Arrow Video are currently on a roll with Blu-ray releases and their latest is another Giallo in the shape of Dario Argento’s Deep Red (aka Profondo Rosso).
Released in 1975 Deep Red is something of a milestone in Giallo cinema and one of the high points in Argento’s career. It also represents the point in Argento’s career where his films began to get more closely linked with the supernatural (as hinted at in the opening sequence with a psychic) which reached an early peak with his next film, the mighty Suspiria.
Deep Red features an enjoyable performance by David Hemmings as the lead, a pianist named Marcus and a fun turn from Daria Nicolodi as Gianna. Following the murder of the aforementioned psychic, which Marcus almost witnesses, the film focuses on the search for this killer, who shows no sign of stopping. The film is filled with beautiful and striking imagery, all of which is accompanied by a wonderful if occasionally tonally jarring score by prog-rockers Goblin. Argento employs a variety of intricate visual techniques that are stunning to watch but also, for the most part (see the fun but ludicrous Hopper homage), beautifully aid the story and intensify the horror.
The Arrow Blu-ray offers the opportunity to watch either the Director’s Cut (127 minutes) or the International Theatrical Cut (105 minutes). The Director’s Cut is just that but it is also the version originally released in Italy and was only altered for international markets. The differences between the two mostly lie in a loss of many dialogue scenes in the shorter cut and also the shortening of scenes that are more plot than ‘action’ heavy. Although the Director’s Cut is favourable as the exchanges between David Hemmings and Daria Nicolodi are entertaining and help build their characters it is in Italian and the original English audio track by David Hemmings is preferable to the Italian dub of his character. Arrow have supplied an English track for the Director’s Cut but due to the availability of materials (the film was first released in Italian) this is not complete. This is perhaps an interesting case where neither cut is really ideal and it is therefore especially satisfying that Arrow have supplied both.
The two cuts are given a Blu-ray disc each and are presented in full 1080p. The new transfers for this edition are vast improvements on previous UK releases but they are not without issues. There is good grain retention in both cuts but in certain scenes this is almost a little distracting as the grain is very heavy. Although a completely glossed over DNR job would have been a big mistake the transfer may have benefited from a very slight reduction. The colour is well represented but there are minor fluctuations at times and I also noticed what looked almost like ghosting at one point in the theatrical cut. Both cuts are very good though despite these minor complaints and the opportunity to see these clearer, brighter and sharper HD transfers even revealed things that I had not previously noticed or been able to see clearly (I’ve not been lucky enough to see a decent print of Deep Red projected).
The extras are varied with the main draw being the insightful commentary on the director’s cut by Thomas Rostock. This is a direct port from the Danish AWE DVD release of the film but unless you already own that release you will most likely find this a very welcome addition. Rostock’s voice is a touch soporific at times and he does have a tendency to often simply describe what is happening on screen but the commentary is for the most part incredibly informative and worth persevering with.
The remainder of the extras are a mixed bag of interviews which will be of interest to fans of the film and also of the Giallo genre in genera;. Most entertaining is probably the video tour with Luigi Cozzi through the Deep Red shop in Rome.
The official list of the full contents of this Blu-ray release can be found below:
– Two versions of the film in High Definition, completely uncut for the first time in the UK
– Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned art work
– Two-sided fold-out poster with new art work
– Exclusive collector’s booklet featuring brand new writing on Deep Red by Alan Jones, author of ‘Profondo Argento’
DISC 1 CONTAINS:
– Brand new transfer of the Director’s Cut in High Definition (1080p)
– Optional Dolby 5.1/Stereo Italian Audio and Mono/Stereo English* Audio
– Introduction by composer Claudio Simonetti (1080p)
– Audio Commentary with Argento expert Thomas Rostock
– Rosso Recollections – Dario’s Deep Genius (1080p)
– Lady in Red: Daria Nicolodi remembers Profondo Rosso (1080p)
– Music to Murder For! Claudio Simonetti on Deep Red (1080p)
– Original Italian Trailer (1080p) TBC
– Original Trailer (1080p) TBC
DISC 2 CONTAINS:
– Brand new transfer of the International Theatrical Cut in High Definition (1080p)
– A Tour of the Profondo Rosso (Deep Red) shop in Rome with long time Argento collaborator Luigi Cozzi (1080p)
*The English Audio track on the Director’s Cut has some portions of English audio missing. This was either never recorded or has been lost. The English audio has been painstakingly assembled from various audio sources and represents the most complete audio available in a Mono/Stereo audio mix.