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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Illustrious Corpses" or "The Context")

 

Directed by Francesco Rosi
Italy / France 1976

 

From Francesco Rosi, the masterful director of Salvatore Giuliano, Hands Over the City, The Mettei Affair, Christ Stopped at Eboli and Lucky Luciano, comes the politically charged crime thriller Illustrious Corpses (aka The Context). Cinema icon Lino Ventura (The Sicilian Clan, Razzia Sur La Chnouf) stars as Inspector Rogas, a detective assigned to investigate the mysterious murders of some Supreme Court judges. During the investigation he discovers a conspiracy that involves the Italian Communist Party. Beautifully photographed by Pasqualino De Santis (Romeo and Juliet), this gripping neo-noir takes what Rosi called “a trip through the monsters and monstrosities of power.” The stellar international cast includes Tino Carraro (The Cat o’ Nine Tails), Marcel Bozzuffi (The Valdez Horses), Paolo Bonacelli (Midnight Express), Alain Cuny (Emmanuelle), Luigi Pistilli (For a Few Dollars More), Renato Salvatori (Luna), Tina Aumont (Fellini’s Casanova), Fernando Rey (Seven Beauties), Max von Sydow (Needful Things) and Charles Vanel (The Wages of Fear).

***

While not as immediately tough as Rosi's political case histories, Illustrious Corpses burns on a slow fuse. A lone policeman (Ventura) investigates the murders of prominent legal figures. But as he stumbles on a conspiracy of national dimensions, the mystery thriller expands into an exploration of the mysteries of political power. The machinations of both Right and Left are set against the constant fact of human mortality (as referred to in the film's title). And a sense of the past is ever present: huge public monuments sit in judgment on the grey men who move through their corridors of power. What impresses most are scenes displaying Rosi's bravura: an obsessive judge shot in his tomb-like mansion; a party calculatedly shocking in its lavishness; Ventura alone in his flat when the horror of his discovery hits him. The photography serves perfectly the growing sense of unease, and Ventura is as quietly excellent as ever.

Excerpt from TimeOuty located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: February 13th, 1976

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Review: Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:01:01.837        
Video

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 40,522,688,610 bytes

Feature: 38,874,912,768 bytes

Video Bitrate: 38.93 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1555 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1555 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 40,522,688,610 bytes

Feature: 38,874,912,768 bytes

Video Bitrate: 38.93 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

NEW Audio Commentary by Filmmaker Alex Cox
Theatrical Trailer (3:23)


Blu-ray Release Date:
September 28th, 2021
Standard
Blu-ray Case

Chapters 10

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Kino Blu-ray (September 2021): Kino have transferred Francesco Rosi's Illustrious Corpses to Blu-ray. It is cited as being from a "4K Restoration from the Original Camera Negative". An initial screen describes "Restored by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna at Limmagine Ritrovata laboratory and The Film Foundation in 2019. Funding provided by George Lucas Family Foundation. The 4K restoration of Cadaver' eccellenti used two first generation reversal elements and the Italian magnetic sound mix, both provided by MGM. Two 35mm vintage prints, preserved by the British Film Institute, were used as reference for the color grading." I have heard the term "Titrovat'ed" and this 1080P image is extremely dark and green - notably in indoor sequences. These can be a bit saturated as well. Detail is supportive with often warm skin tones. Frankly the heavy green, and very dark interiors, may hinter the viewing for some. This may be the best it looks which is a shame as it is an excellent film.

Peter tells us in email: "I ran a vast series of Rosi restorations in 1997 at PFA from then-brand-new prints, with Rosi in person, and the 1970s titles in particular tilted green. You'll note that there's some French pictures from around this time which also looked a little like this (Melville's ARMY OF SHADOWS 35mm revival prints had this look). No doubt this is a result of the fact that the film was originally printed and released from (and this was restored from) color reversal – and color reversals tend to have a greenish-bluish cast "built-in" to a degree – plus the fact that the DP and lab at the time made choices because of that fact." (Thanks Peter!)

NOTE: We have added 50 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Kino use a DTS-HD Master dual-mono track (16-bit) in the original Italian language. Illustrious Corpses has aggressive in trains, planes etc. ('urban transport landscape' as described by Cox in the commentary) that often drowns out the score by Piero Piccioni (Two Mules For Alex, Fox With a Velvet Tail, Three Brothers, Sartana's Here... Trade Your Pistol for a Coffin, The 10th Victim, Adua and Her Friends, Hands Over the City,  L'assassino, The Moment of Truth) sounding clean with obvious sync'ing. Kino offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Kino Blu-ray offers a new commentary by Alex Cox  (author of the indispensable '10,000 Ways to Die: A Director's Take on the Spaghetti Western') who is always excellent to listen to. Here he talks about director Francesco Rosi, the extreme politics of film, and art, in Italy. He discusses cinematography by Pasqualino De Santis, the music by Piero Piccioni, the prolific producer Alberto Grimaldi and members of the cast including Lino Ventura, Alain Cuny, Fernando Rey, Max von Sydow etc. He takes some healthy pauses but I still found it rife with details. Plenty of value here. There is also a theatrical trailer for the film.     

Francesco Rosi's Illustrious Corpses has a brilliant measured build. It circles around political corruptions and the mystery of the, vendetta-like, murdered judges. In 2008, the film was selected to enter the list of the 100 Italian films to be saved. Ventura is great as the methodical, stalwart, careful cop. This is an excellent crime-thriller. With the Cox commentary the Kino Blu-ray is strongly recommended despite our reservations on the restoration.

Gary Tooze

 


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Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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