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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Ms. 45 [Blu-ray]


(Abel Ferrara, 1981)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Navaron Films

Video: New Video Group / Drafthouse Films



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:20:51.429

Disc Size: 23,467,806,027 bytes

Feature Size: 15,201,454,080 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.99 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: March 25th, 2014



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1709 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1709 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)



English (SDH), none



Interview with Director Abel Ferrara (7:45)

Interview with Composer Joe Delia (10:06)

Interview with Creative Consultant Jack MacIntyre (10:32)

• Zoe XO (6:23)

• Zoe Rising (6:01)

• 6 Trailers (Ms. 45 1:18)

Digital Copy

32-page liner notes booklet with photos and essay





Description: Abel Ferrara’s (Bad Lieutenant, King Of New York) 1981 revenge thriller classic Ms. 45 follows a mute garment-district seamstress – played by the late model/actress/musician/screenwriter ZoŽ Lund – who after falling victim to multiple unspeakable assaults, ignites her one-woman homicidal rampage against New York City’s entire male population. Now remastered in HD from the original negative materials, Ms. 45 returns to theaters this December and debuts on DVD and Blu-ray uncut for the first time in North America.


In Manhattan, the mute seamstress Thana is a timid woman who works in the fashion industry and spends most of her time at home. One night, she is raped in an alley while going home after dark, and before she arrives at her house, she is raped a second time by another criminal. This time, she reacts and kills the assaulter with a flatiron. The disturbed Thana then loses her sanity and uses the rapist s pistol to begin killing men on the streets of New York.



The Film:

Undeservedly thrashed by mainstream critics in its initial theatrical run, this stylish urban thriller from quirky director Abel Ferrara has since developed a modest cult following. The late Zoe Tamerlis stars as Thana, a mute seamstress in New York's Garment District who is raped by two different assailants in a single evening -- once on her way home, a second time in her apartment by a sleazy burglar (Peter Yellen). She manages to bludgeon her second attacker to death with an iron, keeping his .45 automatic and disposing of his body one piece at a time in various locations throughout the city. When a bystander tries to apprehend her after watching her dispose of another grisly piece of evidence, she shoots him dead with the automatic. This act of violent release triggers a latent misanthropic impulse in the waifish Thana -- who was not very stable to begin with -- and she begins pumping hot lead into any predatory male she can find. The bloodbath continues unabated until the surreal, Sam Peckinpah-inspired climax, in which our anti-heroine escapes a Halloween party to square off against multiple male foes while wearing a nun's habit and blood-red lipstick. This film could be viewed as a distaff version of Ferrara's Driller Killer; where the director's previous effort was purely nihilistic, with a killer driven by urban decay, here he depicts Thana as a gun-toting agent of revenge who seems to have absorbed the collective anger of wronged women everywhere -- including women exploited in other movies of the same genre.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Abel Ferrara opined that this made his previous film, Driller Killer, look like 'scratchings on the cave wall'. Who are we to disagree. Still working the gutter no-budget beat - a correlative to New York's no-wave punk music of the period - he brings a patina of slick visual sophistication to this rape/revenge thriller; more importantly, he allows a coherent, if extreme, feminist position to emerge. Nineteen-year-old Nastassja Kinski-lookalike ZoŽ Tamerlis plays Thana, a shy deaf-mute who works in New York's garment district. Raped twice within hours, she kills her second assailant and chops him up in the bathtub (an episode that finds its way into Alan Warner's novel Morvern Callar). Gaining confidence, she arms herself and woe to the chauvinist who crosses her path. It's a provocative, disreputable movie, well worth seeing. Regrettably, Tamerlis never really came through on her promise, though she co-wrote and appears in Bad Lieutenant as Zoe Lund. She died in 1999 of 'heart failure'.

Excerpt from TiemOut located HERE

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

Ms. 45 gets a surprise Blu-ray from Drafthouse Films. The director's fans have wanted to see this on on digital for decades.  This is only single-layered with a lowish bitrate but still looks quite acceptable. Colors seem brighter and truer than SD could relate although it can tend to look blocky at times. Skin tones seem unmanipulated and contrast exhibits healthy black levels. The film is not dynamically sharp but has impressive 1080P-style moments in close-ups. As with all film, we are at the mercy of the condition of the source but this has had some restoration and is touring theatrically again, I believe. There is no damage to speak of (a few very light vertical scratches) and only a smidgeon of noise. Depth doesn't show extensively. This Blu-ray seems to represent the original film very well. You couldn't really expect more. Thumbs up.


















Audio :

Audio is lossless via a DTS-HD Master 2.0 at 1709 kbps. It has similar imperfections to the video which can only indicate they are original-production related. Everything is clear - just occasionally scattered. Gun-play effects aren't dynamically powerful - almost hollow and subdued - which may have been the intent. Joe Delia did the score as he has for many Ferrara films. It has a real 70's and jazz infusion sound with horns notable. Very much suits the narrative. My Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

We get an 8-minute interview with, the always interesting, director Abel Ferrara discussing the evolution of the film and some of the production details, as well as 2 X 10-minutes interviews with composer Joe Batista and Creative Consultant Jack MacIntyre who both had relevant 'back' information to share about Ms. 45 or Ferrara. Batista is actually responsible fro the film's soundtrack coming to a new Vinyl release. Two new videos; ZoŽ XO and ZoŽ Rising - run a total of a dozen minutes and reflect on the actress who died in 1999 (at age 37). There are also 6 Trailers (on of which is for Ms. 45 running only 1:18 and the package contains a Digital Copy code - described as a DRM-free Digital Download of the film in 1080p, 720p, and mobile/tablet formats. There is also a 32-page liner notes booklet with photos and essay.



Very much an Abel Ferrara signature with a delicate, specific touch cloaked in seemingly hap-hazard violence. This works even on simply a revenge-flic aspect despite the director's appealing, less-obvious, cues for relevant social depth. The Blu-ray is acceptable and I doubt it will look any better. The image is subject to the limitation of production and it doesn't look bad - just not the pristine clarity some always expect from the format. Interesting extras including an extensive booklet. Recommended!  

Gary Tooze

March 21st, 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.

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Gary W. Tooze






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