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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Mill of the Stone Women aka "Il mulino delle donne di pietra" aka "Die Mühle der versteinerten Frauen" [Blu-ray]

 

(Giorgio Ferroni, 1960)

Firstly, the German Subkultur Entertainment Blu-ray has 4 versions of Mill of the Stone Women, of varying source quality, on its dual-layered disc (the German theatrical listed as an extra). They are NOT seamlessly branched and I have posted one set of comparison captures below but I can tell you the order of best-to-worst prints is Italian, International (both with English language options), then French and German theatrical last. This is probably, also, accurate as to the damage status of each source. But there is also technical transfer quality to take into account - which we have posted below as well as the details of 3 SD (DVD) transfers.

Comparison:

Media Target Distribution / Subkultur Entertainment Region FREE Blu-ray vs. Mondo Macabro - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Neo Publishing (English Version) - Region 0 - PAL vs. Neo Publishing (French Version) - Region 0 - PAL

  

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Mondo Macabro

Region 0 - NTSC

Neo Publishing
Region 0 - PAL
Neo Publishing
Region 0 - PAL
Runtime 1:35:33 1:30:38 (4% PAL speedup) 1:26:05 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.65 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.25 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.5 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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

Bitrate:

Mondo Macabro

 

Bitrate:

Neo Publishing (English Version)

 

Bitrate:

Neo Publishing (French Version)

 

Audio French, UK English, US English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

US English, Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

Subtitles English, none French, none none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Mondo Macabro

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• English theatrical trailer
• 3 Alternate scenes (French bridge scene, US cut hallucination scene, French title sequence)
• Biographies
• Photo galleries
• Other Mondo Macabro releases

DVD Release Date: March 16, 2004
Keepcase

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Neo Publishing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• English and shorter French version
• English theatrical trailer
• Photo gallery
• Filmographies

 

DVD Release Date: September 4, 2004
Keepcase with sleeve

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Neo Publishing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• English and shorter French version
• English theatrical trailer
• Photo gallery
• Filmographies

 

DVD Release Date: September 4, 2004
Keepcase with sleeve

Chapters 12

 

Blu-ray Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Explorer Film '58

Video: Media Target Distribution / Subkultur Entertainment

 

Disc:

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

Disc Size: 49,384,350,150 bytes

Case: Black Blu-ray case

Release date: August 31st, 2016

 

Extras:

Commentary by Christoph Huber and Olaf Möller
"Das Plauderstündchen des Dr. Mabuse" - Archival interview with Wolfgang Preiss (16:51 with optional English subtitles)
German Trailer (3:19)
International Trailer (2:08 - in English)
Deutsche Theatrical Version (1:32:48 - German only - no subtitles)
Gallery

______________________________________________

 

International Version :

 

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Runtime: 1:34:32.124

Feature Size: 16,098,834,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.49 Mbps

Chapters: 11

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DUBs:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 553 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 553 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / 16-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio German 481 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 481 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 514 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 514 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / 16-bit)

Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio German 256 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps

 

Subtitles:

German, None

 

______________________________________________

 

French Version :

 

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Runtime: 1:29:51.010 

Feature Size: 15,414,902,784 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Chapters: 11

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DUBs:

DTS-HD Master Audio German 486 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 486 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 529 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 529 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 505 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 505 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

German, None

______________________________________________

 

Italian Version :

 

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Runtime: 1:35:42.027

Feature Size: 8,896,555,008 bytes

Video Bitrate: 9.96 Mbps

Chapters: 10

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 526 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 526 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / 16-bit)

DUBs:
DTS-HD Master Audio English 465 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 465 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / 16-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio German 481 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 481 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

German, None

______________________________________________

 

German Theatrical Version :

 

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Runtime: 1:32:47.144 

Feature Size: 6,373,404,672 bytes

Video Bitrate: 7.99 Mbps

Chapters: 11

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DUB:

DTS-HD Master Audio German 573 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 573 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

______________________________________________

 

Description: Before the Italian genre movie industry in the late 1960s started churning out elegant and blood-soaked gialli, and after that turned to ultra violent zombie and cannibal movies, they produced a long string of gothic horrors. Maria Bava’s “Black Sunday”, aka “Mask of Satan”, is of course the most well-known entry, one of the most productive directors was Antonio Margheriti (who often called himself Anthony M. Dawson), and the big star was Barbara Steele.

Mill of the Stone Women” (“Il mulino delle donne di pietra”) is a French-Italian co-production based on a Dutch short story, and it was directed by Giorgio Ferroni. Ferroni’s career took off already in the 1930s, and he directed dozens of movies in several genres up until the mid-1970s: peplums (mythological muscle men epics), war movies, Westerns and of course horror.

Excerpt from Whizzley located HERE

 

The Film:

In this offbeat costume horror film set in 1912, Hans (Pierre Brice), a young art student, is sent to a remote Dutch village to collect information about the local windmill. The windmill is decorated with moving sculptures of women in various gruesome scenes of torture and death. Professor Wahl (Herbert Boehme), the curator of the windmill, also teaches art and sculpture. Among the professor's students, Hans meets Liselotte (Dany Carrel), his childhood friend who still loves him. He also gets acquainted with Wahl's beautiful daughter, Elfi (Scilla Gabel), who suffers from a rare blood disease and is not allowed to leave her house. Then Hans discovers the shocking secret behind the professor's attempts to keep his daughter alive.

