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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Giallo Double Feature [Blu-ray]

 

Die Falle aka "Death Laid an Egg" or "La morte ha fatto l’uovo"  (Giulio Questi, 1968) 

Die Mόhle der Jungfrauen aka "Yellow: le cugine" (Gianfranco Baldanello, 1969)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Cinematografica Associati (CI.AS.) / Les Films Corona S.R.L. de Nanterre

Video: Elea Media (Imagica DVD - Japan) / Cult Epics / Nucleus Films

 

Disc:

Region: FREE / Region FREE / Region 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Death Laid an Egg Runtime: 1:24:32.958 (Imagica DVD - 1:26:39) / 1:28:38.855 / 1:44:26.375

/ Nucleus Films:  / Giallo Cut: 1:30:45.041

Yellow: le cugine Runtime: 1:28:44.500 (on Elea Media)

Disc Size: 43,544,565,662 bytes / 20,598,235,439 bytes / 48,306,366,516 bytes

Death Laid an Egg Feature Size: 19,476,123,648 bytes / 19,248,101,376 bytes / 28,655,259,648 bytes

Giallo Cut (Nucleus ): 14,027,943,936 bytes / 14.93 Mbps

Yellow: le cugine Feature Size: 19,224,266,112 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.98 Mbps / 25.99 Mbps / 23.33 Mbps / 30.00 Mbps

Chapters: 10 + 9 / 15 / 24

Case: thin black Blu-ray case / Standard Blu-ray case / Transparent Blu-ray case inside slipcase

Release date: March 26th, 2015 / July 2nd, 2003 / November 30th, 2017 / September 2nd, 2018

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 / 1.78:1 / 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps / 24 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Death Laid an Egg

DUB:

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1673 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1673 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

English and Italian DD 2.0

Yellow: le cugine

DUB:

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1674 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1674 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Death Laid and Egg (Cult Epics)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3808 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3808 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score:

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB

 

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio Italian 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Giallo Cut:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio Italian 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English, None

Japanese, None

English, none

English, none

 

Extras:

• Original Trailer for Death Laid an Egg (3:48)

• Gallery for Death Laid an Egg (1:33)

• Gallery for Yellow: le cugine (1:54)

• Split Screen Restoration demo for Yellow: le cugine (3:01)

• Italian Magazine Photo pages (2:29)

Booklet (in German) with photos

 

• Cast Bios
• Crew Bios
• Press Book
• Poster Gallery
• Trailer (16:9; 3:47)  

 

• Original Theatrical Trailer (3:48)
• Lobby Cards photo gallery
• Isolated Score by Bruna Maderna (37:18)

 

• Audio Commentary with Alan Jones and Kim Newman
• Optional English Subtitles for both versions
• Featurette 1 - Discovering Questi (19:47)
• Featurette 2 - Sonic Explorations (23:51)
• Archive Interview with Giulio Questi (12:40)
• Antonio Bruschini - Film Review (5:07)
• BBFC film cuts (1969 - 7:25)
• European Trash Cinema: "Death Laid an Egg" issue (2:01)
• Gallery 1 - Promotional Materials
• Gallery 2 - Home Video Cover Scans
• English opening credits (2:19)
• German opening credits (1:08)
• English trailer (3:53)

 

Bitrates:

 

1) Elea Media - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Yellow: le cugine - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Cult Epics - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Nucleus (104-minutes) - Region  'B' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Nucleus ('Giallo Cut') - Region  'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

Death Laid an Egg Description:

A surreal Giallo which ranges from serial killings to infidelity, industrial espionage to romantic interludes existing in a mechanized chicken farm (hence the title). Secretary Gabrielle (Ewa Aulin of Candy fame) is seducing an estranged couple played by lothario Jean-Louis Trintignant and Gina Lollobrigida - as the dissatisfied, domineering wife. Gabrielle worms her way into their confidence.... and murder and double-crosses are in the air.

 

Yellow: le cugine Description:

This only considered a "Holy Grail" for Giallo fans because of its obscurity and difficulty to see for many years. Yellow: le cugine is adult-focused with one female cousin of open swinging and the other a puritanical, overdressed spinster. But money and lack of respect transform the dowdy one stirring her passions and loosening her morals - but enough to commit murder?

