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A Blade in the Dark aka "La Casa con la scala nel buio" [Blu-ray]
(Lamberto Bava, 1983)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Nuova Dania Cinematografica
Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 37,778,262,688 bytes
Feature Size: 33,114,593,280 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: August 24th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1882 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1882 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
•Interview with Cinematographer Gianlorenzo Battaglia (19:10)
• Archive Q&A with Lamberto Bava, moderated by Calum Waddell (50:08)
• Italian Opening Credits (1:21)
• Italian Closing Credits (0:47)
• Reversible Sleeve with alternative art
• Includes a Collectible Original Poster Post Card
Description: Lamberto Bava may be best known for the lunatic
lacerations of his
DEMONS franchise but A BLADE IN THE DARK is,
arguably, his most terrifying offering to date!
Both Midnight Killer and
Delirium are more than worthy of
further investigation but A Blade in The Dark from 1983 is perhaps the
closest he came to rivalling the likes of Argento. Originally shot as a
four-part mini-series for Italian TV, it was rejected by networks for
being too excessively violent for a television audience, and the
decision was made to turn it into a full-length feature.
Adding to the film’s charm is the presence of Michele Soavi, both as
assistant director AND Bruno’s landlord, Tony – charismatically stealing
scenes during his limited screen time, even with the dodgy English
dubbing! That being said, despite him being involved, Dardano
Sacchetti’s script suffers from some baffling dialogue interactions –
notably between our lead and the various, attractive female characters,
who do everything they can to woo our reserved hero within seconds of
meeting him – that hinder the film’s integrity. This may partly be due
to the fact ABITD was initially invented as a 4-part television series,
but later edited into a feature length film.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
A Blade in the Dark gets a 1080P transfer to Blu-ray from 88 Films. It's dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. It offers both the English and Italian versions - seamless (exact same transfer.) The HD supports a reasonable image - colors seem a bit dull (faded?) but detail seems strong and there is some film-like heaviness. It's quite clean and consistent but not a stellar or dynamic Blu-ray presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Both English and Italian tracks on the Blu-ray of A Blade in the Dark are available. The English is in linear PCM and the Italian in DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel (24-bit). The post-DUB'ing has mismatches but they don't hinder appreciation. There are a few aggressive effects including exaggerative screams. There are optional English subtitles the Italian track, with different translations from the English DUB. The score by Guido and Maurizio de Angelis (2019 After the Fall of new York, Torso) is suitable to the film's surface qualities and benefits from the uncompressed rendering. My Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
88 Films include a lengthy Q&A with Lamberto Bava, moderated by Calum Waddell. They discuss his work with his father, and other directors of the genre. Also included is a 20-minute interview with cinematographer Gianlorenzo Battaglia in Italian. He discusses some of the Bava (Mario) films he worked on and it ends up being informative. There are the opening and closing Italian credits, reversible sleeve art and a collectible original poster post card.
August 30th, 2017