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DETECTIVE DOUBLE BILL

Blade (1973)       Ring of Death (1969)

John Marley is BLADE, a Dirty Harry-wannabe fighting a "psycho-karate killer who brutalizes his victims AND YOUR EMOTIONS" while Franco Nero is a menace to society, "but it's okay, 'cause he's a cop" in RING OF DEATH (aka UN DETECTIVE aka DETECTIVE BELLI), the two films on Code Red's DETECTIVE DOUBLE BILL. Jon Cypher, Keene Curtis, and Joe Santos also star in BLADE, while RING OF DEATH features Florinda Bolkan, Marino Mase, Adolfo Celi, Maurizio Bonuglia, and Roberto Bisacco.

 

directed by Ernest Pintoff
USA 1973

 

A "psycho-karate killer" is prowling the streets and murdering innocent women, at least that's what the advertising would have us believe. When Melinda Powers (Jeanne Lange) is brutally murdered in her apartment building hallway, her senator father (William Prince, SACCO & VANZETTI) would like to believe that the murderer is her black boyfriend Henry Watson (Ted Lange, TV's THE LOVE BOAT) and he is less than pleased to discover that Jimmy Blade (John Marley, THE GODFATHER) is on the case. Then the prostitute (Raina Barret, STIGMA) who ran into the killer that night is also murdered while Watson is in jail, so Powers' aide Steiner (Keene Curtis, SLIVER) pressures Blade's boss Rearden (John Schuck, McCABE AND MRS. MILLER) to rush Blade's retirement and Quincy (Michael Maguire, BEYOND DEATH’S DOOR), the detective investigating the prostitute's death, to find no connection between her murder and that of Melinda. Meanwhile, secretary Joanne Connors (Karen Machon) has grown suspicious of new account executive Frederick Peterson (Jon Cypher, FOOD OF THE GODS) and asks her friend Gail (Rue McClanahan, TV's MAUDE) to look into his past (which includes a court-marshalling). When Peterson learns that Blade is investigating the case, he begins to stalk him and his wife (Kathryn Walker, SLAP SHOT). BLADE is a flat-out awful DIRTY HARRY wannabe. John Cacavas' (HORROR EXPRESS) score is too classy for the flat photography, bare sound design, abrupt editing, and tension-free confrontations. The plot is ridiculously convoluted with several characters and plot threads introduced and then dropped (including threats from a Black Panther-esque contact of Blade's played by Morgan Freeman) and some seemingly improvised dialogue scenes just fizzle out. Joe Santos (TV's THE SOPRANOS) has the pretty thankless role as Blade’s partner.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 1973 (USA)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Code Red Releasing (Detective Crime Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Code Red Releasing

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:29:48
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.5 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Code Red Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Trailers for CUT-THROATS NINE, DEATH JOURNEY, DETECTIVE BELLI, NIGHTMARE, and RUNNING HOT
• Optional 42nd Street Experience viewing option

DVD Release Date: August 23rd, 2011
Amaray

Chapters 9

 

Comments

The A-feature in this double bill is in poor shape. The progressive, anamorphic transfer has murky night scenes, green scratches, and some dropped dialogue at one of the reel change (the softness can mostly be blamed on the shoddy cinematography). On the other hand, this is the original PG version of the film (back before PG-13 was invented and "parentally guided" had the possibility of seeing bare breasts and blood shed). The versions circulating on VHS before this have been derived from the 1979 TV version which deleted the nudity and most of the violence (the first murder happens offscreen in that version) and featured some new footage (including a theater marquee advertising APOCALYPSE NOW to suggest that the film was not already six years old).

