Thursday, 4 October 2007

Kidnapped / Rabid Dogs / Rabid Dogs question

I got the new-ish Anchor Bay DVD of Mario Bava's formerly lost film Kidnapped today and, having watched that version and the Rabid Dogs one included as extras have a question: is there also a third reconstruction of the film, in the form of the one on the Lucertola DVD released way back in 1997?

If I remember correctly the Lucertola version bookends the action with two silhouetted sequences of the mother on the phone; this subplot is absent from the Anchor Bay Rabid Dogs and in kidnapped the first insert of the mother on the phone is positioned later in the narrative, after the point at which the gang has commandeered Riccardo's car, and stylistically more consistent.

While I think the positioning of this sequence in Kidnapped works better, I have to say that I don't find any of the versions entirely satisfactory. I found I preferred the solarised type titles on the Anchor Bay Rabid Dogs version because they reminded me of one of the trailers for A Bay of Blood and thus seemed to strengthen the thematic connection with that film, along with the parallel introduction of both Riccardo and the gang, including a nice match cut between Riccardo and Doc's wristwatches, which I found reminiscent of the opening / closing images of the story sequence in the original Tre volte della paura as a way of establishing an almost subconscious link between the two men ahead of their meeting.

Insofar as it's difficult to say much more about the film without spoiling it, I'll leave it at that and ask for your thoughts...


Oli said...

Yes, the Lucertola disc does indeed have this opening sequence that was filmed according to match Bava's original intentions.

Whilst this sequence does have some minor shortcomings in terms of its production I think that it is essential. Without this opening the incredible ending lacks that extra punch which made the film so memorable for me when I first viewed the Lucertola version.

Tim Lucas said...

The "mother of tears" titles was part of Bava's notes, but there's no way of knowing if he would have kept the idea after shooting it; indeed, if the money ran out (a real consideration) and the scene could not be shot, he would have made other provisions, maybe a title sequence like the one now on the picture.

It's a point of interest with me that Bava had this idea of a pre-titles image that would be clarified by final reel information -- a few months after the release of Argento's DEEP RED, which did something similar to great effect.

Neil Sarver said...

I need to watch the Kidnapped version, although I must say that what I heard about it and, more than that, what I saw on the documentary, I can't say I'd find it an improvement. Whereas, I can believe the editing in the Rabid Dogs version could use tightening, I can't help believing that all the benefit from that would be lost with the loss of the amazing score on that cut. And frankly, while I can see the effort, all of the newly shot sequences look newly shot to my eye... there's something just a hair off from making me believe it's really 1974.

I think there's another version to be had someday in the future... or at least, I dream of it some nights.

Anonymous said...

I love your screen shots and commentary. This is a great blog. Thanks.