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Fragment of Fear aka "Freelance" [Blu-ray]
(Richard C. Sarafian, 1970)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 33,563,804,670 bytes
Feature Size: 27,887,840,832 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.84 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: October 30th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
English (SDH), none
• David Kipen on author John Bingham and screenwriter Paul Dehn
• Radio Spots (2:55)
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Johnny Mains, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and historic articles on the film
• World premiere on Blu-ray
• Limited Edition of 3,000 copies
Description:This chilling mystery begins when Lucy Dawson (Flora Robson) is found strangled in her apartment. Her nephew Tim (David Hemmings) is the former-drug-addict-turned-successful-author who wrote a book about his experiences. When Tim looks into his aunt's death, people give sketchy answers and the police offer little help. Apparently they think his pleas are simply a drug-addict's ravings. As he investigates he begins to find himself plagued by threatening phone calls, and his own paranoia. The pressure begins mounting until at last he suffers a complete breakdown. As a result, the murder is never solved.
Hemmings is a young reformed drug-addict turned successful author whose work concerns the hellish life of a junkie. When his aunt, Robson, is found strangled to death in Pompeii, he decides to investigate, and, after a long period of indifference from the authorities (who think he's just a junkie hallucinating), threatening phone calls, and paranoiac suspicions...
Since Italian gialli are mostly co-productions, and many of them aren’t set in Italy, I wonder the genre should encompass almost all European films noirs made in colour … this actually does open in Italy, and is built around David Hemmings at the mid-point between his giallo significant roles in Blowup and Deep Red. The director (Richard C. Sarafian) is American and the source novelist (John Bingham) English, and it has an acute grasp of British class issues at the fag-end of the swinging 60s (a fag end is actually a clue here) that differentiates it from most Euro thrillers, which are set in worlds of classless, yet cruel wealth. It was scripted (with waspish venom) by Paul Dehn, a one-time critic whose CV includes Seven Days to Noon and some Planet of the Apes sequels.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Fragment of Fear arrives on Blu-ray from Indicator out of the UK. The image quality looks solid - dark, textured, and some impressive detail in the film's later close-ups. The visuals are clean and consistent in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Pastels are passive but I found the overall presentation to be extremely film-like. This Blu-ray offers a strong 1080P transfer with a max'ed out bitrate. It will probably never look better for home theatre consumption.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is transferred via a linear PCM authentically mono at 1152 kbps (24-bit)in the original English language with some brief Italian. There is modest depth in the infrequent effects. The film's music is credited to Johnny Harris. It supports the film with a 70's, almost Ennio Morricone western, feel. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE - playable world-wide.
In a new video piece, journalist David Kipen discusses author John Bingham and screenwriter Paul Dehn for about 1/4 hour. There is also a new 10-minute interview with assistant director William P. Cartlidge who has worked on a number of notable films including the James Bond film You Only Live Twice, Phase IV, and Hammer films The Reptile and The Evil of Frankenstein. We also get an original theatrical trailer, some vinyl-recorded radio spots, an image gallery of on-set and promotional photography plus the package has a limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Johnny Mains, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and historic articles on the film. This edition is limited to 3,000 copies.
October 25th, 2017