Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 7th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1972
Director: Roberto Bianchi Montero
Writer: Luigi Angelo, Roberto Bianchi Montero, Italo Fasan
Cast: Farley Granger, Sylva Koscina, Silvano Tranquilli, Annabella Incontrera, Chris Avram, Femi Benussi, Krista Nell, Angela Covello, Fabrizio Moresco, Andrea Scotti, Irene Pollmer, Luciano Rossi, Ivano Staccioli, Nino Foti, Jessica Dublin, Paul Oxon, Philippe Hersent, Nieves Navarro, Sandro Pizzorro, Bruno Boschetti, Benito Stefanelli, Luigi Ciavarro
DVD released: April 27th, 2009
Approximate running time: 97 mins
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian, Dolby Digital Mono German
Subtitles: English, German
DVD Release: Camera Obscura
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL
Retail Price: 23.99 EUR
Synopsis: A maniac targets unfaithful wives and leaves incriminating photos of their affairs next to their corpses.
So Sweet, So Dead was co-written and directed by Roberto Bianchi Montero a prolific filmmaker who career spanned five decades. His son Mario Bianchi directed the Satan’s Baby Doll. The cinematographer on So Sweet, So Dead was Fausto Rossi who other notable credits include Women in Cell Block 7 and The Real Emanuelle. The score for So Sweet, So Dead was composed by Giorgio Gaslini who is most known for his score for Dario Argento’s Deep Red. Some alternate titles for this film include Revelations of a Sex Maniac to the Head of the Criminal Investigation Division, The Slasher …is the Sex Maniac! and a X-Rated version was released under the title Penetration.
The giallo genre is one of the more resilient genres to emerge out of the Italian film industry. The genre first rose to prominence when Mario Bava directed Blood and Black Lace, a film which many critics consider the definitely giallo film. The giallo genre would reach the apex of its popularity in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. With film’s like Dario Argento’s debut film The Bird with the Crystal Plumage spawning countless imitators. By the time Roberto Bianchi Montero had directed So Sweet, So Dead the genre was in decline. Even though Roberto Bianchi Montero worked in just about every film genre. So Sweet, So Dead would mark his only foray into the giallo genre.
The film’s sleazy tone is quickly established in its opening scene in which a woman’s bloody naked corpse is on display while the police walk around her looking for clues. In fact of the women who are murdered in the film the camera often lingers on their semi nudes corpses. Unfortunately the killings are not as brutal as one would expect from a film as sleazy as this film. In fact the killings come off as clumsy as the killer haphazardly tries to finish off his victims. The film features many of the giallo genres archetypical cliches like a black gloved killer (who outfit looks a lot like the outfit worn by the killer in Blood and Black Lace), red herrings (some more obvious than others), homosexuality and inept law enforcement. The one area where this film slightly diverges away from most giallo’s from this era is that the main character investigating the killings is a policeman and not an amateur sleuth.
This film features many recognizable names like Nieves Navarro (Death Walks at Midnight), Femi Benussi (The Killer Must Kill Again), Annabella Incontrera (The Case of the Bloody Iris), Sylva Koscina (Hercules) and Luciano Rossi who once again turns in yet another delirious performance in the role of Gastone a morgue attendant. So much of the film relies on a character named Inspector Capuana who is effectively portrayed by Farley Granger who first rose to prominence as an actor in Rope and Strangers on a Train, two film’s directed by Alfred Hitchock. In the 1970’s he would appear in several Italian films like They Call Me Trinity, Amuck and What Have They Done to Your Daughters? Does So Sweet, So Dead bring anything new to the giallo genre that has not been done before, no. And yet despite its familiarity the film works as well it does because the way it exploits the genres cliches.
Camera Obscura presents So Sweet, So Dead in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. To make the most complete version of this film two scenes where which cut from the original negative have been re-inserted from a lesser source. The majority of the transfer is in excellent shape as colors look robust, flesh tones look healthy, black levels look solid and details look sharp throughout. There are no problems with compression and edge enhancement is kept in check.
This release comes with two audio options, a Dolby Digital Mono Italian and a Dolby Digital Mono German. Removable English and German subtitles have been provided. The English subtitles are easy to follow and error free. Both audio mixes are in very good shape. They both sound clear and balanced throughout.
Extras include a gallery with stills, posters, lobby cards and box art for various home video releases. Other extras include the French language photo novel for the film which has music from the film playing in the background and removable English and German subtitles have been provided for this extra. Also included with this release is a collectible booklet with a text piece about that film. This text piece is presented in English and German. Rounding out the extras is a twenty one minute interview with composer Giorgio Gaslini (in Italian with removable English and German subtitles) and a audio commentary with film historians Christian Kessler and Marcus Stigglegger (in German with removable English subtitles). The interview with composer Giorgio Gaslini who discusses the Italian film industry and the score for So Sweet, So Dead. This is a informative audio commentary in which both participants have plenty to say about the cast, the giallo genre, Alfred Hitchcock and So Sweet, So Dead. This release also comes with multi-lingual menus, English and German. Overall So Sweet, So Dead gets a exceptional release from Camera Obscura, highly recommended.