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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "La Chiave" or "Le Clef" or "Le Cle")

 

directed by Tinto Brass
Italy 1983

 

After twenty years of marriage, art professor Nino (Frank Finlay, LIFEFORCE) decides to manipulate his modest Teresa (Stefania Sandrelli, THE CONFORMIST) into an affair with their daughter's fiancée Laszlo (Brass regular Franco Branciaroli) by piquing her interest in his private diary. Onto the game, she in turn manipulates him into discovering her own diary to read of the affair. While Nino finds himself aroused by his own jealousy (which will come as no surprise to any one who has ever seen a Tinto Brass film), his fascist daughter Lisa (Barbara Cupisti, THE CHURCH) reactions are equally unconventional.

After the high budget SALON KITTY and the Penthouse fiasco CALIGULA, Brass took creative control over the imaginative 16mm-shot ACTION before while mounting a couple aborted larger projects before setting the standard for all of his future output with THE KEY; although THE KEY more so than the subsequent productions (with perhaps the exception of SENSO '45/BLACK ANGEL) successfully skirts the line between arthouse and softcore erotica thanks to the lead performances, a score by Ennio Morricone, and a sense of humor that is organic with the melodramatic aspects of the story. Produced by Giovanni Bertolucci (on a budget lower than those he raised for his Visconti pictures), THE KEY has convincing period production values and Brass conveys his Venice with an intimate knowledge without skirting on lovely picturesque imagery of the city.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 19 October 1983

Reviews                                More Reviews                                   DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Raro (2009 subtitled reissue) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Cult Epics (2004 anamorphic reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Raro (2009 subtitled reissue) - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

2) Cult Epics (2004 anamorphic reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Raro

Region 2 - PAL

Cult Epics
Region 0 - NTSC
Arrow Video
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:50:32 (4% PAL speedup) 1:45:15 (4% PAL speedup) 1:50:44.596
Video

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.66 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.69:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.54 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size : 25,644,574,076 bytes

Feature: 24,843,132,864 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Average Bitrate: 25.00 Mbps

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

Bitrate:

 

Raro (2009 subtitled reissue)

 

Bitrate:

 

Cult Epics (2004 anamorphic reissue)

 

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)

English/Italian (Dolby Digital 1.0 mono)

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio Italian 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Subtitles English, none English (for Italian dialogue) English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Raro

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with Tinto Brass (16:9; 28:40; Italian with English subtitles)
• Trailer (16:9; 3:01; Italian)
• Photo Gallery

DVD Release Date:
Amaray

Chapters 12
 

Release Information:
Studio: Cult Epics

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.69:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with Tinto Brass (4:3; 16:47; English)
• Photo Gallery
• Stefania Sandrelli Filmography
• Tinto Brass Filmography
• THE KEY trailer (4:3 lbx; 3:00; English)
• MIRANDA trailer (4:3 lbx; 2:43; English)
• ALL LADIES DO IT trailer (4:3 lbx; 3:16; English)
 

DVD Release Date: August 31, 2004
Amaray

Chapters 13

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size : 24,281,587,410 bytes

Feature: 23,189,508,096 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Average Bitrate: 26.99 Mbps

 

Edition Details:

• Optional English and Italian audio
Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian audio
• Original Trailer
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly illustrated artwork by The Red Dress
• Collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Tinto Brass scholar Alexander Tuschinski, illustrated with rare production stills  

 

Blu-ray Release Date: May 20th, 2013
Custom
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 12

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Arrow - Region 'B' Blu-ray - May 2013': Like licensor Filmexport’s other 16:9 SD - with one of the rare exceptions being the PAL master of THE KEY - and HD masters thus far of 1.66:1 films, they have cropped the image to 1.78:1 (the reframing is rarely ruinous here but headroom is often cramped). The running time suggests that Arrow master comes from the export version (the Australian and Greek tape releases were in English but also featured the Italian-only dialogue sequences, the former with optically printed English subtitles) - passed without cuts for the first time in the UK - which lacks some explicit shots featured in Brass’ director’s cut as seen on Raro’s DVD including additional shots of male and female frontal nudity (as well as views of rubber phalluses that would become more prevalent in Brass’ later films) and a three minute sequence in which Finlay examines a piece of artwork and becomes dizzy followed by a short sequence where Sandrelli purchases a diary from a local shop. These bits are not essential (the film has been regarded as one of Brass’ best long before they were revealed) but the artwork scene gives more shadings to Finlay’s character and is an early indication of his declining health, and the more explicit inserts tip the film into Brassian territory and farther away from the drearier attempts at artsy Italian erotica from the same period.

***

ON THE DVDS: Raro's DVD is an English subtitled reissue of a disc they released just the year before without any English options. It runs 5 minutes longer than the PAL-converted Cult Epics edition (which itself ran 5 minutes longer than an even earlier Italian DVD release which had a hidden English track). Among the restored scenes is a lengthy sequence at the Academy in which Nino keeps to himself the discovery that the Klimt drawings on display are forgeries as well as a shot featuring a possibly faked erection during Teresa and Laszlo's first encounter. Digitally mastered from a positive copy, the anamorphic 1.66:1 image is contrastier than the Cult Epics edition and lacks that transfer's pleasing warm tone (on the other hand, the saturated reds and blues stand out more in the Italian transfer which also reveals more picture info on three sides of the frame). While it is nice to have the complete Italian track with English subtitles (though the English subtitles are not as detailed as on the Cult Epics disc during the opening scene - the gossip assuming that Teresa must be unfaithful to Nino is relevant), the Italian version loses the voice of Frank Finlay who dubbed his own performance (Stefania Sandrelli dubbed herself on both tracks). Besides the Italian trailer, the Raro disc also includes an exclusive interview with Tinto Brass with English subtitles.

 


The Cult Epics disc under review is a 2004 anamorphic reissue that was previously only available in a boxed set with MIRANDA and
ALL LADIES DO IT (the original 2002 release was non-anamorphic widescreen despite the cover saying it was 16:9). The menus are the same (though stretched to 16:9) as is the English language Brass interview and English language trailers (the trailer for ALL LADIES DO IT features exclusive footage of Brass and star Claudia Koll - Brass speaks English in the trailer but Koll is dubbed as she is in the film). The Cult Epics disc not as complete as the Raro disc but it is well worth seeking out for the English track (several Italian only snippets are subtitled in English - since the snippets are sometimes single lines or in the middle of scenes, one assumes that the English dub was prepared for Cannon's aborted US release since this version has turned up on tape in Australia with print subtitles).

The R2 Arrow disc is the same cut (which was longer than the previous British theatrical and video releases) as the Cult Epics version but is also 4:3 letterbox despite claiming to be 16:9. While it would not have the PAL-NTSC artifacting it does not subtitle the Italian dialogue.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


Menus
(
Raro (2009 subtitled reissue) - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Cult Epics (2004 anamorphic reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE BELOW TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Raro (2009 subtitled reissue) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Cult Epics (2004 anamorphic reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Raro (2009 subtitled reissue) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Cult Epics (2004 anamorphic reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


1) Raro (2009 subtitled reissue) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Cult Epics (2004 anamorphic reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


1) Raro (2009 subtitled reissue) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Cult Epics (2004 anamorphic reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Raro (2009 subtitled reissue) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Cult Epics (2004 anamorphic reissue) - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray


 
Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Raro

Region 2 - PAL

Cult Epics
Region 0 - NTSC
Arrow Video
Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 





 

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