No trailer for the film is included, but trailers for other films are viewable either separately or with the "42nd Street Experience" which places two of the trailers before BLADE and two more before RING OF DEATH.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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(aka "Un Detective" or "Detective Belli" or "Macchie di Belletto")

 

directed by Romolo Guerrieri
Italy 1969

Corrupt Commisioner Belli (Franco Nero, DJANGO) is secretly retained by wealthy lawyer Fontana (Adolfo Celi, LIVE LIKE A COP, DIE LIKE A MAN) to make trouble for English model Sandy Bronson (Delia Boccardo, TENTACLES) who is engaged to his son Mino (Maurizio Bononuglia, PERFUME OF THE LADY IN BLACK). Fontana also wants him to look into recording studio owner Romani (Marino Mase, FISTS IN THE POCKET) who Mino wants to partner with in a business deal. After intimidating Sandy, Belli goes to visit Romani only to find that he has been murdered. He recognizes the apartment doorman's description of a visiting woman as Sandy and gets her to confess that she had been sleeping with Romani and Mino found out. Naturally, Fontana is not pleased to discover that his son might become a murder suspect, nor is Mino's doting stepmother Vera (Florinda Bolkan, A LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S SKIN). A torn photo of a naked woman (whose face is missing) seems to be the motive for murder but Sandy claims it is not her (and Vera strips to prove it wasn't her either). Belli learns that singer Emmanuelle (Susana Martinkova, FRIVOLOUS LOLA) was introduced to Romani by Mino and a naked picture of her could have lead to a scandal (but Emmanuelle points out that a scandal could be good or bad for a singer). Belli plays Russian Roulette with Sandy in his car (denting several other cars on the road and knocking down some pedestrians) and she admits that she wanted Fontana to buy her off marrying his son and that she and Mino found Romani dead together. If blackmail wasn't the motive, why was Romani killed? Based on Ludovico Dentice's MACCHIE DI BELLETTO, UN DETECTIVE is not quite a giallo and not quite an Italian crime film (or at least, it is the crime equivalent of one of the pre-Argento jet-set gialli - including UN DETECTIVE director Romolo Guerrieri's SWEET BODY OF DEBORAH with Carroll Baker). The plot is logical, although extremely convoluted and Nero gets to rough up several members of the supporting cast. He has more chemistry with Bolkan than Boccardo, but Bolkan (and Celi) are pretty much relegated to "special guest star" appearances. The resolution to the mystery favors a greed explanation over one involving some of the story's inherent perversion (and the ending is a bit abrupt, more so in the US theatrical version), but it is a breezy Italian thriller with a wonderful blues score by Fred Bongusto (THE EROTICIST), colorful photography by Roberto Gerardi (AVERE VENT'ANNI), and pop art sets by Giantito Burchiellaro (JULIET OF THE SPIRITS).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 6 September 1969 (Italy)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Code Red Releasing (Detective Crime Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

Runtime 1:30:48
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.53 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Code Red Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:49)

Amaray

Chapters 9

 

Comments

Although the cover and main menu use TV title RING OF DEATH (under which it was released on VHS at least three times), the onscreen title is DETECTIVE BELLI, the title of the US theatrical release (by SUPERFLY producer Sig Shore's Plaza Pictures in 1970). For the most part, the progressive, anamorphic picture's print source is well-preserved with bold colors (including some reds in the set decoration and the blues of Franco Nero's eyes in every one of his close-ups). There are scratches here and there, and flesh tones get a little redder in some darker scenes, but the transfer is free of digital manipulation and sports some wonderful detail for a 35mm print of an obscure foreign film from a long-defunct American distributor. The US theatrical version's running time falls short of the original Italian version's 98 minutes (some dialogue and bits of scenes were never dubbed into English, but the ending is definitely curtailed - either by the distributor or as part of the assembly of the English export version).

There is some audio distortion in the first reel that affects the brass of Fred Bongusto's score and some of the voices, although the dialogue is always clear and the rest of the audio for the rest of the film is in better shape. The Italian DVD sports the longer cut, but also duller - although more stable - colors and no English audio or subtitles.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
 

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Code Red Releasing

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 


 




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