Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Opera" )

 

directed by Dario Argento
Italy 1987

 

When diva Mara Cecova (a role originally intended for Vanessa Redgrave then rewritten to be shot largely from a Steadicam POV) literally breaks a leg, understudy Betty (Cristina Marsillach) is thrust onto the stage for the opening night's performance of Verdi's MACBETH (in any form, a play rumored to bring bad luck). Betty is a smash hit but she has also gained the attention of a psychotic fan who starts gorily murdering members of the production while forcing Betty to watch (he tapes needles under her eyes to keep her from closing them). Suspects include sadistic director Mark (the late Ian Charleson), his model girlfriend (Antonella Vitale, Argento's girlfriend at the time), wardrobe mistress Julia (Coralina Cataldi Tassoni), and Betty's own agent Mira (Daria Nicolodi) but even Inspector Santini (Urbano Barberini) is a little bit off. As the body count builds, Mark comes up with a very theatrical way of exposing the murderer (who has also run afoul of the live ravens used in the production) and the closing night promises to be memorable. With Argento's latest GIALLO (2009) not yet easily accessible and the jury still out on whether MOTHER OF TEARS is an outright failure or a fascinating mess, OPERA seems to be widely regarded as Argento's last great film (opinions vary on whether THE STENDHAL SYNDROME is a return to form). It certainly is more extravagantly visual than his more recent work and the various absurdities are more comfortably couched in an overall off-kilter atmosphere. Ronnie Taylor's cinematography is ravishing throughout (in contrast to his more conventional later work on Argento's NONHOSONNO and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) and like PHENOMENA, the score is an interesting mix of heavy metal and atmospheric instrumental tracks from former Goblin composer Claudio Simonetti as well as Bill Wyman and Terry Taylor (who both contributed to PHENOMENA along with Simonetti) and Roger Eno along with opera tracks from Verdi, Puccini, and Bellini (Argento made use of Maria Callas' performance of "Casta Diva" years before Wong Kar Wai in 2046). Despite rumors that Argento had a difficult time directing star Marsillach, she proves to be one of his most memorable leads and is well-matched by Charleson. The dubbing of Barberini's (who had the lead in the Argento-produced DEMONS) performance was laughed off the screen at Cannes and the deeper redubbing lacks character. Daria Nicolodi (who dubbed herself) and William McNamara (dubbed with an English accent) get memorably gory deaths (the former also being quite the cinematographic technical feat) and the ravens get to pull a Hitchcock on one deserving victim. Coralina Cataldi Tassoni (like McNamara, an American dubbed with an English accent) gets the best line of the film when she derides Mark as being someone who thinks "Verdi was a twit and Shakespeare a total asshole!" Although OPERA lacks the quirky character of BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE and the leads lack the rapport of those in CAT O'NINE TAILS, OPERA is up there with these and Argento's other top tier works such as DEEP RED, SUSPIRIA, INFERNO, and TENEBRE.

Eric Cotenas

NOTE: Robert tells us in email "Nowhere in the DVDs do we hear Maria Callas singing "Casta diva": the voice is another, unnamed soprano (perhaps licensing Callas' EMI recordings was too expensive). Indeed, in the DVD credits, Callas is only listed as singing "Amami Alfredo," (heard at 41:20-42:46 NTSC or 39:30-41:02 PAL) and "Sempre libera" (at 1:12:53-1:14:23 NTSC 1:09:55-1:11:24 PAL), both from Verdi's LA TRAVIATA (1953 Fonit Cetra recording)." (Thanks Robert!)

