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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Almost Human" or "The Kidnap of Mary Lou" or "The Death Dealer' or 'The Executioner')

 

directed by Umberto Lenzi
Italy 1974

 

Guilio Sacchi (Tomas Milian) is a small-time hood disillusioned with the crime syndicate for which he works. Looking to make some big money fast, he and some friends kidnap the beautiful Marilý (Laura Belli), the daughter of a billionaire and demand 500 million Lira as ransom. However, hot on his heels is Inspector Grandi (Henry Silva) a hardened cop who only becomes more hell-bent on catching Guilio and his gang with each corpse he finds! Director Lenzi reflects on the Years of Lead in Italy, a time when terrorists caused chaos and police action was judged as deficient...

***

Ah, what a great time it is not only to be a Euro Horror or Euro Cult film fan, but to be a fan of the oft maligned European Cult Director Umberto Lenzi. I say these things because DVD has given us fans a real reason to rejoice. Never did it seem possible that we would be able to own our favorite films not only on a format that will not deteriorate but these films are finally getting the proper distribution, love, and attention they deserve. Gone are the days of bootlegs and dupes of old, which took ages to drop into our hands. Anyway, I digress as the other point to be made is that of one Umbero Lenzi, a filmmaker who has unfairly been thrust into a category of lesser known directors far too often, labeled as a hack. Lenzi has not only made films in multiple genres, a feat not easily accomplished, he elevated these genres to a new level. The genres in particular to which I am speaking of are the Giallo Film Genre as well as the Euro Crime or Polizia Film Genre. Lenzi went back to the drawing board. He took what had been done before and weaved in his creative juices, threw in some truly unique ideas, and the results speak for themselves. Why his films aren't discussed more often is somewhat of a mystery. One major factor could be the availability of his work represented on DVD and VHS. Many of his excellent Giallo Films have only been recently released on DVD whereas the likes of Fulci, Argento, and Bava have had a bulk of their films represented on DVD for quite some time now. More on this later but now let's dive deeper into this wonderful film.

Excerpt from Euro-Horror DVDs located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 8 August 1974 - Italy

Reviews                                                                       More Reviews                                                                DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Alan Young - Region 2 - PAL vs. No Shame - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Shameless - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Ole Kofoed and Gregory Meshman for the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Alan Young - Region 2 - PAL LEFT

2) No Shame - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Shameless - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

Distribution

Alan Young

Region 2 - PAL

No Shame
Region 0 - NTSC

Shameless

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:35:09 (4% PAL speedup) 1:39:15 1:39:21.455
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.29 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.21 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 40,089,617,587 bytes

Feature: 24,109,745,088 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 27.38 Mbps

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

Bitrate:

 

Alan Young

 

Bitrate:

 

No Shame

 

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

 

Audio Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono / Remastered DD 5.1 / English DD 2.0 Mono

Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, English DD 2.0 Mono

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 Italian or none. English, None English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Alan Young

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Ernesto Gastaldi and Giona Nazzaro (In Italian).
• Italian theatrical trailer (3:14).
• Poster artwork.
• Biographies.
• Extracts from Italian newspaper reviews.
• 2. Disc with Sergio Martino's Milano trema (Violent Professionals)

DVD Release Date: 2003
Keep Case with Outer Sleeve

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: No Shame

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Featurette
• Featurette
• Italian theatrical trailer (3:21).
• International theatrical trailer (3:20).
• Poster & Still Gallery.
• 8-page Booklet including liner notes and talent bios
 

DVD Release Date: July 26, 2005
Keep Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Shameless

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 40,089,617,587 bytes

Feature: 24,109,745,088 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 27.38 Mbps

 

Edition Details:

• Brand new Umberto Lenzi Shameless interview (19:38)
• Milian unleashed interview with Tomas Milian (28:35)
• Like A Beast: Almost - Period interview with Umberto Lenzi, star Ray Lovelock and writer Ernesto Gastaldi (35:39)

• Shameless Trailer Reel (1:26)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: May 1st, 2017

Reversible Cover

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Shameless - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - May 17': This is a very pronounced improvement over the SDs - the visuals export detail, colors are tight, but I especially appreciated the consistent grain textures. The 2.35:1 image shows some appealing scope qualities and looks excellent in-motion. Dual-layered, with a solid bitrate, the HD quality really shines through - looking extremely rich and film-like.

Shameless use a linear PCM at 1536 kbps (16-bit) for both Italian and English language tracks. It exports the film's gunplay and violence with some punch but the lossless is most noticeable in the score by the iconic Ennio Morricone (A Bullet for the General, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, U Turn, Stay As You Are etc. etc.) in the stylistic manner we hear in other Poliziotteschi, or Giallo, Spaghetti westerns etc. Kind of repetitious but still addictive and expanding the film's mid 70's milieu and atmosphere. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a Region 'B' -locked.

Shameless include a brand new, 20-minute, interview with, director, Umberto Lenzi as well as the, two video featurettes; Milian Unleashed (1/2 hour interview with Tomas Milian) and 35-minute Like A Beast: Almost vintage interview with Umberto Lenzi, star Ray Lovelock and writer Ernesto Gastaldi - that are both found on the 2005 No Shame DVD. There is also a Shameless trailer reel an the package has a reversible sleeve cover.

Almost Human pulls no punches - shocking with some gruesome and brutal activity including an uncompromising vengeance appeal. Plenty of action and genre charisma for the junkies - this is a damn fine quintessential representation of this era's Italian crime thrillers. It's pretty hard to shake but has an intangible appeal. It just works - wow. This Blu-ray is absolutely recommended to the fearless! 

***

ON THE DVDS: Although the No Shame edition is non-progressive (see combing in horizontal pans) its colors are far truer than the Alan Young edition. The Alan Young is definitely tape-sourced (see flat-line bitrate) and I find the image colors (see orange skin tones) very distracting. The PAL edition is also cropped on all 4 edges (more than we should expect). Probably the biggest faux-pas of the Alan Young DVD are the lack of English subtitles in the Italian soundtrack - this would have been far more preferable to an English DUB. The extras in the No Shame are in English but the more extensive PAL supplements are not. It is rare, but not unheard of, that we choose a non-progressive transfer over a seemingly progressive one, for the basic reason that the NTSC used a far better print or digitally manipulated far less.

 - Gary Tooze


DVD Menus
(Alan Young - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. No Shame - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 

Shameless - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Screen Captures


Subtitle sample (not exact frames)

 

1) Alan Young - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) No Shame - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Shameless - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Alan Young - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) No Shame - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Shameless - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Alan Young - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) No Shame - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Shameless - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Alan Young - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) No Shame - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Shameless - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Alan Young - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) No Shame - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Shameless - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Combing evident in NTSC release...


1) Alan Young - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) No Shame - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Shameless - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Alan Young - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) No Shame - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Shameless - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

Box Covers

 

Distribution

Alan Young

Region 2 - PAL

No Shame
Region 0 - NTSC

Shameless

Region 'B' - Blu-ray


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Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gary Tooze

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