Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 23rd, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, August 8th, 1972
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Writers: Francesco Barilli, Massimo D’Avak
Cast: Ivan Rassimov, Me Me Lai, Pratitsak Singhara, Sullalewan Suxantat, Ong Ard, Prapas Chindang, Pipop Pupinyo, Tuan Tevan
DVD released: November 30th, 2004
Approximate running time: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Media Blasters/Shriek Show
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: A photographer while traveling through a remote jungle is abducted by natives who eventually accept him as one of their own.
Umberto Lenzi’s Man from Deep River was a film that helped spawn the cannibal film genre in Italy. The tone and content of Man from Deep River is nowhere near as nihilistic as his later two cannibal films Cannibal Ferox and Eaten Alive. The violence is limited to a few animal killings and one scene of a woman being cannibalized. The film focuses more on its lead character John Bradley a photographer and the evolution his character goes through. At first Bradley is hesitant and tries to return to his former life. The plot can also be seen as a love story with Bradley’s character falling in love with a native woman named Marayå. Eventually Bradley’s whole life center’s around his love for Marayå. There are stretches in the film were very little happens which may test some viewers patience. The plot for Man of Deep River is best approached as journey with the payoff coming at the end.
Visually the Man from Deep River is filled with scenic landscapes that are used to their fullest. Umberto’s Lenzi’s laid back direction lets the characters evolve naturally. This films greatest strength is how Umberto Lenzi lets the characters take front stage instead of focusing less on shock value. My favorite moment in the film is when Bradley chases Marayå who he just few in love with through the jungle. As he chases her she leaves articles of clothing behind like trail. When he finally catches her they make love for the first time. The film’s two leads Ivan Rassimov and Me Me Lai are both remarkable in the respective roles. Ivan Rassimov who has done his fare share of roles were he plays unsavory characters is very convincing playing against type in this film. Me Me Lai gives the most memorable performance in the film. She brings a childlike innocence and other world kind of beauty to the Marayå character. The melancholy score for the film adds tremendously to the mood of the film.
Ultimately while not as violent or shocking as other cannibal films that followed. Umberto Lenzi’s Man from Deep River remains one of his most accomplished and emotionally engaging films.
Media Blasters present Man from Deep River in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. The colors look nicely saturated and details are razor sharp throughout. This transfer looks really good with only some instances during the opening credits and final minute of the film were noticeable print damage shows up.
This release comes with two audio options Italian and English. Both audio mixes are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. Both audio mixes sound clear and evenly balanced. There are no problems with hiss or nay other audio defects. Removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and understand have been included.
Extras for this release include a trailer for Man from Deep River, a photo/poster image gallery and a ten minute interview with Umberto Lenzi who remembers in great detail the various aspect of the production. The remaining extras are trailers for other titles available on DVD from Media Blasters Shriek Show label. Media Blasters Man from Deep River is a satisfying release that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and an informative interview that puts the film into perspective.