Poster

Theatrical Release: Italy 19 December 1987

Reviews     More Reviews     DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 1 - Internationa) - Region 0 - PAL vs. Arrow Entertainment (disc 2) (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 2 - U.S. Edit]) - Region 0 - PAL vs. Anchor Bay Entertainment (Limited Edition [2-disc]) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2003 single disc) - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

1) Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 1 - International) - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT

2) Arrow Entertainment (disc 2) (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 2 - U.S. Edit]) - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay Entertainment (Limited Edition [2-disc]) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2003 single disc) - Region 0 - PAL   RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Arrow Entertainment

Region 0 - PAL

Arrow Entertainment (disc 2)
Region 0 - PAL
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Region 1 - NTSC

Arrow Entertainment

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:42:52 (4% PAL speedup) 1:31:30 (4% PAL speedup) 1:47:20 1:42:48 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

2.28:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.49 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.28:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.2 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.34:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.9 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.28:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.90 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 1 - Internationa)

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Entertainment (disc 2) (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 2 - U.S. Edit])

Bitrate:

 

Anchor Bay Entertainment (Limited Edition [2-disc])

Bitrate:

 

Arrow

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1 (redub); English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo (Cannes dub), Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo (2nd dub); English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo (Cannes dub)

English DTS-ES 6.1 (redub); English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (redub); English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround (redub)

English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo; Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none none none (English Closed Captioning available) English, Italian, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.28:1

Edition Details:
• Dario Argento Trailer Reel (16:9; 39:27)
• Argento Biography/Filmography
• Top Six Gore Scenes (16:9 - 7:13)
• Photo Gallery
• US Trailer (16:9; 1:43)
• International Trailer (4:3; 1:44)
• Daemonia Music Video (16:9; 4:52)
• Liner Notes Booklet by Alan Jones
• Reversible Cover Art

DVD Release Date: 22 March 2010
Amaray

Chapters 12
 

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Entertainment (disc 2)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.28:1

Edition Details:
• none

 

DVD Release Date: 22 March 2010
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.34:1

Edition Details:
• DISC ONE:
• Conducting Dario Argento's OPERA Dario Argento, Ronnie Taylor, Sergio Stivaletti, Claudio Simonetti, Daria Nicolodi, and Urbano Barberini (16:9; 35:44)
• International Trailer (16:9; 1:49)
• US Trailer (16:9; 1:48)
• Daemonia Music Video (16:9; 4:55)
• Dario Argento Biography
• THX Optimizer
• DISC TWO:
• Claudio Simonetti Soundtrack CD

 

DVD Release Date: 30 October 2001
Double Sized Amaray

Chapters 27

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.28:1

Edition Details:
• Dario Argento Filmography
• Photo Gallery

DVD Release Date: 24 March 2003
Amaray

Chapters 24

 

 

Comments

OPERA was shot in Super 35mm with a 1.85:1 hard-matte intended for soft-matting to 2.35:1 for projection (this allowed a compromise as fullscreen tape releases would only have been cropped from 1.85:1 unlike Argento's scope films). All three release under review present the film in the correct theatrical framing (only Cecchi Gori's Italian-only R2 release opens the film up to anamorphic 1.85:1 which reveals some gaffes meant to be matted off). Given the varying position of the side overscan mattes and the tinted (or stained) Italian credits, it appears that the new Arrow disc uses the same transfer as the original Arrow release. The Arrow and Anchor Bay transfers look very much alike (Anchor Bay's transfer is only dual-layered because of the DTS track) but contrast is slightly better on the Anchor Bay release. The US edit (Orion canceled their release but this version showed up on Japanese laserdisc and VHS as well as in Holland and Australia; when TERROR AT THE OPERA did hit VHS in the US, it was from independent label Southgate in its full uncut version along with a Blockbuster-friendly R-rated version) seen here is a reconstruction (the Orion logo probably comes from the US trailer) with a different TERROR AT THE OPERA title card than seen on the first disc and the previous Arrow DVD but (to my memory) is not the one that appeared on the prior tape editions. Unlike the international version on disc 1 features some interlacing (although not in every scene).

Most of the extras are on disc 1 and includes an unchaptered 40 minute Dario Argento trailer reel covering all of his directorial efforts - except DO YOU LIKE HITCHCOCK which was a TV production sold as a theatrical release to international markets - as well as the trailer for the Italian cut of DAWN OF THE DEAD. The film's top 6 gore scenes are also available for separate viewing from the feature, a photo gallery, and Argento biography along with the US trailer, international trailer, and Daemonia music video available on the Anchor Bay disc. The Arrow 2010 set also includes a full-size fold-out poster and a booklet of liner notes by Alan Jones (who provided commentary on Argento's BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE, THE CARD PLAYER, SUSPIRIA, and TRAUMA). The previous Arrow release only included an Argento filmography and a photo gallery.

