Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 30th, 2017
BluRay released: March 20th, 2017 (UK), March 28th, 2017 (USA)
Approximate running times: 126 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: LPCM Mono Italian
BluRay Release: Arrow Academy USA
Region Coding: Region A,B / Region 1,2 NTSC
Retail Price: $39.95 (USA) / £24.99 (UK)
Property is No Longer Theft was co-written and directed by Elio Petri whose other notable films include, L’Assassino, The 10th Victim, A Quiet Place in the Country and Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion. Key collaborators on Property is No Longer Theft include, cinematographer Luigi Kuveiller (A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, Deep Reed) and legendary composer Ennio Morricone.
Elio Petri was a filmmaker whose films were driven by his ideology and this film continues his exploration of paranoia. And the narrative explores the role that money plays in society. At one end of the spectrum there is Total a young man who struggles to accept that role that money plays in bettering one’s life. And in direct contrast to his viewpoint is character referred to as The Butcher. He lives his life by accumulating wealth, at his butcher shop and he also owns several buildings. On though these two characters come from polar opposite words. There worlds soon collide, when Total quits his job, when he realizes that it can no longer give him what he is looking for. He then targets The Butcher who he had seen numerous times at the bank.
The film’s narrative is well constructed and pacing is never an issues as key moments are given an ample amount of time to resonate. The characters are well defined and this film employs an unusual way of introducing their motivations. These are done via scenes where each character stands in darkness and talks to the camera. The film’s opening scene with Total’s provides a preview of the story that is about to unfold.
The film’s score perfectly sets and maintains the mood. The visuals are filled with symbolic imagery that reinforces the characters’ state of minds. Standout moments include, a scene where total who has been waiting for The Butcher and his much younger girlfriend to get home. He is wearing a stocking over his head and a hat he stole early in the evening from The Butcher. He also has The Butcher’s knife which he stole and now he is using it to intimidate them as he robs them. Other standout moments include, a sex scene that was controversial at the time this film was released. In this scene, The Butcher’s girlfriend is on top of him while she wears the stocking on her head, that Total left behind. And a scene where The Butcher finally confronts Total and offers him money to leave him alone.
This film has an outstanding cast and they are excellent in their respective roles. With this film’s two leads being, Flavio Bucci (Night Train Murders, La Orca) in the role of Total, who disdain for money has him constantly washing his hands and Ugo Tognazzi (Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy, La Grande Bouffe) in the role of The Butcher. Other notable cast members include, Salvo Randone (Hands Over the City) in the role of Total’s father and Mario Scaccia (The Perfume of the Lady in Black) in the role of Alessandro Marzo ‘Albertone’, an older criminal that Total befriends to help in his education as a thief.
Without a doubt, this film’s most memorable performance is Daria Nicolodi (Tenebrae, Phenomena) in the role of Anita, The Butcher’s girlfriend. Her performance in this film is in direct contrast with the type of roles that she is most known for. She play’s a character whose sex drive is stuck in overdrive. And though Total is the man terrorizing her and her boyfriend. She does not hesitate when the opportunities arise to sleep with Total. Another strength of her performances is the way in which she uses facial gestures and her body as her main forms of expression.
Property is No Longer a Theft comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer for this release was sourced from a 4K restoration from the original film negative and the end result is another solid transfer from Arrow. Grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM Mono mix in Italian and removable English subtitles have been included with this release. The audio sound clear and balanced throughout. Range wise things sound very good, especially the film’s score and the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack fare well.
Extras for this release include three interviews – the first interview with actor Flavio Bucci is titled My Name is Total (19 minutes 46 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), the second interview with producer Claudio Mancini is titled The Middle-class Communist (23 minutes 33 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) and the third interview with make-up artist Pierantonio Mecacci is titled The Best Man (23 minutes 4 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles).
Topics discussed in the interview with Flavio Bucci include, his origins as an actor, Elio Petri and their various collaborations, The Working Class Goes to Heaven – Gian Maria Volontè and their friendship, Total the character he portrays in Property is No Longer a Theft, the cast, Claudio Mancini, cinematographer Luigi Kuveiller, cinema stereotypes and his thoughts about Property is No Longer Theft.
Topics discussed in the interview with Claudio Mancini include, his origins in the film industry, Elio Petri and how they met, Elio Perti’s left leaning political ideology, Property is No Longer Theft – the cast and information about their casting, locations, how he discovered Luigi Kuveiller and his role as the producer of the film. He also discusses various other films that he collaborated with Elio Petri on and his various collaborations with Sergio Leone.
Topics discussed in the interview with Pierantonio Mecacci include, Property is No Longer Theft and his contribution to the film, the cast and his thoughts about them, the controversial sex scenes, the origins of Ugo Tognazzi’s characters’ hairstyle, Luigi Kuveiller, locations, Elio Petri and their various collaborations. He also discusses how Daria Nicolodi was instrumental in introducing him to Dario Argento who he ended up working with for four films, most notably Suspiria.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nathanael Marsh and a twenty-four page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled A Grotesque Entanglement of Property, Power and Desire written by Camilla Zamboni and information about the restoration.
Also, included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo release. Overall another exceptional release from Arrow Academy, highly recommended.