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(aka "Medaglione Insanguinato" or "The Cursed Medallion" or "Il medaglione insanguinato - Perche?" or "Emilie, l'enfant des ténèbres" )

 

directed by Massimo Dallamano
Italy/UK 1975

 

BBC documentary filmmaker Michael Williams (Richard Johnson, THE HAUNTING) is doing a film on the devil in art. He is intrigued by a slide of a painting depicting a Boschian mob pursuing a little girl in white under a falling angel (which reminds him of the death of his wife in a fire) with the devil himself lording over the scene. With his daughter Emily (Nicoletta Elmi, DEEP RED) - who was traumatized by witnessing her mother's death - her nanny Jill (Evelyn Stewart, MURDER MANSION), and spunky American producer Joanna (Joanna Cassidy, BLADE RUNNER), Williams travels to Spoletto to film the documentary. The psychically-inclined countess (Lila Kedrova, BLOOD TIDE) who provided him with slides of the local artwork warns him not to use the painting which she believes to be cursed. Having found the abandoned villa where the painting hangs, Williams goes ahead with the filming while his daughter's behavior becomes more erratic and possessive. After a ghostly flaw on the film necessitates reshoots, Williams discovers a medallion that looks exactly like the one his daughter wears, and the countess uncovers startling information about the little girl in the painting who may be reincarnated in Emily (who has exhibited dangerous animosity towards Joanna and Jill who both have romantic interests in her father).

Former cinematographer Massimo Dallamano (FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE) follows up his crime films (SUPER BITCH) and thrillers (WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE?) with this lyrical take on the child possession movies of the mid-seventies, though he never resorts to Linda-Blairisms to convey the daughter's behavior. The wintry London and autumnal Spoletto locations are lovingly captured by Franco Delli Colli, and Stelvio Cipriani's score largely eschews traditional horror music - the few instances of it anticipate his work with Goblin on SOLAMENTE NERO [1978] - in favor of variations on a romantic theme that infuse the story with a sense of inevitable tragedy. The "Perché?!" subtitle of the film's Italian title reappears at the end of the film echoing the ghost child's question before the final fade out (neither the subtitle nor the end narration are included in the English version).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: March 1976 (USA)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

01 Distribution - Region 0 - PAL vs. Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(01 Distribution - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

01 Distribution

Region 0 - PAL

Code Red Releasing
Region 0 - NTSC
Arrow Video
Region 0 - PAL
Runtime 1:27:40 (4% PAL speedup) 1:28:51 1:27:36 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 9.14 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.31 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.9 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:

 

01 Distribution

 

Bitrate:

 

Code Red Releasing

 

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Video

 

Audio Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Subtitles English, Italian, none none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: 01 Distribution

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:22)
• Still Gallery
• Plot Synopsis
• Cast and Crew Listing
• Riccardo Garrone biography/filmography
• Joanna Cassidy filmography
• DVD Credits
• Trailers for WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE?, PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES, and SPIE VENGONO DAL SEMIFREDDO

DVD Release Date: 4 October 2005
Amaray

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Code Red Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with Richard Johnson (16:9; 6:53)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:06)
• Trailers for THE CARRIER, HORROR HIGH, SLITHIS, EXTERMINATORS OF THE YEAR 3000, and LIGHT BLAST

 

DVD Release Date: 7 September 2010
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Exorcism: Italian-style (16:9; 12:42)
• Italian Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:22)
• US Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:54)
• Liner Notes Booklet by Calum Wadell
• Reversible Cover

 

DVD Release Date: 29 October 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Arrow's dual-layer, anamorphic transfer is likely derived from the same master as the Itailan disc from 01 Distribution (which took advantage of producer Fulvio Lucisano's HD remaster struck for exhibition at the Venice Film Festival in 2005).

The English and Italian versions feature different title sequences, slightly different ordering of some scenes, exclusive footage, sound effects, and placement of music cues; for instance, the US version superimposes Emily's sleeping face over her first nightmare scene to emphasize that it is a dream while the Italian version merely seamlessly segues into the dream (on the other hand, a scene of Emily studying some statues in the park triggers a nightmarish flashback featuring a village mob in the Italian version but not in the English version) so the running times of the PAL and NTSC discs do not reflect the usual timing differences of the differing framerates.

Code Red's out-of-print interlaced DVD is also HD-mastered, but it is derived from the American CRI negatives, which exhibits some faint damage and slightly different shadings. For some reason, the final shot (nearly a minute and a half) is framed at 1.54:1. It's admirable that Code Red did their own transfer but it lacks the vibrancy of the Italian master; however, because of these variations in the English version, the Code Red release is certainly well worth tracking down for the film's fans.

While the Italian disc featured only the Italian track with optional English subtitles and the Code Red featured only the English dub track (including the real voices of Johnson and Cassidy), Arrow has synchronized the English track to the Italian cut (in addition to including the Italian track and English subtitles). The Italian mono track is a little cleaner than the English track (which can distort at the high end during the passages dominated by the music score).

The Italian disc's only substantial extra is the film's Italian trailer (and trailers for other Luciscano IIF productions). Code Red undeservingly consigned the film to their "Septic Cinema" line and the Richard Johnson interview is actually ported over from their special edition of BEYOND THE DOOR. The film's US trailer is the only other extra of substance.

Arrow's disc includes the US and Italian trailers, as well as the featurette "Exorcism: Italian-Style" which traces the sub-genre back before THE EXORCIST to ROSEMARY'S BABY and features commentary by director Luigi Cozzi, screenwriter Antonio Tentori, and critic Paolo Zelati. Besides THE NIGHT CHILD, the featurette also includes discussion of Italian EXORCIST spin-offs BEYOND THE DOOR, THE ANTICHRIST (THE TEMPTER), as well as Mario Bava's LISA AND THE DEVIL (and it's heavily re-edited/reshot version HOUSE OF EXORCISM) and SHOCK (BEYOND THE DOOR II). A liner notes booklet by Calum Waddel features an overview of Dallamano's directorial career, as well as comparison screenshots between the different English and Italian title sequences.
 

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
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01 Distribution - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 
 

   

 


 

Screen Captures

(01 Distribution - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)
Subtitle sample

 


(01 Distribution - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(01 Distribution - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(01 Distribution - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(01 Distribution - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(01 Distribution - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(01 Distribution - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Code Red Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Arrow Video - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Draw (for different cuts of the film)

Sound:

Arrow Video

Extras: Arrow Video
Menu: Draw (01 Distribution/Arrow Video)

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

01 Distribution

Region 0 - PAL

Code Red Releasing
Region 0 - NTSC
Arrow Video
Region 0 - PAL

 



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