Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 11th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1970
Director: Michele Lupo
Writers: Sergio Donati, Massimo Felisatti, Fabio Pittorru
Cast: Anna Moffo, Ida Galli, Gastone Moschin, Peter Baldwin, Lance Percival, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Chris Chittell, Marisa Fabbri, Quinto Parmeggiani, Beryl Cunningham, Pauline Collins, Orchidea de Santis, Claudio Undari, Franco Borelli, Ballard Berkeley, Richard Caldicot, Harry Hutchinson
DVD released: August 11th, 2009
Approximate running time: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Code Red
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.98
Weekend Murders was directed by Michele Lupo, whose standout films include Goliath and the Sins of Babylon, Man from Nowhere and Escape from Death Row. The screenplay for Weekend Murders was co-written by Sergio Donati, whose notable credits as a screenwriter include The Big Gundown, Face to Face, Once Upon a Time in the West, A Fistful of Dynamite. His novel “Il sepolcro di carta” was made into the Tinto Brass film Deadly Sweet. The other two screenwriters on Weekend murders were Massimo Felisatti (The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, Strip Nude for Your Killer) and Fabio Pittorru (The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, Red Queen Kills 7 Times, The Last Days of Mussolini). The Cinematographer on Weekend Murders was Guglielmo Mancori, whose other notable films as a cinematographer include, So Sweet… So Perverse, a Quiet Place to Kill, Spasmo, Black Emanuelle 2, Sister Emanuelle and Manhattan Baby. The score for Weekend Murders was composed by Francesco De Masi, whose other notable scores include An Angel for Satan, Eagles over London, The Hanging Women, The Inglorious Bastards and The New York Ripper.
The film opens with a stylish reveal of a corpse which is found in a sand trap at a golf course. After this opening sequence the plot the goes back a few days and retraces the events leading up to that moment. At just under 100 minutes the plot feels padded with a few scenes stretched well beyond the amount of time needed to convey what could have been told with greater impact if condensed. There are several red herrings and a few deaths that turn out to be nothing more than a bad joke or someone who is actually sleeping and not dead. All of the murders happen off camera and are virtually bloodless. Also this film owes more to American / British made thrillers than the Grand Guignol Italian thrillers often referred to as Giallo’s. That is not to say that Weekend Murders does not have a few stylish moments.
This film’s strongest asset is its superb cast which includes Giacomo Rossi-Stuart (Kill Baby Kill), Ida Galli (Case of the Scorpion’s Tail), Gastone Moschin (Milano calibro 9) and Peter Baldwin (The Ghost). The films two standout performances come from Anna Moffo in the role of Barbara Worth, the woman who is left everything in the will and Gastone Moschin as the bumbling / inept Sergeant Aloysius Thorpe. The films main musical motif in the film is Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No. 1″ which is used in an exaggerated way as gunshots are added for extra emphasis. Ultimately Weekend Murders is a dialog driven thriller that spends majority of its time dissecting its characters and any murders in the film serve as nothing more than window dressing.
Code Red presents Weekend Murders in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original 2.35:1 scope aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. Outside of some very minor print debris this transfer is in great shape as colors and flesh tones look accurate. Black levels fare well and details look generally crisp.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Even though there is noticeable background noise, it is never excessive or distracting.
Extras for this release include the U.S. theatrical trailer for the film, an extensive image gallery that plays music from the film in the background, a brief intro before the main feature with actor Peter Baldwin and a twenty minute on camera interview with Peter Baldwin who covers the various stages of his career including the Italian productions like Roberto Rossellini’s It Was Night in Rome, Luigi Bazzoni’s The Lady of the Lake and Riccardo Freda’s The Ghost. The main extra included with this release is an insightful audio commentary with Peter Baldwin, Scott Spiegel (producer of Hostel) and moderator Lee Christian. Also included with this release are trailers / T.V. spots for Brute Crops, Cheerleaders Wild Weekend, Doctor Death, Devil’s Express, Trapped, Night Warning, Sole Survivor and Stunt Rock. Overall this is another exceptional DVD release from Code Red that is highlighted with a wealth of interesting extras.