A few quick notes (and some screen captures) I’ve made for Shameless Screen Entertainment’s BD release of Argento’s FOUR FIES ON GREY VELVET, as I don’t have time at present to type up a full review. In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions about the release and I’ll do my best to answer them.

- On the whole, image quality is very good, streets ahead of anything we’ve seen before for this film and a marked improvement on noisy transfers like THE CAT O’ NINE TAILS and Arrow’s version of TENEBRAE. It’s much better than I was expecting and it’s really nice to be pleasantly surprised rather than let down. It’s not razor sharp but at least in this case I think we can be reasonably confident that we’re seeing the limitations of the source material rather than any fault in the transfer.

- There are a few minor flaws. First of all, there is some noticeable posterization in the first bedroom scene after Roberto “kills” his stalker. It’s more distracting on a plasma display than an LCD.

- Second, in the park scene, like on the MYA DVD, there is an abrupt cut from day to night rather than the gradual fade that should take place over several shots.

- In attempting to correct the horizontal line that’s visible during the slow-mo car crash at the end, they’ve ironically made the effect even more distracting. By the looks of it, they’ve simply cut the line out rather than painting over it, which means that there are several lines of vertical information missing, which really emphasises that the image is literally “chopped in two”. In my opinion they should just have left the line as it was.

- Other than that, extremely good work on the video. Taking these flaws into account, it gets an 8/10 from me.

- Audio is, like the video, a vast improvement on the whole. The pitch problem that affected the MYA DVD is completely absent, though that’s not surprising as Shameless seem to have used a different source - one that’s much cleaner and almost completely devoid of any of the hiss, crackle or muffling often associated with films like these. Honestly, it’s a revelation, and lines of dialogue that were previously hard to make out are now crystal clear.

- There are problems, though, all of which occur in the final 10 minutes. The snatches of Italian dialogue when Mimsy Farmer is confessing suffer from frequent ear-splitting cracks or pops. The tyres screeching and eventual explosion when the car hits the truck suffer from similar distortion. These problems are NOT present on the included Italian tracks.

- Also - and this is probably a more minor complaint - the sound cuts jarringly during the explosion at the end before the closing credits music (“Come un Madrigale”) starts rather than fading between them as it did on the MYA DVD. And finally, after the closing credits, the music cuts out a couple of seconds before it should end, which is again jarring (though nothing like as bad as what happened on the Arrow PHENOMENA BD).

- Overall, an extremely welcome upgrade for a film that I automatically assumed would look average at best on BD (going by how many of these films have suffered from mediocre or poor HD transfers) but quite honestly it knocked my socks off. The audio problems in the final 10 minutes are sloppy and something I’d hope Shameless will look into - I’m not sure the pops and screeches in the final scenes could actually damage anyone’s speaker equipment, but they’re certainly not pleasant to listen to - but overall this is a very strong presentation and definitely one of the better-looking and -sounding gialli on BD.

Captures:


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