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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Baba Yaga [Blu-ray]

 

(Corrado Farina, 1973)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: 14 Luglio Cinematografica

Video: Blue Underground

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:22:25.397

Disc Size: 20,492,735,787 bytes

Feature Size: 17,576,515,584 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.97 Mbps

Chapters: 17

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 28th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1798 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1798 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1781 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1781 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English (for Italian Version), French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Farina and Valentina - Interview with Director Corrado Farina (21:39)
Freud in Color - Guido Crepax Documentary (12:06)
Deleted and Censored Scenes (10:01)
Theatrical Trailer (3:33)
Poster & Still Gallery
Comic Book-to-Film Comparison

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The Psychedelic Shocker Based On The Erotic Comics Of Guido Crepax...


Legendary sex symbol Carroll Baker (BABY DOLL, THE WATCHER IN THE WOODS) stars as a mysterious sorceress with an undying hunger for sensual ecstasy and unspeakable torture. But when she casts a spell over a beautiful young fashion photographer (the gorgeous Isabelle De Funes), Milan's most luscious models are sucked into a nightmare world of lesbian seduction and shocking sadism. Are these carnal crimes the result of one woman's forbidden fantasies or is this the depraved curse of the devil witch known as BABA YAGA?

George Eastman (THE GRIM REAPER, HORRIBLE) co-stars in this provocative EuroShocker (also known as DEVIL WITCH and KISS ME KILL ME) written and directed by Corrado Farina and based on the notorious S&M comic Valentina by Guido Crepax. Blue Underground is now proud to present BABA YAGA newly transferred from pristine vault materials and presented in kinky High Definition!

 

 

The Film:

The groundbreaking adult-themed comic strips of pioneer artist Guido Crepax are brought to life in this mod, hallucinatory melange of fashion, fetish and the supernatural. It doesn't have much of a plot — and what plot there is isn't really explained — but avant garde editing and a surfeit of style make it worth a view for anyone with tastes off the beaten path.

French actress Isabelle De Funès plays Valentina, heroine of Crepax's late '60s strip named for the character. A celebrated fashion photographer living the jet-setter lifestyle in Milan, she hangs out with models, directors, artists, and leftist intellectuals. One night, while walking home to her studio flat after a party, Valentina is almost run down by an antique Rolls. The driver is a mysterious older woman (Carroll Baker) dressed in the black garb of a Victorian widow.

Excerpt from Eccentric-Cinema located HERE

Mixture of sex and horror based on the comic strips of Guido Crepax, whose main character Valentina (played by Louis de Funès' niece Isabelle), famous fashion photographer and clothes-fetishist, gets involved in those weird adventures which all hot-blooded males are supposed to dream about. Here she meets up with lesbian witch Baba Yaga (Baker), who lures her into a murky old house with snakes, rusty sewing machines, and a bottomless pit concealed under the carpet. Followers of Crepax will find only a few moments which recall the master's style. The rest (though Farina claimed that scenes of political relevance were removed by the producers) can be safely left to connoisseurs of handsomely photographed, high class trash.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

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

Blue Underground do nice transfers and Baba Yaga is no exception. The Blu-ray holds nice grain and surprising detail in close-ups for a single-layered rendering.  The image quality shows excellent contrast and the colors are bright. There are some frame-specific speckles - but not much to hinder the presentation. I didn't recall any strong noise. This Blu-ray has a consistent feel and even the old footage with more damage blends in well. I see no evidence of manipulation and I think this look pretty solid for a 40-year old 'heavily dated' film. For those sensitive - yes, of course there is plenty of nudity but nothing I would consider 'graphic' - mostly hinted at.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Blue Underground offer technically similar English and Italian tracks - both via DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel stereo at 1800 kbps. There is some perceived depth and it sounds reasonably clear with, predictable, weak dubbing. The original music is by Piero Umiliani - who had a lot of work in the late 60's and 70's. The track is dated but matches the mood with some funky electric vibes. You'd have to say this has real kitsch value. There are English (SDH) subtitles or English for the Italian DUB (as well as French and Spanish). My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

As per usual, Blue Underground supply some excellent extras - 'Farina and Valentina' features a 22-minute interview with director Corrado Farina in Italian with English subtitles. Also, of interest, is 'Freud in Color' a Guido Crepax Documentary running for about a dozen minutes infused with some of the artists style. The 10-minutes of Deleted and Censored Scenes don't really showcase too much and are in mediocre shape. There is a, reasonably lengthy, theatrical trailer, some fanciful Poster & Still Gallery images and a Comic Book-to-Film Comparison.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Sultry Euro-trash? Maybe an accurate description but I think it even has some appeal beyond that. The artsy fast-cuts can be headache-inducing but I kinda got into the spirit of things - more, I suspect, due to ultra-thin, and all eyes and lips, Isabelle De Funès - whom the camera genuinely adores. I have no complaints regarding the Blu-ray
- another fine job by Blue Underground. My only reservations in recommending would be the film not the package. It is certainly an acquired taste - and understandably not everyone's cup of tea. 

Gary Tooze

February 26th, 2012

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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