Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 17th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: West Germany / Canada, 1983
Director: Paul Nicholas
Writers: Paul Nicholas, Maurice Smith
Cast: Anthony Franciosa, Sybil Danning, Isabelle Mejias
DVD released: August 2nd, 2011
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Code Red
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $22.98
Julie Darling was co-written and directed by Paul Nicholas, a filmmaker who is most remembered for directing the WIP film Chained Heat. The cinematographer on Julie Darling was Miklós Lente, who’s other notable credits as a cinematographer include The Girl in Blue, Happy Birthday to Me and Screwballs. The screenplay for Julie Darling was co-written by the film’s producer Maurice Smith, who is most known for producing the Screwball films and the similar themed sex comedies Oddballs and Recruits.
It is safe to say that there are very few, if any other thrillers quite like Julie Darling. At the heart of this film is a disturb adolescent girl, who’s has become obsessed with gaining her fathers’ affection and I am not talking in what one would mistake as a normal bid for affection.
The film’s starts off slowly as the film’s spends most of the opening act showing how Julie’s mother is trying to drive a wedge between her and her father. And it does not take a rocket scientist to see that her mother makes a great point. The girl needs to start spending time with kids her own age and stop fixating on her father. Unfortunately for Julie’s mother she becomes an obstacle and when the opportunity arrives, she is eliminated from the picture.
Now with her mother out the way, Julie should finally be able to achieve her goal. Not so fast, her father quickly falls for another woman, who then becomes Julie’s step mother. And to further complicate the situation this woman also brings along her son, who gives Julie a run the money, when it comes to being the most annoying character. Knowing where things went in the first act, with these new obstacles in the way, it is clear where things are heading for by the time the film’s finale rolls around.
Though there is a predictability to the story at hand, it is still mildly entertaining watching this film mechanically plod along from revenge set piece to the next. Also do into this film expecting a stylishly directed film or even anything to far removed from what one would expect from a made for T.V. film. The films visuals are uninspired and often look flat, even this film’s creepy look scene looks too gaudy.
Performance wise it is hard to take any of the cast too seriously and while some of this is due to the subject matter. It also becomes painfully obvious that most of the cast look like they would rather be elsewhere. Ultimately Julie Darling sets out to be something much deeper, then the mediocrity that it truly is.
Code Red presents Julie Darling in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. The opening credits are presented window boxed widescreen, while the rest of the film is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a brand new HD transfer that comes a from a clean source that is in very good shape. Colors look nicely saturated, flesh tones look healthy and details look crisp. If any area, black levels are the one area in which this transfer does no excel. There are no problems with compression or edge enhancement.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. There are no major issues with background noise, dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include a intros before the film with Sybil Danning and Isabelle Mejias, interviews with actresses Sybil Danning (20 minutes 33 seconds – 4:3 full frame) and Isabelle Mejias (15 minutes 33 seconds – 4:3 full frame) and two audio commentaries, the first audio commentary with Sybil Danning and moderator filmmaker David De Coteau, the audio commentary with Isabelle Mejias and moderator Walter Olson. There is some overlapping of information that is covered in both the interviews and audio commentaries. The interviews not only cover each participants thoughts about this production, but also other film’s that they also appeared in. The audio commentaries follow a similar pattern and those looking for an in depth look into the ‘Making of’ Julie Darling should look elsewhere. It should be noted that the more entertaining of these two audio commentaries is the one with Isabelle Mejias, who often makes snide remarks about the director and working on this production. Also included with this release are trailers for Horror High, I’m Going to Get You Elliot Boy, Stigma, Brute Corps, The Carrier, Devil’s Express and Mean Johnny Barrows. Overall Julie Darling gets a strong DVD release from Code Red.