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(aka "Messalina Venere imperatrice" or "Messalina" or "Messalina - Imperial Venus")

 

Directed by Vittorio Cottafavi
Italy 1960

 

Both opulent and humanly scaled, director Vittorio Cottafavi’s Messalina (1960, aka Messalina Venere imperatrice) is a rare Italian-made historical spectacle headlined by a solo-above-title female star, the ideally cast English-born Belinda Lee, in one of the final roles of her tragically shortened life. Playing the young beauty plucked from country life as the Vestal Valeria to enter an arranged marriage with the newly crowned Roman emperor Claudius, she ably portrays the sexual manipulativeness and raw hunger for power of the murderous empress of legend. Seducing several high-born lovers to gain political influence, Messalina learns that balancing her grasp on the aristocracy and the common folk is too much to handle, even as she longs for the affections of her true love, the ultimately incorruptible tribune Lucius Maximus (Spiros Focas.)

***

After the death of the Emperor Caligula, Claudius is chosen to replace him. Claudius decides to take a new wife, the Vestal Virgin Messalina, the niece of Augustus Caesar.

The night before the wedding Messalina murders a noble via poison. An assassin is sent to kill Messalina; she seduces him, has him killed and presents his severed head.

Posters

Theatrical Release: March 12th, 1960

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Also available on Blu-ray in a European Edition (with English audio):

 

 

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:34:27.208        
Video

2.35:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,872,719,073 bytes

Feature: 23,862,251,520 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.06 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio Italian 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Twilight Time

 

2.35:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,872,719,073 bytes

Feature: 23,862,251,520 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.06 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• 10-page liner notes booklet


Blu-ray Release Date:
April, 2021
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Twilight Time Blu-ray (May 2021): Twilight Time have transferred Vittorio Cottafavi's Messalina to Blu-ray. It is on a single-layered disc with a supportive bitrate. The 1080P exports a nice balance of gloss and detail. There is minor grain texture with a generally clean image. The colors are strong looking rich and there are only infrequent moments where it can look thin although I see no heavy digitization. There is plenty of depth and it looked very pleasing on my system, if not impressive in spots.

NOTE: We have added 42 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Twilight Time use linear PCM dual-mono tracks (16-bit) offered in both English language (DUB) or original Italian language. There are sword-sandal-related effects - battles, horses, festivities etc. There is a score by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino (The Colossus of Rhodes, Revolt of the Slaves, The Specialists, The Savage Innocents, Chimes at Midnight, Othello, Legend of the Lost), exporting depth with consistent, clean, dialogue. Twilight Time offer optional English subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Twilight Time Blu-ray offers only a 10-page liner notes booklet with an essay and color photos.

Fans were very grateful to see Twilight Time resurfacing after the passing of Nick Redman. The other new Blu-ray from them is Antonio Margheriti "Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye".  Vittorio Cottafavi's Messalina is a typical, mid-scale, sword and sandal epic. It sports impressive costuming and some extensive sets. It has Belinda Lee as a high-class Roman vamp, manipulating her way up the Empire ladder. She's a cold character - portrayed reasonably well by Lee - quite formidable as a Peplum honey. She sadly died at 25 in a bad car accident. Messalina is somewhat classier and more grounded than a Hercules effort but she carries the visuals. The bare-bones Twilight Time Blu-ray gives you the opportunity to see this sword and sandal epic, Belinda Lee and some impressive costumes. It's not an overwhelming recommendation but we hope Twilight Time can come out with more, lesser-seen, films on Blu-ray in the near future.

Gary Tooze

 


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Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Also available on Blu-ray in a European Edition:

 

 

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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