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Blue Underground presents
Revolver (Blood in the Streets) (1973)

"I've kept my side of the bargain. Now you give me all your friends' names, or I'll blow your guts out, all right?"
- Vito Cipriani (Oliver Reed)

Review By: Mark Zimmer  
Published: October 15, 2002

Stars: Oliver Reed, Fabio Testi, Agostina Belli, Paola Pitagora
Other Stars: Frederic de Pasquale, Marc Mazza, Bernard Giraudeau, Daniel Bereta
Director: Sergio Sollima

Manufacturer: Ritek Digital Video
MPAA Rating: R for (nudity, sexuality, violence, drug use, language)
Run Time: 01h:49m:31s
Release Date: October 01, 2002
UPC: 014381192926
Genre: crime


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+B+B- C+

DVD Review

Desperate situations often produce desperate men. In the heat of the moment, thoughts aren't always clear and ethical standards are often bent to the breaking point. In this bleak Italian picture, released in the US as Blood in the Streets, the ethics and morality are even murkier than usual in such fare, and nearly everyone is eventually tarred with immorality.

In the wake of the assassination of an oil magnate, prison warden Vito Cipriani (Oliver Reed) learns that his wife Anna (Agostina Belli) has been kidnaped. The kidnapers insist that the warden engineer the release of a prisoner, Milo Ruiz (Fabio Testi). Compromised, he arranges for Ruiz' escape but is stymied when he learns that the prisoner has no idea who would take such action on his behalf. The situation leads from simple blackmail into political intrigue and thorough corruption as the unlikely pair attempt to rescue Anna and unravel the kidnapers' plots.

Reed and Testi make an excellent team, with Reed's smoldering intensity put to good use here. His character begins with a violent reputation, and Reed demonstrates how his circumstances bring him to the boiling point and beyond. However, he still maintains a grudging respect for Ruiz, if not an eventual affection. The other half of this odd couple, Fabio Testi, stretches beyond his usual sex symbol roles to give Ruiz a many-layered portrayal. Also engaging is Daniel Bereta as a folksinger caught up into the scheme and used as an unwitting pawn on several levels.

The story is complex and not entirely comprehensible; at times continuity seems to be seriously lacking as the two find themselves chasing (and being chased) across Europe. One wonders whether descriptive subtitles may have been stripped off, since there is little in the way of clarification to tell the viewer where the characters are as they move; in addition, a critical clue remains in Italian, without any translation whatsoever, which doesn't help.

The jazzy score by Ennio Morricone is peculiarly suitable to the film; through the use of syncopation the emphasis is constantly kept off the beat, paralleling Cipriani's lurching attempts to find his wife and learn the truth. The direction by Sergio Sollima is matter-of-fact, in a documentary-like style reminiscent of The French Connection the year before. But the lead performances make this a drama well worth looking for. Don't expect it to be uplifting, though, as things tend to get more and more grim until they reach an implacable finale.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic widescreen picture looks splendid. Black levels are quite nice, with admirable shadow detail. Colors are a bit muted, but that's appropriate for Italian crime dramas of this era as well as the thematic meterial. Detail is reasonably good, and the source print is practically flawless.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 mono English track has a prominent and unfortunate hiss throughout. The music has good depth and presence, but on occasion the dubbed dialogue is difficult to make out. Subtitles really would have been useful on this release.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 26 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
2 Original Trailer(s)
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 01h:02m:35s

Extra Extras:
  1. radio spots
  2. photo and poster galleryp
Extras Review: This release from Blue Underground includes some useful extras. Principal among these is a new featurette with interviews with director Sollima and Fabio Testi. Much of the time is spent discussing the difficulties of working with the hard-drinking Oliver Reed, but other aspects of the production are touched on as well. The participants speak in Italian, with burned-in subtitles translating their words. An easter egg contains an additional humorous anecdote from Sollima about the dinner where Reed and Testi first met.

Two trailers are presented. The international trailer, under the Revolver name, is entirely wordless, with a fast cutting between unrelated shots. In addition, the US trailer with portentous voiceover is included as are two US radio spots extolling the film as making Death Wish look like "wishful thinking." Wrapping up the package are an extensive still gallery and lengthy and highly informative bios of Reed, Testi, Sollima and Morricone, supplemented by selected filmographies.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

A grim and unrelenting crime drama, featuring two terrific lead performances. The video transfer is quite nice, though the sound is a little hissy. Extras are decent.

 


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