supper, is a rather classy adaptation of an Italian stage play, first released to the cinema back in 1942.
Indeed, this is actually a welcome change of pace for One Seven, as The Jester’s Supper delivers a simple yet effective tale of revenge within its tight eighty minute run time. The film is directed with skill by Alessandro Blasetti, and boasts strong performances and excellent cinematography, with a particular eye for shadow, composition and camera movement. It’s a gorgeous black and white period piece which moves along at a brisk pace with memorable characters and an easy to digest story.
The plot is basic, dealing with a persecuted man named Giannetto who concocts an elaborate scheme of revenge upon his aristocratic tormentors, before himself falling victim to his own failings and obsessions. There are no heroes or villains here in Blasetti’s film, each character possessing his or her own flaws which ultimately contribute to the Shakespearean tragedy which is The Jester Supper.
It should also be mentioned the future Deep Red star Clara Calamai appears here in a femme fatale role as the beautiful yet capricious Ginevra, whose brief nude scene early on the film much have been the talk of the town back in 1942 Italy. Fans of One Seven’s DVD output may be put off by the age and concept of this character drama, but any student of Italian cinema would be well advised to check out this disc, as The Jester’s Supper surpasses expectations in almost every respect.
This region free DVD One Seven Movies is presented in a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio, framing wise the image never looks cramped. The print quality is a similar story, with a little dirt and debris once in a while, but nothing too over the top to impede with any enjoyment of the picture.
The English subtitles are better than average for a One Seven release, and don’t appear to have any disastrous spelling errors or awkward diction, although there are a few instances of anachronisms which could’ve been better translated. Extras here only include a lowly photo gallery, making this a barebones but serviceable release from One Seven Movies, given the age and condition of this film.