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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

DVD Review: Crime of Passion

Crime of Passion (aka Delitto Passionale)

Italy 1994
Director: Flavio Mogherini
Writers: Flavio Mogherini & Daniele Stroppa
Starring: Serena Grandi, Florinda Bolkan, Fabio Testi, Paul Martignetti, Vesela Dimitrova.
DVD Released: April 27th 2010
Cert: NR
Running Time: 103 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Full Frame NTSC
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo Italian, Dolby Digital Stereo English
Subtitles: N/A
Distributor: Mya Communication
Region: 0 NTSC

The Film:

Peter Doncev (the fabulous Fabio Testi) has a slag for a wife. She may be a famous writer and a bit posh but she has a tendency to sneak out for a spot of after hours extra-marital rumpy pumpy with the English Ambassador whenever she gets the chance and not even her wheelchair bound daughter Anna can guilt mommy into staying at home when she's got the horn. On her latest carnal excursion however she is brutally (luckily post-coitally) murdered in her cheap hotel room. Enter young rookie detective Ivan Zanova (Paul Martignetti) and his crinkly beret wearing Wilford-Brimley-moustached partner/mentor to investigate. There are plenty of suspects to go around, including Peter's randy sister-in-law Tania (Serena 'bad boob job' Grandi), his secretary Milena (Anna Maria Petrova), his wife's professional rival alcoholic aging bint Giulia (Florinda Balkan), the list goes on and on. The aforementioned cops spend most of the film chatting leisurely to these people, in no great hurry to find the killer. Hell Inspector Ivan even finds time to take crippled Anna out on the town, well to a local gypsy encampment anyway, for an impromptu jam session (he plays saxophone) with the creepy gypos. While his partner Brimley-tache spends most of the film hairy stark bollock naked in a bath house/spa where Ivan also has to shed his clothes and grab his limp member to report in on a regular basis. Eventually the killer strikes again and is almost immediately caught...THE END!

It's a 90's giallo apparently, not the genre's best decade it seems. Featuring quite a few familiar genre faces but none of the charm, mystery or style of it's predecessors. Why the director/writer's thought it would be a good idea to have this Italian production set in Russia (presumably) is something of a mystery in itself - I kept having Nam-style flashbacks to Police Academy 7: Mission To Moscow, spookily also filmed in 1994, and wishing occasionally that I was watching that movie instead. Martignetti is the films protagonist, the main copper, the performance that really does make or break a film like this and he is a truly irritating screen presence unfortunately; the weediest, wettest, woefully inept screen detective ever. Even the lure of Serena Grandi's criminally underutilized dirty pillows couldn't save this film.

The Disc:

1.33:1 Full frame transfer looks a bit soft but is generally OK for a VHS transfer. Audio options include; a dubbed English stereo track that sounds fine (the accents are all over the place though from Russian to English to American) and an original Italian stereo track with no optional English subtitles, that's right NO ENGLISH SUBTITLES, what's the point in that? Another disappointing Mya presentation.

Ultimately this plays like a low budget Italian TV thriller.

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