The reconstructed US edit on the Arrow disc is interesting because it shows how the film was streamlined - the US release was canceled so this particular edit did not cut violence as it was not submitted to the MPAA - but Anchor Bay's release includes the 36 minute documentary which includes new documentaries as well as behind the scenes footage and part of the Fiat commercial directed by Argento and shot by OPERA cinematographer Ronnie Taylor. The limited 2 disc Anchor Bay edition also includes the Claudio Simonetti soundtrack (only 3 of his cues were used in the final film) which also includes the Steel Grave cues and some remixes of the Simonetti tracks (a Simonetti only version is available now on CD from his Deep Red label but originally Simonetti's music only appeared on LP while the CD soundtrack included cues by Bill Wyman and Terry Taylor, Norden Light, Roger Eno, Pino Danielle, and the classical opera tracks).

Audio-wise, the Arrow 2010 edition betters the previous version by including not only the Cannes English dub and Italian dub (in 2.0) - with optional English subtitles - but also the redubbed English version (in 5.1 remix on the international version and in 2.0 on the US edit which also includes the Cannes dub). The original Dolby Stereo mix did not have a very active surround channel and the heavy metal numbers were never as booming as the opera music (the Simonetti track "Confusion" is also more muffled on the redub). The DTS 6.1 track on the Anchor Bay releases is not that much more active than the 5.1 EX or 2.0 stereo downmixes and its clarity actually reveals some hiss in the audio source (the Anchor Bay disc's edition also replaced Simonetti's end credits theme with the slightly reworked version Simonetti composed for his Simonetti Horror Project album and has been moved to fade with the last scrolling credits whereas the credits continued rolling after the song ended on earlier versions).

Both single and double disc Anchor Bay editions are out of print but Blue Underground has since reissued the single disc version (including the documentary).

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
(
Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 1 - Internationa) - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Arrow Entertainment (disc 2) (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 2 - U.S. Edit]) - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Anchor Bay Entertainment (Limited Edition [2-disc]) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 

   

 

 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

1) Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 1 - International) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Entertainment (disc 2) (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 2 - U.S. Edit]) - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay Entertainment (Limited Edition [2-disc]) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2003 single disc) - Region 0 - PAL   BOTTOM

Subtitle sample (where available)

 


 

1) Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 1 - International) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Entertainment (disc 2) (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 2 - U.S. Edit]) - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay Entertainment (Limited Edition [2-disc]) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2003 single disc) - Region 0 - PAL   BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 1 - International) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Entertainment (disc 2) (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 2 - U.S. Edit]) - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay Entertainment (Limited Edition [2-disc]) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2003 single disc) - Region 0 - PAL   BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 1 - International) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Entertainment (disc 2) (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 2 - U.S. Edit]) - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay Entertainment (Limited Edition [2-disc]) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2003 single disc) - Region 0 - PAL   BOTTOM

 


 

1) Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 1 - International) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Entertainment (disc 2) (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 2 - U.S. Edit]) - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay Entertainment (Limited Edition [2-disc]) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2003 single disc) - Region 0 - PAL   BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 1 - International) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Entertainment (disc 2) (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 2 - U.S. Edit]) - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay Entertainment (Limited Edition [2-disc]) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2003 single disc) - Region 0 - PAL   BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 1 - International) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Entertainment (disc 2) (Arrow 2010 2 disc [Disc 2 - U.S. Edit]) - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay Entertainment (Limited Edition [2-disc]) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Arrow Entertainment (Arrow 2003 single disc) - Region 0 - PAL   BOTTOM

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Draw

Sound:

Arrow 2010

Extras: Anchor Bay (for documentary - Limited 2 disc for soundtrack CD)
Menu: Arrow 2010

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Arrow Entertainment

Region 0 - PAL

Arrow Entertainment (disc 2)
Region 0 - PAL
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Region 1 - NTSC

Arrow Entertainment

Region 0 - PAL




Search DVDBeaver
S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!