Monday, 7 June 2010
"Lizard" at Bradford: 2
It was great to see this new release by Optimum of "Lizard" on the big-ish screen at Bradford the other night, which I've checked and is officially released on DVD this very day, excellento!
Apparently there have been some missing sequences restored which may or may not be important , depending on if you have seen the film already as they made add more to the consistency of the action, I couldn't really tell at this point because I'd seen it 4 times already and knew the story. Having looked through my Shriek Show DVD again I do think the film has been cleaned up somewhat. Seeing it on the big screen was much more involving though, that's the wonder of cinema, no distractions from the screen (ok, yes there can, but that's another story). Also my choice of seating (second row from the front - I love getting close) meant the effects of the hand held camera and close-ups were even more disorientating. Call me weird, but I just loved those extreme close-ups of telephones... if I'm a telephony-phile I blame it all on Mario Bava.
The Shriek Show DVDs include the release of 'Lizard' by American International also known as "Schizoid" and the original Italian. "Shizoid" is wide screen, but a lot of the skin and gore has been edited out and the dream murder sequence has been put through a wave effect - not quite sure why, unless it's to cover up the aforementioned edits (notably the close-ups of stabbing Juliet Durer's naked body which means gore AND breasts); the dog scene is missing completely, making Carol Hammond's fainting and the doctor's statement of "I do assure you that whoever left that door open will be punished" meaningless. Also scenes like when the family are silently eating around the table, before the phone call from Carol's aunt telling her about the murder weapon are missing, but I realise now this will have been to make the film shorter for US release. I think this editing is why the Giallo reviews I used to read some years ago, talk about them not making sense at all. Agreeably, a lot of Giallo may seem incomprehensible and disorientating, and Michael J. Koven's book covers the way Italian popular films were specifically compiled for a cinema audience that might have other things on their minds besides the film, but I think that the time spent on trying to release the original edits and the fact that more people are tuned into the aesthetic and the constructs of the genre mean the films do mostly make sense (ok...ish).
The Italian release on the disc (which I thought was totally uncut) is sadly in pan and scan.
But now the Optimum version is widescreen and with all the edits restored to the full length version. We saw it dubbed, which actually worked not too badly (apart from one of the missing sequences which came hurtling back in in Italian with subtitles).
Funnily the dog scene was much longer than I remembered it, I thought that more had been added and it appeared more gratuitous, (I found myself going "Yeah yeah Lucio" at the repeated shots of pumping and spurting internal organs), but having just gone back to the Disc I can see it's exactly the same. Memory huh!?
BTW, this time round I thought this is a fab idea for a duvet cover.
Little things I noticed, George Rigaud (Carol's psychiatrist) a stalwart of some great Giallo, was speaking in English, hitherto I'd thought the dubbing was working rather well. I checked on IMDB and he was born in Argentina, but made a helluva lot of Italian movies. I guess that as the cast was international and the film was made in the UK he chose to speak in English.
The policeman responsible for bringing in the confessed killer was VERY familiar. From an IMDB check, I can't work out if it was Luigi Antonio Guerra who was also in Le Orme as well as some others I've seen. Darn it, I was convinced it was the murderer from The 5th Cord. Will have to check out both again, just to see if it is he and/or how wrong I was.
Lizard is one of the reasons I have a hard time seeing Anita Strindberg as cowed victim in "Your Vice..." and "Scorpion's Tail", not her fault at all, though perhaps her face, for me, is too angular and her expression too knowing (intelligent?) to be as compelling a victim as Edwige. Perhaps for these reasons, her appearance in the dream sequences is absolutely iconic.
Comparing Strindbergs (Above "Lizard", below "Your Vice").