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The Bloodstained Butterfly
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 2.35:1 Widescreen
  • 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English PCM Mono
  • Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • Italian PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • Brand new audio commentary with writer-producer Craig Muckler moderated by Mike Tristano
  • Brand new making-of featurette including interviews with Muckler, director Wayne Berwick and actor Loren Schein
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork to be revealed
  • First pressing only: fully-illustrated collectorís booklet featuring new writing on the film by Nightmare USA author Stephen Thrower

The Bloodstained Butterfly

Dual-Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Duccio Tessari
1971 | 99 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: Arrow Video
MVD Visual

Release Date: August 23, 2016
Review Date: August 21, 2016

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SYNOPSIS

Directed by Duccio Tessari (Death Occurred Last Night, A Pistol for Ringo), The Bloodstained Butterfly melds the lurid giallo traditions popularised / popularized by Dario Argento and Mario Bava with courtroom drama, resulting in a film that is as concerned with forensic detail and legal process as it is with grisly murders and audacious set-pieces. When a young female student is savagely killed in a park during a thunderstorm, the culprit seems obvious: her lover, TV sports personality Alessandro Marchi (Giancarlo Sbragia, Death Rage), seen fleeing the scene of the crime by numerous eyewitnesses. The evidence against him is damning... but is it all too convenient? And when the killer strikes again while Marchi is in custody, it quickly becomes apparent that there's more to the case than meets the eye... Starring 70s heartthrob Helmut Berger (Dorian Gray, The Godfather: Part III) alongside genre mainstays Evelyn Stewart (The Psychic, The Case of the Scorpion's Tail) and Carole Andrť (Colt 38 Special Squad), and featuring a score by Gianni Ferrio (Death Walks at Midnight), The Bloodstained Butterfly is presented uncut and in a sumptuous new 4K restoration that allows this unique and haunting thriller to shine like never before!


PICTURE

Arrow Videoís Blu-ray of Duccio Tessariís film The Bloodstained Butterfly presents the film in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on a dual-layer disc (this edition also includes a standard definition version presented on a dual-layer DVD). The 1080p/24hz high definition presentation is taken from a new restoration scanned at 4K resolution from a 35mm 2-perf Techniscope camera negative.

Itís nice, very similar to a lot of Arrowís other ďgialloĒ releases. The restoration work has been quite thorough, leaving very little behind in the way of damage or blemishes (a few specs pop up in places) and the transfer on the whole is very film-like in look, no digital problems sticking out. The source materials seem to limit the detail in some scenes, objects getting a little soft around the edges, but the image is mostly sharp with excellent definition and detail. Grain is nicely managed and does look natural.

Black levels and colours are a bit murky on the other hand. The blacks in particular are a bit washed and darker sequences are hard to see because of it, with details getting eaten up in the shadows a lot of the time. Colours do look a little muted but itís more than likely the intended look of the film. Skin tones look okay.

In general itís a very pleasing, filmic presentation, unfortunately itís held back mostly by weak blacks that give it a bit of a flat look.

7/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The DTS-HD MA 1.0 English and Italian tracks sound very similar to one another in terms of quality. Both sound to be dubbed so they both have that fairly hollow, detached sound to them, but both are clear and easy to here. Both soundtracks also sound fairly clean, with a noticeable bit of static here and there. Range and fidelity are both limited, though, and there is a general flatness to both.

Both are decent enough, just held back by age. Which one you listen to will come down to personal preference.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Arrow again goes the distance with another one of their ďgialloĒ releases, though the features here, to an extent, seem keen on working more as an introduction to newcomers of the sub-genre, which seemed a bit odd considering this film certainly wasnít the first giallo film made and also certainly not the first one released by Arrow.

Following a quick introduction by actor Helmut Berger that runs about a minute (itís optional whether you watch it before the film) we get an optional audio commentary featuring critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman, both recorded together. Amusingly Newman just seems to be there to fill things out a bit, saying that Jones is the bigger giallo fan, who also happens to rank this film rather highly on his list. Interestingly it sounds as though neither Newman nor Jones (the latter of which has seen this film a number of times) has seen this version: it sounds as though they are watching the English version but it apparently has taken material from the Italian version cut out of the English version (at least a sex scene). At any rate the two talk about the story line, the filmmakers, and performers, and also make a number of comments about other versions including a Spanish version that completely omits the opening. Jones also unleashes a lot of his knowledge about the genre, linking crew and cast to other films, as well as covering other giallo films of the period. Iím not the most familiar with the giallo subgenre but these Arrow releases have proven to be a nice starting point for me, with this commentary proving to be a decent little crash course, even if still nowhere near all-encompassing.

Also decent is a visual essay by Troy Howarth called Murder in B-Flat Minor, a 27-minute overview of the film and its cast and crew. He talks about giallo films and then how this film fits into the genre, but a good chunk of it goes over the members of the cast and crew and some of their other work in the genre. He also looks at the filmís script and editing. Itís another decent overview of the genre for me and for that I appreciated it.

The next feature was a rather large surprise for me and easily the best feature on here: A Butterfly Named Evelyn features a very lengthy 55-minute interview with Ida Galli, who performed under the name Evelyn Stewart (the origins of that name being fairly amusing). She gives a fairly lengthy backstory to how she got into acting and then talks about her early acting days before appearing in various westerns and other genre pictures, her early work including working for Fellini and Visconti (her biggest regret was turning down a role in Death in Venice after appearing in The Leopard). Itís long but itís an absolutely captivating interview.

Arrow then includes a couple of other interviews, the first being with Lorella De Luca (actress and wife of Duccio Tesarri. For 8-minutes she talks a bit about their relationship and then some of her husbandís work, including uncredited work he did on A Fistful of Dollars. Helmut Berger, an interesting fella to say the least, talks about the film and his other work, including other films with Tessari, and shares his thoughts rather openly about them. Amusingly he also talks about a role he turned down, which was for Caligula, on the grounds that it would have called for ďtoo much nudity.Ē Bergerís a bit of a character (in his introduction he states the film is not for children and points out the directorís head was somewhere else while making it) but heís fairly amusing and is pretty open. His interview runs about 17-minutes.

Arrow then includes a promotional gallery featuring a couple of posters and a handful of production photos. They also include both the English and Italian trailers, though I think they were both pretty much the same other than the languages. The included booklet then has a wealth of information starting with an excellent essay by James Blackford that works to introduce newcomers to giallo (saying DVD and Blu-ray seemed to have reignited interest in the sub-genre), which also provides an excellent list of films to go through. Author Howard Hughes next writes up an essay on the film music of Gianni Ferrio, and this is followed by a fairly lengthy essay on the filmís structure by Leonard Jacobs. This booklet is limited to first pressings I believe and does add a lot of value to the release, so if youíre thinking of picking up this edition Iíd say do so while the booklet is still available.

I appreciated the aspects that work to introduce newcomers to giallo: Iíve seen quite a few films now, though admittedly still know very little about them. But for those more seasoned thereís some great tid-bits for fans, pointing out links to other films, while the release also offers some great insights into the making of the film and its director. Itís a terrific special edition.

8/10

CLOSING

Fans should look no further: though there are a few limitations the presentation is still very filmic and stable, and Arrow delivers a great set of supplements. Highly recommended.




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