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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 "The 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)

Reviews                                                                             More Reviews                                                                           DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Raro Video/E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Raro Video - Region 0 - PAL vs. Raro Video USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the DVD Screen Caps!

 

1) Raro Video/E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC  - LEFT

2) Raro Video - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Raro USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Raro Video/E1 Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Raro Video
Region 0 - PAL
Raro Video USA
Region FREE - Blu-ray
88 Films
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:43:24 1:39:18 (4% PAL speedup) 1:43:29.203 1:43:35.584
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

Disc Size: 23,639,049,398 bytes

Feature Size: 15,873,429,504 bytes

Total Bitrate: 15.00 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

Disc Size: 32,842,486,201 bytes

Feature Size: 31,324,557,312 bytes

Total Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

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

 

Bitrate: Raro

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: 88 Films

Blu-ray

 

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

DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 2043 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2043 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2038 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2038 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -1dB)
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio Italian 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Subtitles English, none English, Italian, none English, none English, 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

Release Information:
Studio: Raro Video
USA

 

Disc Size: 23,639,049,398 bytes

Feature Size: 15,873,429,504 bytes

Total Bitrate: 15.00 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:
 The Knight Errant (23:34)
Barilli (15:30)
Trailer (3:22)

Blu-ray Release Date: May 10th, 2016
Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Chapters 10

Release Information:
Studio: 88 Films

 

Disc Size: 32,842,486,201 bytes

Feature Size: 31,324,557,312 bytes

Total Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:

• Theatrical Trailer (3:20)
• Italian Opening and Closing Credits (2:24)
• Reversible Sleeve with original Italian IL PROFUMO DELLA SIGNORA IN NERO artwork
 

Blu-ray Release Date: June 26th, 2017
Transparent Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Chapters: 12

 

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: (July 2017) 88 Films Region 'B' - Blu-ray: 88 Films transfer is quite a significant improvement over the Raro. It has more than double the bitrate and the resulting image is far richer, colors have more depth and the grain texture is luscious and consistent. It looks very impressive and far more film-like than the weak transfer of the Raro. This is even more evident in-motion than in the static capture matches below.

Raro have a slight advantage with the audio going 24-bit over 88 Films linear PCM (16-bit) also offered in both English and Italian (with English subtitles). Nicola Piovani's (Night of the Shooting Stars, Footprints) dramatic score still sounds clean and tight exporting some desirable Giallo-esque atmosphere. The 88 Films Blu-ray is Region 'B;'-locked.

Only a trailer, the Italian credits (English credits are used in the feature presentation) and the package has a beautiful reversible sleeve with original Italian IL PROFUMO DELLA SIGNORA IN NERO artwork:

The 88 Films Blu-ray, even with sparse supplements, is worth the double-dip indulgence, in my opinion, as the Raro image was significantly flawed by comparison. An excellent Giallo - a case could easily be made to have it included in our Top 15 Gialli on Blu-ray HERE. Absolutely destined for the 'keeper' shelf.

***

ADDITION: Raro - Region FREE - Blu-ray April 16': Firstly, there are some compression artifacts and egregious noise as Raro's 1080P transfer has a very low bitrate. They are quite poor and noticeable. The new BD image is much brighter with cooler skin tones and we can see some compression anomalies. Those sensitive to the weaknesses won't be pleased. I think this blockiness is really unnecessary and you could probably chalk it up to the modest transfer rate. We have seen this with Raro's releases before - see their Blu-ray of Love in the City (although that had different issues.)

Audio fares better with the option of DTS-HD Master 2.0 channels (24-bit) for both Italian (with English subtitles) and English.  Dialogue is clean and the post-production sync wasn't unacceptable for fans who are familiar.

Extras include a 24-minute short from Francesco Barilli entitled The Knight Errant and a 1/4 hour interview with the writer/director as well as a trailer for the film. This is a very watchable Giallo and fans will certainly enjoy the suspense but those sensitive to HD transfer inferiorities may find these visual weaknesses too unsightly to advance their appreciation. 

***

ON THE DVDs: 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)
 

 

Raro USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 

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

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Raro Video/E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC  - TOP

2) Raro Video - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Raro USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

Subtitle sample


 

1) Raro Video/E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC  - TOP

2) Raro Video - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Raro USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Raro Video/E1 Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC  - TOP

2) Raro Video - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Raro USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 



More Blu-ray Captures

 

1) Raro USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Raro USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Raro USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Raro USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Raro USA - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Raro Video/E1 Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Raro Video
Region 0 - PAL
Raro Video USA
Region FREE - Blu-ray
88 Films
Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 




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