Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 26th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, November 5th, 1976
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writers: Franco Marotta, Laura Toscano, Franco Mercuri
Cast: Edwige Fenech, Raf Luca, Giancarlo Dettori, Mario Maranzana, Carlo Sposito, Walter Valdi, Gianni Agus, Oreste Lionello, Gianni Solaro, Piero Palermini
Approximate running time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 & Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: 01 Distribution
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (Italy)
Retail Price: $27.95
Synopsis: A con man named Esposito is put on trial for trying to pass off dog food as food consumable for humans. While visiting a hotel one day Esposito come across a woman named Rosa who looks just like Viola the judge whose decides if he goes to jail. Esposito quickly cons Rosa into helping him run her sister Viola’s reputation. Esposito, Rosa and few of Violas’s other enemies’ waste no time defaming the judge in the eye of the public that once respected her. Will Esposito’s plan pay off or will it all backfire in his face?
Director Lucio Fulci is primary known for his gore drench horror films and stylish thrillers. Comedy is one genre where he has worked on several occasions and yet most of these have been greatly overlooked by the core of his fans. Fulci originally began his career entrenched in the comedy genre with the bulk of his first twenty features being comedies or comedy hybrids. Many of these comedies starred one of Italy’s most prominent comedic duos Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia.
La Pretora bears all the style one would come to expect from a Lucio Fulci film. Later in his career some of his films were not as personal and work for hires. This is not the case with La Pretora a films that is filled with Fulci’s cynicism and unique sense of humor. Fulci makes a brief appearance in the film as a gas station attendant. Visually the film looks amazing with the way everything is framed and lit. The cinematographer on La Pretora was Luciano Trasatti whose also worked on films like Jess Franco’s Count Dracula and Bloody Pit of Horror.
One of the films more amusing scenes takes place at a movie theatre where three judges one of them Viola they are watching a graphic film that they are censoring for the general public. Up in the projection booth the projectionist is charging Horney men to watch the uncensored film. This scene correlates with the censorship that Fulci had to endure most of his career and it is done in such an over the top way that only further shows the hypocrisy in censorship. The film being watched is this scene is never show and only heard. Music from one of the Black Emanuelle films can be heard in between grunts and moaning. The score for La Pretora Nico Fidenco whose is most remembered for his memorable scores for the Black Emanuelle films. The score is in line with the rest of his work with one mortify sounding like something that Nina Rota would compose for Federico Fellini.
The main reason why most cult fans will be drawn to La Pretora is because of Edwige Fenech. The good news is that there is twice as much Edwige Fenech who gets to show off two drastically different persona’s, one that is very conservative and another which is extremely naughty. The casting of Fenech is an inspired choice. It is a shame that Edwige Fenech never gets the respect she deserves as an actress because most of her performances are based on her looks and undeniable sexuality. La Pretora gives Fenech a chance to show her range as an actress and the end result is her strongest performances’ of her career. There are many memorable moments involving Fenech like a lotion rub down, a lesbian tryst with midgets and many moments of nudity.
For whatever reason we are never given the chance to see both characters Fenech plays in the same room at the same time. The closest they come to interacting is a phone call. One thing that I felt was never fully explained is why Viola never points out that she has a twin sister and that she is the one in the photo not her. This is a minor embellish that doesn’t take away from the film in anyway. Ultimately La Petora is a satirical masterpiece laced with dark piercing humor about the establishment and obscenity.
La Pretora is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Besides noticeable grain and few minor instances of print damage in the form of hairs on the frame the image as a whole is very satisfactory. Flesh tones are dead on with the naked skin of Edwige Fenech looking its best. Colors look good with some room for improvement and details look crisp throughout.
This release comes with two audio options a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix and a Dolby Digital mono mix. Both audio mixes are in the films native Italian language. Both audio mixes sound clear, clean and evenly balanced. The only difference between the two is that the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix sound slightly fuller then the Dolby Digital mono mix. Removable Italian subtitles have been included with this release.
Extras for this release consist of a Photo Gallery and trailers for other films featuring Edwige Fenech. Overall 01 Distribution gives La Pretora a solid audio/video presentation while skimming on the extra content. Out of all the Lucio Fulci films yet to receive an English language release none screams out louder for an English friendly release than La Pretora.