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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Il Profumo della Signora in Nero" or "Perfume of the Lady in Black")

 

directed by Francesco Barilli
Italy

 

Sylvia Hacherman (Mimsy Farmer, FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET) is a young workaholic chemist living alone in an old apartment building in Rome (the exterior facade of which later showed up prominently in the Rome sequence of Dario Argento's INFERNO). When she attends a party with her geologist boyfriend Roberto (Maurizio Bonuglia, TOP SENSATION/THE SEDUCERS) for African university professor Andy (Jho Jenkins, SHAFT IN AFRICA), she is unnerved when the talk turns to black magic and human sacrifice. She is further unnerved when she subsequently pricks her finger on a nail while playing tennis with Andy, Roberto, and neighbor Francesca (Donna Jordan, L'AMOUR). When Roberto goes away for a week, Sylvia starts to have hallucinations involving her dead mother and her perverted lover. Francesca drags Sylvia to a party where a blind psychic (Nike Arrighi, THE DEVIL'S OWN) recounts the drowning death of Sylvia's sailor father and the mysterious death of her mother. Sylvia's apartment is then invaded by a malicious younger version of herself (Lara Wendel, TENEBRE) who tells her that everyone else is evil and out to get her. When Francesca mysteriously dies, Sylvia retreats into isolation. When she discovers that her mother's lover Nicola (Orazio Orlando, POLICEWOMAN) has been spying on her, she believes the answer may lie in her traumatic past, but the solution may be something more sinister and shocking.

Although she started out as an AIP contract player in the sixties, Farmer found much of her success abroad starting with Barbet Schroder's MORE and George Lautner's ROAD TO SALINA. Having already played father-obsessed, paranoid neurotics in Dario Argento's
FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET and Armando Crispino's AUTOPSY, she was perfect for director Francesco Barilli's riff on ROSEMARY'S BABY (with a dash of REPULSION) and she's up to the task of this semi-one-woman-show. Although Farmer shares the screen with an interesting supporting cast, the script dials back characterization on most of them since they are seen through Sylvia's distorted worldview (the film also shows her friends, colleagues, and strangers she has encountered engaged in vague, sinister interactions outside of her awareness, but this may too be part of her delusion). Oscar winner Nicola Piovani's score recalls Krzysztof Komeda's score for the Polanski film, weaving a lullaby that is anything but soothing throughout several cues in different arrangements. Barilli's only other genre directorial effort PENSIONE PAURA is only available on Italian DVD without English options (Barilli - along with Lucio Fulci - contributed to the scenario of Giuseppe Petroni Griffi's erotic thriller LA GABBIA/THE TRAP [1985] with Tony Musante, Florinda Bolkan, and Laura Antonelli).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 29 March 1974 (Italy)

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DVD Comparison:

Raro Video/E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Raro Video - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(Raro Video/E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Raro Video - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Raro Video/E1 Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Raro Video
Region 0 - PAL
Runtime 1:43:24 1:39:18 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.84:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.25 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.84:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.2 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:

 

Raro Video/E1 Entertainment

 

Bitrate:

 

Raro Video

 

Audio Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Subtitles English, none English, Italian, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Raro Video/E1 Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.84:1

Edition Details:
• PORTRAIT IN BLACK documentary (4:3; 26:07 - in Italian with English subtitles)
• Director Filmography/Biography

DVD Release Date: 2March 22nd, 2011
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Raro Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.84:1

Edition Details:
• RITRATTO IN NERO documentary (4:3; 23:27 - in Italian with optional English subtitles)
• Director Biography/Filmography

 

DVD Release Date:
Amaray

Chapters 10

 

Comments

Never shown theatrically or released on video in the United States, Barilli's film was previously only available to English-speaking audiences as grey market dubs of the film's rare English-dubbed, Greek-subtitled PAL cassette release. The Italian arm of Raro Video released the film on disc in 2004 with English and Italian audio and subtitle options as well as an interview with director Francesco Barilli with optional English subtitles.

Raro/E1's DVD ports over the extras (minus the deafening Nocturno Horror Club logo) and audio options (but drops the Italian subtitles) along with a higher bitrate presentation at film speed. The English subtitles on the Raro/E1 disc are smaller, thinner, and less obtrusive. The Raro/E1 audio seems louder (both discs' audio tracks have had some noise reduction with some faint hiss remaining). There does not seem to be any edge enhancement on either transfer. The Raro Italy transfer is a hair brighter, but the darker Raro/E1 version may be truer. The short booklet essay "The Perfume of the Lady in Black within the context of 1960's horror" is the same one that appears in the Raro Italy booklet (which provides it in both Italian and English). The improvement may not be dramatic, but the Raro/E1 disc is a fine (and readily available) substitute/upgrade for the import edition.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
(
Raro Video/E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Raro Video - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Raro Video/E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Raro Video - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)
Subtitle sample

 


(Raro Video/E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Raro Video - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Raro Video/E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Raro Video - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Raro Video/E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Raro Video - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Raro Video/E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Raro Video - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Raro Video/E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Raro Video - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Raro Video/E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Raro Video - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Draw

Sound:

Raro/E1

Extras: Draw
Menu: Draw

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Raro Video/E1 Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Raro Video
Region 0 - PAL

 

 


 




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