• Amuck



    Released by: 88 Films
    Released on: February 27th, 2017.
    Director: Silvio Amadio
    Cast: Farley Granger, Rosalba Neri, Barbara Bouchet, Patrizia Viotti
    Year: 1972
    Purchase From Diabolik DVD

    The Movie:

    Greta Franklin (Barbara Bouche) takes a new job as a secretary for a famous and well off writer named Richard Stuart (Farley Granger). He lives in a fairly massive old house out on an island near Venice with his beautiful wife Eleanora (Rosalba Neri) on an island. It’s a nice, secluded location away from prying eyes and an ideal spot for a man intent on beginning work on his next novel.

    Although Greta isn’t immediately the world’s greatest secretary, she’s got a good work ethic and what would appear to be a sincere enthusiasm for her work. This endears her to Richard and soon enough, not only is she working with he and Eleanora, but playing with them as well. The Stuarts have a penchant for throwing lavish, decadent parties and their marriage is an open one. Greta, however, is determined to find out what happened to her friend Sally (Patrizia Viotti), Richard’s previous secretary who seems to have disappeared without a trace. When she spies the girl in an amateur porn film shot in a very familiar location, she starts to put the pieces of the puzzle together and hopes to find Sally’s killer… and then things start to get dangerous.

    Stylish and tightly paced by the late Silvio Amadio, who both wrote and directed the picture, Amuck is steamy, suspenseful stuff. To cut to the chase, the main draw here is the chance to see Neri and Bouchet in some rather promiscuous situations and to be blunt, on that level the film delivers. However, there’s more to this than just the chance to see two of Eurocult’s most lovely ladies strutting about in their birthday suits. Granted, Amadio clearly knew what audiences wanted here – the camera lingers over the actresses and some of the sex is even shot in slow motion! – but Amuck manages to sneak in a genuinely decent story in and amongst all the bumping and grinding.

    The storyline isn’t even close to complex but it is effective. There are a few mildly interesting twists and turns in here, some interesting character development and a back story to Greta’s character that might just catch you by surprise. Amadio uses flashbacks here to explain all of this, which some might see as an easy way out, but he’s careful not to overdo it. Likewise, he infuses the picture with some minor injections of melodrama, often times a tactic that can spell certain death for a suspense or horror picture, but it’s never a problem simply because Amadio is savvy enough to ramp up the film’s sexual tensions whenever the need arises. The solid pacing, gorgeous cinematography and fantastic locations combine with some genuine suspense to ensure that we have no problem paying attention.

    As to the performances, it’s interesting to see Granger appear here (though this wasn’t the only film he made in Italy around this time) and he’s good enough in the part. Really though, it’s Neri and Bouchet who own the film. They get way more screen time than anyone else and it’s clear that Amadio knew he was onto something here. Both actresses handle the material with ease, sliding easily into character as effortlessly as their respective characters do in and out of bed. Patrizia Viotti is no slouch here either – plenty easy on the eyes and well-cast in her role. If the body count in the film is low by giallo standards, Amuck more than makes up for that with a pretty insane amount of eye candy!

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Amuck arrives on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.35.1 widescreen on a 50GB disc. Touted as being taken from a 2k restoration of the original 35mm negative (the same restoration that is to be used on the upcoming Camera Obscura release according to online sources), the picture quality here is very good. Colors generally look really nice and outside of some tiny white specks here and there, print damage is almost non-existent. Black levels look nice and solid and there’s no evidence of any digital manipulation like noise reduction or edge enhancement.

    Italian and English language audio options are provided in LPCM 2.0 Mono with subtitles provided in English only (one for each language track). Audio quality is also quite good – there are no discernable problems with any hiss or distortion and the levels are nicely balanced throughout playback. For an older mono mix there’s decent depth here, particularly when it comes to the movie’s score, which sounds quite nice here in lossless format.

    Extras on the disc start off with a twenty-one minute interview with the film’s lovely leading lady entitled An Icon Amuck: Barbara Bouchet’s Life And Crimes. Here Ms. Bouchet speaks about taking work in Italy and her first impressions of the Italian film industry, getting cast in Amuck and working in quite a few other films of the era now considered to be classics of Italian genre cinema. Bouchet also shows up in a twenty-three minute long Q&A session recorded from her appearance at The Festival Of Fantastic Films that took place in Manchester, England in September of 2013. Moderated by Calum Waddell, The genial Bouchet talks not only about her work in Italian cinema but what it was like growing up in Europe when she did and how she started working on films in England and the United States before taking many of the Italian roles she is now best remembered for. A third featurette, Death In Venice, is a sixteen minute long interview with Rosalba Neri who speaks quite candidly about shooting Amuck on location in Venice, her thoughts on starring alongside Bouchet in the film, Silvio Amadio’s talents behind the camera and a good bit more.

    The disc fits inside a clear Blu-ray keepcase that is packaged with some nice reversible cover art and which also holds a color insert booklet containing liner note from Waddell entitled ‘A Class Act Gone Amuck!’ that discusses Bouchet's appeal alongside her work in cinema with some interesting notes about her personal life.

    The Final Word:

    Amuck is worth seeing simply because it stars Rosalba Neri and Barbara Bouchet at the height of their seductive powers, but it also happens to be a pretty cracking thriller with sex appeal and style to spare. The Blu-ray release from 88 Films is a good one, offering the movie up with fine lossless audio, a strong transfer and a nice selection of supplemental material.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!





























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