Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 4th, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1966
Director: Carlo Lizzani
Writers: Carlo Lizzani, Ugo Pirro
Cast: Robert Hoffmann, Gian Maria Volonté, Claudio Camaso, Renato Niccolai, Ottavio Fanfani, Pupo De Luca, Corrado Olmi, Lisa Gastoni
BluRay released: November 23rd, 2015 (UK) / November 24th, 2015 (USA)
Approximate running time: 124 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: LPCM Mono Italian
BluRay Release: Arrow Video USA
Region Coding: Region A,B / Region 1,2 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95 (USA) / £15.99 (UK)
Wake up and Kill was directed by Carlo Lizzani whose other notable films include, Requiescant, The Hills Run Red, The Violent Four, Last Days of Mussolini and San Babila ore 20: un delitto inutile. Key collaborators on Wake up and Kill include, screenwriter Ugo Pirro (Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis), cinematographer Armando Nannuzzi (I Knew Her Well, The Damned) and composer Ennio Morrcione.
The plot for the film was based on the real life exploits Luciano Lutring who carried out hundreds of robberies in Italy and France during 1960’s. He would be finally caught on September 1st 1965 in Paris, France. Narrative wise, this film follows Luciano Lutring from his humble beginnings as a small time crook who becomes bolder as he becomes more well-known due to the press coverage of his robberies. With the film culminating with his capture in France.
Content wise, there are many elements in this film that would later become synonymous with the Poliziotteschi an Italian film genre which rose to prominence in the 1970’s. And besides the usual suspects, the cops verse the criminals. This film when it comes to its criminals actually breaks things down into two distinctively different fractions, those who are freelancers who steal for themselves and those who are part of crime family. And nowhere is this more accentuated then the scene where Luciano who is now in France and unable to get anyone to buy the jewels he stole.
All the main characters are well-defined and their motivations are never in doubt. And though there is an ample amount of time spent exploring the more dramatic side of Luciano Lutring’s story. When it comes to more action oriented moments this film delivers the goods and then some. With one of this film’s strengths being its ability to balance drama and action.
Another strength of this film is its ability to create tension and sustain it. And not to be overlooked is this film solid visuals which greatly add to the story at hand. Also from a pacing stand point things move along a deliberate pacing that ensures that there are more peaks then valleys.
From a performance stand point the entire cast are all very good in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performances coming Robert Hoffmann (Grand Slam, Spasmo) in the role of Luciano Lutring and Lisa Gastoni (The Maniacs, Seduction) in the role of Yvonne, Luciano’s love interest. These two actors’ have a tremendous amount of chemistry and the scenes where they interact are the one that resonate most. Other notable performances include, Gian Maria Volonté (A Bullet for the General, The Red Circle) in the role of an Italian inspector named Moroni and Volonté’s brother Claudio Camaso (Vengeance) in the role of Franco Magni, Yvonne’s jealous ex-lover. Ultimately Wake up And Kill a riveting crime drama that Poliziotteschi fans are sure to thoroughly enjoy.
Wake Up And Kill comes on a 50 GB dual layer (45.2 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer for this release was sourced from a brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative. The image looks crisp, black levels and shadow detail are consistently strong throughout. And when it comes to color reproduction things are solid in this area. Also grain look 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. There are no issues with distortion or background noise and dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced. Also this audio track exhibits solid range and depth. With this film’s score benefiting most from this audio mix.
Extras for this release include an English language trailer for the film (1 minute 18 seconds) and the English language version of the film under the title Wake up and Kill (97 minutes 38 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen, with English SDH subtitles).
The audio / video quality for the English language version is on par with the longer Italian language version. With the only area where they differ being that there is slightly more print debris during the opening moments of English language version.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art option and twenty eight page booklet with cast & crew information, a lengthy essay about the film titled ‘The Machine Gun Soloist’ written by Robert Curti and information about the transfer. 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 Wake up and Kill gets a strong release from Arrow Video USA.