Sunday, 7 December 2008

Profondo Rosso / Deep Red - Another World Entertainment DVD

The obvious question many giallo and / or Argento fans are likely to ask when confronted with this new DVD release of Deep Red from Another World Entertainment is whether it is really necessary: aren't there already perfectly adequate releases out there?

Well, besides that choice is a good thing in itself, there are a number of reasons for getting this disc.

The first, for those in Europe and elsewhere whose players support the format is that the film is presented in PAL rather than NTSC format and, as such, represents both a subjective and objective improvement on the likes of the old Anchor Bay release, fine though it was in its day, in visual quality.

The second, for those in the Scandinavian countries, is that the release allows the opportunity to watch the film in the original Italian with subtitles in their language and, beyond this, to generally support the indigenous DVD industry.

The third, for the fan who wants the most authentic version of the film, is that this Deep Red corrects a couple of issue in the presentation of some previous releases.

While perhaps not as significant as the correction in Another World's release of Fulci's The New York Ripper – where a scene previously included as a coda on the Anchor Bay disc was correctly re-inserted into the main body of the narrative with the effect of making a character into more of a suspect / red herring as the filmmakers had intended – in being confined to the start and end of Deep Red, they are nevertheless very welcome.

The first, more minor correction, is the use of the original typeface for the opening credits. It is thinner than the one used by Anchor Bay, which now seems like a retrospective post-Suspiria creation. As such, it establishes Deep Red as less a predecessor to Suspiria than a successor to the Animal Trilogy or a film very much in its own right. A minor semiotic point, some may say, but a stimulating one that could be taken further nonetheless.

The second, which will likely provoke more discussion in fan circles, is that the closing credits no longer entail a false freeze-framing of the image and instead see a character continuing the gaze actively into a pool of blood. If some critics may say “so what” here, I can only reply that for fans, long used to suffering through cut and otherwise compromised versions during the days of video and even into the DVD era, this is somewhat equivalent to having a version of Truffaut's The 400 Blows which for some reason did not end on the famous freeze frame of Antoine Donael replaced by one which does, to preserve its author's intentions, however unfashionable these may be as a mode of analysis that may be in certain circles.

If I haven't yet had time to get onto the extras yet, it should already be clear that even if you have Deep Red already, you really need this new DVD as well...


ross said...

Judging by Another World's website there aren't English subs on the director's cut? Is that so?

K H Brown said...

There are some English subs on the director's cut material, like Marc's instructions to his musicians, or part of the professor's introduction of Helga in the auditorium, but not on the material that was in old edited version in English.

So, no, there isn't as far as I can see the option there of watching the entire film in Italian with English subtitles - an option which, I guess, will limit the film to the more hardcore English fans who already know the film or whose Italian is good enough.

The commentary track seems to be in English - I maybe pre-emptively posted whilst still working through the discs.