Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 8th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy/Spain, December 23rd, 1966
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Writers: Umberto Lenzi, David Moreno
Cast: Glenn Saxson, Helga Liné, Andrea Bosic, Ivano Staccioli, Esmeralda Ruspoli, Dante Posani, Franco Fantasia, Susan Baker, Armando Calvo, Mary Arden, Rossella Bergamonti, Mirella Pamphili
Approximate running time: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Italian, Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Pulp Video
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (Italy)
Retail Price: $27.95
Synopsis: A mastermind thief known as Kriminal narrowly escapes execution. He always manages to stay one step ahead of the law with each new crime he commits. Will Kriminal be able to pull of his biggest score yet or will a double cross lead to his demise?
The origins of the Kriminal character can be traced back the 1964 fumetti (comic book) created Roberto Raviola and Luciano Secchi under the pseudonyms Magnus and Max Bunker. Kriminal is a mastermind thief who effortlessly seduces women and when in danger he is not above killing anyone who gets in his way. Kriminal (1966) is the first of two films. It was followed two years later by Il marchio di Kriminal (1968).
Kriminal was directed by Umberto Lenzi who is most remembered for his two controversial cannibal films Cannibal Ferox and Eaten Alive! Visually Kriminal is a very stylish affair that boasts eye popping color and nonstop action sequences. The beautiful landscapes in London, Madrid and Istanbul are fully realized by Umberto Lenzi who uses the scope photography to its fullest. Kriminal is yet more proof of Lenzi’s visual eye and it ranks up there with his best work visually. The films jazz infectious score was composed by Romano Mussolini son of former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
The plot for Kriminal is perfectly paced with its cat and mouse game between Kriminal and Inspector Milton. One of the plots best twists is how twin sisters (both who are played by Helga Liné) are used as diamond couriers to help confuse any prospective thief from knowing which one had the diamonds. No one can be trusted as greed is the main thing driving each character and they are all willing to double cross each other to gain the upper hand. It is also cool how Kriminal is able to adapt to his surroundings and escape anywhere even when his is trapped on all four sides. The films twist ending sets up the eventual sequel Il marchio di Kriminal.
In the lead role of Kriminal is actor Glenn Saxson who does a convincing job playing the mastermind thief! Saxon has the look and the physical prowess that was needed for this role. This is especially evident during the action sequences. The cast features a bevy of beauties including Helga Liné in a dual role. Helga Liné does a superb job as playing twin sisters. She is delightfully diabolical in the role of Inge who seduces her men like a black widow. Actress Susan Baker gives a memorable performance as In the role of Kriminal’s ex-wife Margie Swan.
Ultimately Kriminal is a entertaining action/adventure that never strays too far away from its fumetti origins.
Kriminal is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the films original scope photography. The image looks clean outside of some minor instances of scratches. Colors play an important part in the look of this film and they look vivid and nicely saturated throughout. Details could be stronger with most scenes looking crisp in the background and foreground. Black levels are strong throughout and edge enhancement is minimal. Overall for a transfer that is already six years old the image still holds up really well even by today’s standards.
This release comes with two audio options the films original Dolby Digital mono mix and a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix. Both audio mixes are in Italian. Both audio mixes sound clear and evenly balanced. The main difference between the two is that the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix sounds more robust. Removable Italian subtitles have been included.
Extras for this release are limited to an assortment of text related items including a bio/filmography for director Umberto Lenzi, info about the cast & crew and a brief piece about the film. Pulp Video gives Kriminal a solid audio/video presentation that is shortchanged by its lack of English audio options and extras with more depth.