DVD region 2. Arrow Video.
Red is a pivotal film in Dario Argento's career, marking
the crossroads between his early giallo movies (Bird
with the Crystal Plumage, Cat O'Nine Tails
and Four Flies on Grey Velvet) and his move -
briefly - into the world of supernatural sensory overload with
Suspiria and Inferno.
classical giallo style, the film follows a protagonist
- in this case Marc Daly (David Hemmings), an English musician
living in Rome - who becomes obsessed with solving a murder he's
witnessed (as in most giallo films, the police are pretty
useless and generally invisible). He's fixated on the fact that
there is a missing piece of the puzzle that is right in front
of him, if only he could remember what it was. Meanwhile, the
killer is always one step ahead, killing whoever could help Daly
put the pieces together - and coming after the witness himself,
who is 'helped' by an annoyingly feisty journalist (Daria Nicolodi).
At this point, I should explain that there are two cuts of the
film included in this DVD set - the international edit (called
Deep Red) and an Italian only release - titled
Profondo Rosso - that has about 20 minutes of
additional footage. These days, this is the version most widely
seen, but I'd suggest that the shorter version is the better one.
The additional footage doesn't add anything to the story - it
simply expands scenes far beyond their welcome, especially as
many of them feature the ill-placed relationship between Hemmings
and Nicolodi, who's character is extraordinarily annoying - the
less we see of her the better, quite frankly. This cut has the
original Italian title sequence, which is better, but
the Deep Red cut is much tighter. Profondo
Rosso has dual audio - the English language track is
actually better (and no more dubbed) than the Italian one, but
the extra scenes are in Italian only, which can be a bit jarring
if you watch it in English - voices suddenly change entirely as
subtitles appear. Again, the shorter cut doesn't have this problem.
you have the choice of which version to watch here - a good move
by Arrow. And both are uncut for the first time in the UK.
whichever you choose, Deep Red has enough going
for it that you can ignore the bad parts. Argento's first film
using a Goblin score, the film has a soundtrack that hammers away
relentlessly (it's Goblin at full prog rock flow) and the visuals
- looking wonderful here - often match, with weird angles, tight
close-ups and vivid colours bleeding out of the screen. The violence
is intense - the killings still seem pretty hardcore even today
- and the plot, while unlikely to stand up to detailed scrutiny,
will keep you guessing, as Argento piles on misleading hints and
red herrings before revealing the unlikely killer (another giallo
trait - the identity of the murderer will usually make no sense).
two versions of the film and the luxurious packaging - which includes
a booklet, poster and assorted fold-outs (review copies didn't
come with this sleeve unfortunately, but if past Arrow releases
are anything to go by, it'll be impressive) - pretty much ensure
that you'll all be wanting this. Just as well, as the extras -
while plentiful - are pretty weak. A few badly shot featurettes
and a pompous commentary by an Argento 'expert' let the set down
- something like this cries out for the sterling DVD extra work
that David Gregory and Carl Daft have excelled at for years, not
some bargain basement knock-off.
quibble aside, Deep Red is an essential Italian
horror classic from a director who's glories have long since faded.
IT NOW (UK) DVD • BLU-RAY
IT NOW (USA)