Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 4th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: Italy, 1950
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Writer: Daniele D’Anza, Silvio Giovannetti, Michelangelo Antonioni, Francesco Maselli
Cast: Lucia Bose, Massimo Girotti, Marika Rowsky, Gino Rossi, Ferdinando Sarmi
DVD Released: June 28th, 2005
Approximate Running Time: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
DVD Release: No Shame
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
A wealthy entrepreneur hires a private detective to look into his beautiful wife Paola’s past and current daily activities. Recently Guido a former lover of Paola’s has reentered her life after seven years and the two who had been separated due to a tragedy decide to pick up where they left off. The two lovers become concerned when the private investigator starts to look into the death of Guido’s now deceased fiancée who also just happened to be Paola’s best friend. Afraid of losing each other once again the Paola and Guido contemplate killing her husband Enrico.
Long before Michelangelo Antonioni had his international breakthrough with his 1966 film Blowup he had already directed several classic films like L’Avventura, La Notte, L’Eclisse and Story of a Love Affair. Story of a Love Affair is film noir at its best as it takes three of the genres best plot devices “Deception”, “Infidelity” and “Murder” and uses them to their fullest potential. To director Michelangelo Antonioni he keeps things inventive and new despite using themes that had been used hundreds of times before. His direction in Story of a Love Affair is pretty standard with a few flashes of the brilliance he would later display in films like Blowup.
The acting is good with the best performance being that of Lucia Bosé as Paola the rich man’s wife. Lucia Bosé was only nineteen years old while making Story of a Love Affair and yet she gives a performance of an actress who has been around a very long time despite being her first film. There is a youthfulness and insecurity she exudes that makes her performance all the more compelling. The film brilliantly builds tension as Guido and Paola become more and more aware that they are being watched. There desires push them to the brink as they are soon confronted with their only way out might be if her husband was out of the picture forever.
Overall Story of a love Affair is a mesmerizing tale about two desperate people and the lengths at which they are willing to go to keep their affair a secret.
Story of a Love Affair is presented in its original 1.37:1 full frame aspect ratio. The image is free of any noticeable print damage and the image looks sharp throughout. There are no problems with compression or artifacts and edge enhancement is kept to a minimum. This title like many of No Shame early DVD releases is interlaced and some DVD players might have ghosting issues during playback. Overall another exceptional transfer form No Shame that would have been perfect if it had been flagged for progressive scan.
This release comes with two audio options Italian and English. Both are in Dolby Digital mono. Also there are portions of the English soundtrack that is only in Italian and you will have to manually turn on subtitles during these moments. The English audio track has some minor instances of hiss while the Italian audio track is free of any distortion or sound defects. Overall both audio mixes are more then adequate. Removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been included.
The extras for this release are spread over two DVD’s with the bulk of the extras on the second DVD. Extras for disc one include an eight minute segment titled “Restoring a Masterpiece” which goes into great detail about the restoring of Story of a Love Affair and how the original negative had been destroyed.
Extras for disc two include an extensive poster & still gallery. Other extras include two featurettes the first one titled “Story of a Peculiar Night” which runs about twenty nine minutes in length. It is essentially a collection of interviews and footage from the premier of the restored version of Story of a Love Affair. The other featurette is titled “Fragments of a Love Affair” which runs about six minutes in length and where are shown various locations that were used in the film and how they look today. The last extra is a one hundred and fourteen minute documentary titled “Identification of a Masterpiece” which includes interviews with assistant director Francesco Maselli, film critics Tullio Kezich and Edoardo Bruno. This interview is essentially five separate interviews made into one cohesive piece. “Identification of a Masterpiece” is No Shame’s most impressive extra to date.
No Shame has also included with this release a collectable booklet which includes a bio for Michelangelo Antonioni. The booklet also comes with a text piece about the restoring of Story of a Love Affair and two text interviews with director Michelangelo Antonioni.
No Shame gives Michelangelo Antonioni’s directorial debut Story of a Love Affair a nearly flawless release, recommended.
For more information about Story of a Love Affair visit No Shame here.