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Writings > DVD Image Comparisons > A Lizard in a Woman's Skin/Una Lucertola con la Pelle di Donna


A Lizard in a Woman's Skin/Una Lucertola con la Pelle di Donna

Region 1 (USA) - Media Blasters
vs. Region 2 (Italy) - Federal Video

 

Details

 

 

DVD

R1 USA
 

 

DVD

R2 Italy
 

Disc(s)

 

2x single-sided dual layer (DVD9)

 

1x single-sided single layer (DVD5)
1x Single-sided single layer (DVD5)

Running Time

 

Disc 1:
Approx. 96 mins (NTSC)

Disc 2:
Approx. 98 mins (PAL standards converted to NTSC)

 

Approx. 98 mins (PAL)

Video

 

Disc 1:
1.85:1 anamorphic
Average bit rate: 7.41 Mbps
NTSC 720x480 at 24 fps

Disc 2:
1.33:1 non-anamorphic
Average bit rate: 7.77 Mbps
NTSC 720x480 at 29.97 fps (interlaced)

 

1.85:1 anamorphic
Average bit rate: 5.71 Mbps
PAL 720x576 at 25 fps

Audio

 

Disc 1 - English:
Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kbps
Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kbps

Disc 2 - Italian:
Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kbps

 

Italian:
Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kbps (not original language)

Subtitles

 

Disc 1:
None

Disc 2:
English

 

Italian

Extras

 

Disc 1:
- Original trailer
- 2 US radio spots
- Fulci trailer reel
- Death Trance promo

Disc 2:
- "Shedding the Skin" featurette (34 mins)
- Photo gallery
- 2 deleted scenes (easter egg)

 

- Filmographies for Jean Sorel, Florinda Bolkan and Lucio Fulci
- Deleted scene
- Original Italian opening credits
- "Una Regista per Tutti i Generi" - interview with Professor Paolo Albieri (31 mins)
- "La Censura e le Version del Film" - interview with Professor Paolo Albieri (6 mins)

 

Bit Rate

R1 USA (Disc 1)

DVD Image Comparison


R1 USA (Disc 2)

DVD Image Comparison


R2 Italy

DVD Image Comparison

 

Screen Captures

Example 1

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R1 USA (Disc 1) | R1 USA (Disc 2) | R2 Italy

DVD Image Comparison

 

Example 2

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R1 USA (Disc 1) | R1 USA (Disc 2) | R2 Italy

DVD Image Comparison

 

Example 3

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R1 USA (Disc 1) | R1 USA (Disc 2) | R2 Italy

DVD Image Comparison

 

Example 4

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R1 USA (Disc 1) | R1 USA (Disc 2) | R2 Italy

DVD Image Comparison

 

Example 5

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R1 USA (Disc 1) | R1 USA (Disc 2) | R2 Italy

DVD Image Comparison

 

Example 6

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R1 USA (Disc 1) | R1 USA (Disc 2) | R2 Italy

DVD Image Comparison

 

Example 7

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DVD Image Comparison

 

Example 8

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DVD Image Comparison

 

Example 9

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DVD Image Comparison

 

Example 10

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DVD Image Comparison

 

Example 11

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R1 USA (Disc 1) | R1 USA (Disc 2) | R2 Italy

DVD Image Comparison

 

Example 12

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DVD Image Comparison

 

Comments

Media Blasters are renowned for screwing up their DVD releases, and screw-ups don't come much bigger than their version of A Lizard in a Woman's Skin. Failing to secure an uncut version of Lucio Fulci's classic giallo, they instead put out a 2-disc set featuring a widescreen transfer of the censored American print (known as "Schizoid" in some circles), in English, as well as a VHS-sourced, fullscreen standards conversion of the near-uncut Italian version, in Italian with English subtitles.

To say that neither version was satisfactory would by the understatement of the year. After all, who wants to choose between these two different variants, neither of which is remotely satisfying? Furthermore, while many people have praised the image quality of the American print, I am considerably less impressed. The colours are continually wonky, with certain scenes giving the impression that everyone is wearing tangerine lipstick (see Example 8), and a lengthy stretch in the middle suffering from a pronounced turqoise tint and heavy print damage (see Example 10). Oh yeah, and like a number of Media Blasters releases, it's slightly cropped, losing some information on the right side of the frame. The VHS-sourced Italian version, meanwhile, is not worth even mentioning.

The new R2 Italian DVD from Federal Video goes a considerable way towards correcting Media Blasters' follies, but alas is still far from ideal. The biggest problem with this release is its lack of English audio or subtitles. Although I am generally fairly ambivalent regarding which language gialli should be viewed in (given that the post-synchronisation practice means that effectively every language is a dub), but in the case of Lizard, I am adamant that English is the only way to go. Not only is it set in London and featuring notable British actors Leo Genn and Stanley Baker, it was post-dubbed at Pinewood Studios and, unlike most giallo dubs, could actually pass for original production sound for the bulk of its duration. I don't think I'm overstating the case here: the English dub is a labour of love and one that everyone who thinks gialli are only filled with dodgy acting and laughable dubbing should experience.

Federal Video's release is slightly longer than Media Blasters' version, thanks mainly to a brief lead-in to the tense dinner scene at the Hammond household (see Example 7) and some additional footage of Carol getting anxious while Frank is over visiting the crime scene. There are, however, two caveats.

The first involves the dream sequence which features Carol murdering Julia Durer. The US print of the film is censored to remove some sapphic fondling and stabbing, and also features a distracting "underwater" effect laid over the image as part of a further attempt at optical censoring. On the Italian VHS (Disc 2 of the Media Blasters release), the rippling is completely absent. However, for their release, Federal Video have used a combination of the US print and, where material is missing, a slightly rougher-looking but uncut Italian print. Unfortunately, someone screwed up in this scene and used a combination of "underwater" and "non-underwater" footage, which is not only slightly distracting but also means that a few seconds of fondling have been accidentally lost. Sloppy work, folks.

The second involves a sequence during the drunk-induced orgy at Julia's flat while the Hammonds are having dinner. In this instance, the US release actually features slightly more material than its Italian counterpart: a shot of a near-nude Julia approaching a man lying on the floor and kissing him. Much of her journey towards him, and the start of the smooching, were cut out of the Italian version (on both releases) and are presented as a deleted scene (on both releases). The missing material could actually have been reintegrated fairly easily, but Federal Video, it would seem, couldn't be bothered.

Ultimately, the Federal Video release is much better in terms of image quality, and for including the longer version of the film in widescreen, than its US counterpart, but it pretty much useless unless you (a) speak Italian and (b) don't mind watching the inferior Italian dub. Also, because it constitutes a hodge-podge of two different print sources, there are noticeable jumps in picture quality and some moments in which errors have slipped through (a couple of seconds of Jean Sorel in Julia's flat are repeated on either side of some footage not present in the US release that is spliced into the middle of that scene). Ideally, someone will eventually uncover the original negative and create the definitive edition (on HD DVD, please!), but until then, it's either one of these two releases, or else having a go at creating your own composite version.

 

Summary

 

 

USA

 

Italy

Video

 

4/10

 

7/10

Audio

 

6/10

 

0/10

Extras

 

6/10

 

6/10