 

 

The Film:

Death Laid an Egg: We open with eerie microscope images of a biological nature, with a soundtrack eerily evoking the effect of a computer, a piano and a suit of armor while falling down a flight of metal stairs. Then the film launches into its first murder: seemingly our hero, Jean-Louis Trintignant, is addicted to knifing hookers in a motorway hotel. Trintignant is married to Gina Lollobrigida, and they live with Ewa Aulin in what seems one plot development away from a full-fledged mιnage ΰ trois. And they're also in the chicken business.

Excerpt from DavidCairns - MubiNotebook located HERE

Yellow: le cugine: At the death of his grandfather, Valentina Garbini Scotari settles with her husband Pierre, a sculptor, in the family villa where Marta's cousin lives, in order to secure her share of heredity. Coexistence is not easy, especially because of the different temperaments of their cousins: the first is uncontrollable and licentious in costumes, the other is austere and virtuous. But the unmistakable behavior of the latter is dissipating. A turbulent love affair ensues with Pierre after an investigated murder.

ETranslated fromComingSoon.IT HERE

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

The dual-layered Elea Media Blu-ray of this Giallo Double Feature is, as predicted, a disappointment. Both films share the disc. Death Laid an Egg looks the worst in a 1.76:1 aspect ratio from, what appears to be, a second generation source. 1080P but horribly flat and unforgivably weak with damage marks (see below) and speckles. The running time is short a couple of minutes and this Blu-ray version starts with this:

 

 

NOTE There is a 3-disc Collectors Set for Death Laid an Egg coming from Cult Epics! We will compare when it is released.

 

Strangely, the Japanese Imagica DVD is from a different, longer cut - but is missing at least one scene in the German BD edition. It is interlaced but colors look better - without the greenish cast of the 1080P. It's 1.85:1 in a 4:3  pictureboxed and interlaced SD transfer showing less information in the top of the frame. Approaching 15-years old - this, indefensibly weak, DVD is till going for a ridiculous price. Thank to Eric for obtaining the matched captures so quickly! The new, forthcoming, Blu-rays will be most welcome!

 

The Cult Epics Death Laid and Egg 1080P is, overall, a better image than the Elea media but is still fraught with artifacts and inconsistencies. It is slightly cropped in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio but detail and contrast rise as compared to the German transfer. It also has a few scenes missing as compared to the German edit and while showing depth, can also look waxy at times. Bottom line is that I look forward to Nucleus Films version recently announced. It, hopefully, will be the best Blu-ray for the film.      

 

Yellow: le cugine clocks in at the odd ratio of 1.49:1. It's superior, but still well below the format's capabilities for image quality. It's cleaner with some depth and they even have a split-screen restoration comparison in the supplements. In the final tally, it is unremarkable and we can hope this clandestine effort gets a better transfer soon.

 

The Nucleus Blu-ray offers both the complete and restored 104m director's cut and the complete and restored 91m "giallo" cut on one dual-layered disc. The Director's Cut is given a robust technical transfer with a high bitrate and looks, by far, the best. It's brighter, crisper, more consistent grain and no, egregious artifacts or damage (see last capture.) It's superior transfer source and, while the 'giallo cut' us not a strong a technical transfer (see two capture matches below), the Nucleus Films is the obvious choke for the 1080P image.      

 

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

 

Death Laid an Egg

 

1) Elea Media - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Imagica (Japanese) DVD - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Cult Epics - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Nucleus (104-minutes) - Region  'B' - Blu-ray FOURTH

5) Nucleus ('Giallo Cut') - Region  'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Elea Media - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Imagica (Japanese) DVD - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Cult Epics - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Nucleus - Region  'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Elea Media - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Imagica (Japanese) DVD - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Cult Epics - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Nucleus - Region  'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Elea Media - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Imagica (Japanese) DVD - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Cult Epics - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Nucleus - Region  'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Elea Media - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Imagica (Japanese) DVD - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Cult Epics - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Nucleus - Region  'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Elea Media - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Imagica (Japanese) DVD - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Cult Epics - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Nucleus - Region  'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