Yuri German

Theatrical Release: August 30th, 1960

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Set design is key to creating the film's unsettling atmosphere. The interior of the titular mill features an overwhelming, expressionistic feel that relies on odd structural designs and slants. Stairways stand at crooked angles, and doors hang off center creating a nightmarish landscape. In the middle of this gloom-filled structure sits the carousel, a motorized diorama which depicts the fates of women accused as criminals in gory detail. This sophisticated piece of machinery operates through the use of a series of gears which cause its morbid wax caricatures to be propelled forward in a terrifying series of lurching motions. It's a ghastly set piece that will be remembered by the viewer long after the film's finale.

Excerpt from Classic-Horror located HERE

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

The Blu-ray transfers are all 1080P but the version sources vary in quality - just like the DVDs. The film requires a restoration. There is mention of the Mondo DVDs strobbing and artifacts. This Blu-ray of the Italian and International versions seem to be the best, video-wise, of the lot - with the former having less damage but a lowly bitrate. Thankfully both these versions are offered with English language options (the French and German do not.) Bottom line - entirely imperfect but the 1080P is a step up from SD, regardless of the puny file sizes and bitrates.

 

On the DVDs:

NOTE: Your (DVD) comparison of MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN doesn't mention anything about the color strobbing throughout the Mondo Macabro edition, this is perhaps the most distracting flaw I've ever seen on a DVD. I'm now interested in buying the English version of the French DVD but the store you list has a different version (A French/English/Italian version) - (Thanks Brian!)

***

A difficult comparison because we actually have three different versions of the same movie here. First we have the Mondo Macabro DVD which, according to the liner notes in the extras, restores all sections that were removed for the US release except a bridge scene which was never dubbed in English. Next we have the Neo Publishing DVD containing both a French and an English version, which appears to be the US release. However, both DVDs seem to contain all the different scenes in one way or the other.

The French version on the Neo Publishing is no match for the English version or the Mondo Macabro. The image is not as sharp and cropped to about 1.78:1. The real competition is between the Mondo Macabro and the English version on the Neo Publishing. The Mondo Macabro contains slightly more picture on top and bottom, but the main point of discussion is the colours. I'm inclined to think the Mondo Macabro is more correct than the brownish tinted Neo Publishing. Sharpness and the amount of print damage seems similar on both releases. The explanation is that there are 2 versions of this hallucination scene. Mondo Macabro has a different and shorter version, labeled "US cut", as an extra. Neo Publishing however has this US cut in the English version while the French version contains the alternate cut. A strange decision from Mondo Macabro since the US cut is of much better image quality.

On to the sound. The Mondo Macabro contains a UK and US English track but most voices are done by the same actors, Prof. Gregorius Wahl being the most obvious exception. There is also a French track which reverts to English in a couple of scenes. In this case, you can select English subtitles for the French scenes or French subtitles for the English scenes. The Neo Publishing on the other hand allows you to choose between the US English and Italian track with removable French subtitles. There are no subtitles on the shorter French version which naturally only contains the French track.

In the extras department Mondo Macabro has the upper hand with its well written biographies and a wealth of publicity material, of which the Neo Publishing photo gallery contains only a small fragment. Both DVDs have the same trailer but for some reason the trailer on the Mondo Macabro plays in an incorrect aspect ratio. Also note that all 3 alternate scenes on the Mondo Macabro can be seen in either the French, albeit without English subtitles, or in the English version on the Neo Publishing. Another thing that will interest fans is that the notorious nipple scene included by Mondo Macabro is also available in the French version on the Neo Publishing.

Overall, both releases have their strengths and weaknesses. If you do not speak French, Mondo Mabraco obviously wins due to the English subtitles and 2 different English dubs. Neo Publishing limits you to the US English dub. If however you do speak French, the Neo Publishing contains an Italian track and gives you the possibility to view the US and French version of the film in their original form.

 - Pieter Boven

 

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

 
1) Mondo Macabro - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP
2) Neo Publishing (English Version) - Region 0 - PAL  - SECOND
3) Neo Publishing (French Version) - Region 0 - PAL THIRD
4) Italian Version from DE Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 

1) International Version TOP
2) French Version - SECOND
3) Italian Version THIRD
4) German Theatrical BOTTOM
 

 

 

More Blu-ray Capture from the Italian version

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

All 4 version on the Blu-ray have DTS-HD Master 1.0 channel tracks (16-bit) in their respective languages and all DUBBED in German with the International and Italian also supported with poorly sync'ed English DUBs. I found the audio had fluctuations - one notable drops out, some hiss surfacing and variable volume levels with the music - a score is by Carlo Innocenzi (who really found a niche pumping out music for many 'sword and sandal' flics of the 60's). Like the video - not at premium levels but a notch above DVD and serviceable for, less-discerning, viewing. There are optional German subtitles offered (but none of the German Theatrical) and, unfortunately no English subtitles anywhere except the interview supplement. My Oppo has identified it as being region FREE - playable worldwide.

 

Extras :

Extras include a German-only commentary by Christoph Huber and Olaf Möller, a 16-minute archival interview with Wolfgang Preiss - Dr. Loren Bohlem from the film (with optional English subtitles) entitled "Das Plauderstündchen des Dr. Mabuse". There are German and International trailers and a slideshow gallery.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I really liked this, slightly risqué, creepy, Gothic horror with some cool, if budget-conscious, sets. This isn't a Giallo - see our listing HERE - although it is in the vicinity. The
Blu-ray seems the only way to see this cracker in 1080P - but the price is high unless you are a bona-fide fan who can benefit from understanding German (want all 4 versions and indulge in the commentary.) I liked my viewing quite a lot, but let's hope for a restoration from some company like Arrow taking it under their wing. That would be wonderful!

Gary Tooze

December 5th, 2017

  

 

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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60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

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Gary W. Tooze

 

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