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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Death Occurred Last Night aka La morte risale a ieri sera [Blu-ray]

 

(Duccio Tessari, 1970)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Central Cinema Company Film (CCC)

Video: Raro USA

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:37:38.018 

Disc Size: 23,410,219,432 bytes

Feature Size: 21,113,892,864 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Release date: May 6th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio Italian 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

Video introduction by Chris Alexander (7:12)
Original English Theatrical trailer (2:38)

Fully illustrated booklet by Chris Alexander

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: An astute mix of classic Italian crime and giallo, Duccio Tessari’s Death Occurred Last Night is a dark slow burning murder mystery. A mentally handicapped woman is kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery, sending her distressed father and a jaded police detective on the hunt for clues in Milan’s underworld. Tessari (THE BLOODSTAINED BUTTERFLY) keeps a tight rein on the action, focusing on the characters and their collective desire for justice and revenge. An unforgettable, disturbing and fascinating thriller.

 

 

The Film:

Though not a giallo film in the strictest sense, this crime/revenge film merits attention by fans for its genre cast and an unusual approach to familiar themes. Raf Vallone plays anguished father Avanzio Berzaghi, whose 25-year old daughter Donatella has been kidnapped. Donatella has the mind of a toddler, and her beauty and agreeable naivete make her a perfect choice for Milan's seedy prostitution racket. Frank Wolff is a dedicated Inspector with bad sinuses who shakes down a sleazy pimp and a desperate black prostitute (Beryl Cunningham of The Snake God), as well as visiting scores of local brothels for clues. Tragically, he is too late, and Donatella's corpse is found in a field, still smoking from having been burned alive. Wolff redoubles his efforts, but it is Vallone, using nothing more than his daughter's teddy-bear and a father's lust for justice, who finally tracks down the killers. His laundromat vengeance is brutal, but unsatisfying, leaving him a broken man. Director Duccio Tessari, best known for westerns and a memorable giallo called The Blood-Stained Butterfly, imbues this story with a great deal more humanity than is typical for the genre. The plot, adapted from G. Scerbanenco's novel The Milanese Kill on Saturday, has its problems, but Tessari's focus on character minimizes the inconsistencies, presenting a gritty, powerful portrait of a dehumanizing urban Hell. This neglected gem suffers only from Gianni Ferrio's inexplicably bouncy music, but is otherwise a winner all the way.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

The key words that sum up this 1970 giallo from Duccio Tessari are downbeat, depressing and disturbing – and I mean those as compliments.

At the same time, one can easily appreciate how this would not help its recognition by closed-minded genre fans – good time, trashy entertainment it is not – while the same fact of being made by someone previously responsible for sundry pepla, spaghettis and superspies likely meant it tended to go under-appreciated by mainstream critics; as evinced by Tom Milne's Monthly Film Bulletin review of the time, wherein he argued that the film seemed “to be wrestling with ideas rather above its station”.

If only it were a case of 'their loss being our gain', but with only grey market sources available – and here I must thank Paul for giving me the opportunity to at least see the film – it is another instance where the limitations of the presentation mean that a certain degree of dedication to the cause, above and beyond what should really be required is necessary

Excerpt from Giallo Fever located HERE

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

Death Occurred Last Night appears quite strong on Blu-ray from Raro Films. It's advertised as fully restored from the 35mm print and I wouldn't argue looking at the 1080P transfer of this, almost, 45-year old film. The image quality shows some grit and minor grain but is sparklingly clean and smooth. It may be a touch overly-digitized with a shade of glossy waxiness but I'd say it is relatively minor. Any softness seems likely inherent in the print.  This is only single-layered but has a supportive bitrate utilizing the, less-used, VC-1 encode. Colors seem tight and detail impressive with frequent examples of depth. Skin tones seem true and contrast exhibits healthy black levels. It is in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio (not the advertised 1.75:1). Overall, the Blu-ray provides a strong video presentation.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is in a linear PCM 2.0 channel in both original Italian, and a typically awkward English DUB option) both at 1536 kbps. It sounds clear, not a lot of depth and some minor scattering of dialogue. The score is by Gianni Ferrio (Crime of Passion, Kreola) with a couple of songs performed by Anna Maria Quaini or Mina Mazzini, known simply as Mina, one of the most successful Italian singers of all time. It has electric riffs - a telltale of the 70's and adds to the film's character. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Extras :

Supplements include a 7-minute introduction by Chris Alexander of Fangoria Magazine, the original English-language trailer and the package contains an illustrated booklet by with essay by the aforementioned Chris Alexander.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Death Occurred Last Night is an interesting mystery-revenge-thriller - pretty standard production for the genre but more polished than your typical drama of this ilk. It has all the grit, rough edges, syntho-score and obtuse cinematography that give it the charm that many seek delving into this cycle. The Blu-ray transfer is quite impressive. I doubt we're going to see it looking any better and for those keen on - we recommend! 

Gary Tooze

April 23rd, 2014

 

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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