1) Elea Media - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Imagica (Japanese) DVD - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Cult Epics - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Nucleus - Region  'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Frame-specific damage on Elea Media

 

1) Elea Media - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Cult Epics - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray MIDDLE

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

 

 

Yellow: le cugine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Elea Media use DTS-HD Master transfers for both films and, another unforgivable feature - they are both, only, poorly-sync'ed German DUBs. The respective scores by Coriolano Gori (Werewolf Woman) and Bruno Maderna are lower tier and Death Laid an Egg's screeching, in the first few minutes, is actually hard on the ears sounding like a cross between Thelonius Monk and hammering metal. It's horrid. There are optional English subtitles offered - quite awkward in translation at times - and my Oppo has identified it as being region FREE.

 

Nice to have the English-language version, lossless (24-bit) for the presentation. It has some weaknesses but is generally supportive of the film. Original Italian is not present.  Superior to the Elea but not the level it could/should be. It has optional English subtitles (see samples) and it also Region FREE.

 

Nucleus Films provide both Italian and English (DUB) tracks for both cuts via lossless transfer. Like the video transfer - theirs is more consistent, crisp and superior. The atypical Giallo score by Bruno Maderna can still be a bit awkward but it is without egregious flaws in terms of being exported by the rendering. Both cuts also offer optional English subtitles on the Region 'B'-locked Blu-ray      

 

Extras :

Not too much; a trailer and gallery for Death Laid an Egg and a gallery for Yellow: le cugine with the aforementioned split-screen restoration demo for and some scans of Italian magazine photo pages with advertisements for the film. The package has a booklet (text in German) with photos.

 

The Cult Epics special features include an original theatrical trailer, a gallery of lobby cards and the ability to access the isolated score by Bruna Maderna running under 38-minutes.

 

Wow, Nucleus Films go the extras mile offering a new audio commentary with Alan Jones and Kim Newman (on the director's cut only) and it's fun and informative exploring areas of the film production that fans will find fascinating to discuss. There is a 20-minute featurette "Discovering Questi" with James Blackford of the BFI discussing the director Giulio Questi (Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot!). Sonic Explorations runs 24-minutes and has Lovely Jon - a soundtrack collector - talk about the unique score. There is a 13-minute archival Interview with Questi short 5-minute review by Antonio Bruschini, there is an identification of the BBFC film cuts, galleries, optional credits and trailers plus the package has 5 postcard sized title-cards for the film.      

 

Death Laid an Egg

 

Elea Media - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Imagica (Japanese) DVD - Region 0 - NTSC

 

 

Yellow: le cugine

 

Elea Media - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Cult Epics - Region 'FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Death Laid and Egg is a decent, if weird, Giallo. And, yes it is on Blu-ray. Nice to see cool Trintignant, always hot Lollobrigida and ultra-cute
Candy. The intention seems fairly obvious when we witness, point-of-view, Gabrielle march her bikini-soaked vagina directly towards the lens, SEE HERE. But the deplorable image quality only makes me crave the upcoming Nucleus, in UK, and Cult Epics, in US, Blu-rays even more (working from original negative).

 

I warm to this Giallo each time I see it and appreciate the superior Cult Epics transfer - despite the deficiencies. But we still look forward to the upcoming Nucleus Films transfer and theri package will include the complete and restored 104m director's cut and the complete and restored 91m "giallo" cut as well as an audio commentary with Alan Jones and Kim Newman.   

 

Yellow: le cugine is as adult but is also obvious - although I liked the journey and the atmosphere. Marta's (Lisa Seagram) transformation is... intriguing. But we still can't endorse this Blu-ray. Pass.

 

Finally, a competent, transfer of the film - and Nucleus Films give a thoroughly complete Blu-ray edition with two versions of the film (director's cut and 'giallo cut), original audio and DUB, commentary and extensive extras. Fabulous job Nucleus Films - Giallo fans can throw-out the other editions. This is, by a very wide margin, the one to keep!

 

Gary Tooze

September 5th, 2017

February 1st, 2018

September 6th, 2018

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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