• Amuck!



    Released by: Camera Obscura
    Released on: April 27th, 2018.
    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. Taken from a 2k restoration of the original 35mm negative, 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. This looks damn close to the 88 Films Blu-ray release reviewed here (they share the same source) but the Camera Obscura disc gets has the advantage of a higher bit rate and slightly better color timing.

    Italian and English language audio options are provided in LPCM 2.0 Mono with subtitles provided in English and in German. 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 an audio commentary track from Marcus Stiglegger, Kai Naumann and Pelle Felsch. Delivered in German with English subtitles, this track sees the three participants talk about the alternate titles that the film was known under, the locations that were used for the shoot, and of course, the different cast members that populate the picture. There’s a lot of talk here about Bouchet’s performance in the film but also some good discussion about Granger’s work in the film which, somewhat understandably, lives in the shadow of Bouchet and Neri’s work (“There is definitely something wicked about Neri” - indeed!). They make some interesting observations about the use of mirrors in this and many other giallos, the editing in the film, the restoration of the film that was done for this release and how it lets viewers really appreciate the use of color in the picture, and quite a bit more. At one point there is some strange background noise on the track – the commentators call it out and not a strange vibrating feeling in an unexpected area (“Warm in the crotch?”) but they soldier on discussing the film’s depiction of women and how it ties into Italian morality of the era, the use of music in the picture and a fair bit more. There’s a good sense of humor to the track, they manage to relay a lot of interesting insight and information about the making of the film without coming across as dry, rather, there’s some personality here, which makes the track a lot more fun to listen to than it would be otherwise.

    From there, we get a few featurettes, the first of which is In A House Of Sin, an eighteen minute interview with Barbara Bouchet in which she talks about being cast in her first thriller, the comedies that she’d done before this film and what it was like working with the director, who she didn’t know before being cast in the film. She describes him as ‘meticulous’ but speaks kindly of him and seems to have learned a fair bit from him at this early point in her Italian film career. She also talks about how Venice has changed since the movie was made, the difference between learning lines for film versus learning lines for live theater, how she enjoyed working and living in Italy, and the ‘shock’ of seeing two women kissing in a movie (noting that ‘it’s just a movie sequence, it’s not real life’ in reference to the infamous bedroom scene she shares with Ms. Neri). A second 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 third and final featurette is Amadio!, an interview with Stefano Amadio, the late director’s son. This twenty-one minute piece sees Stefano giving us plenty of background information on his father’s career, his connection to Visconti, his early days in the film business and how eventually came to direct features himself after working some entry level positions. From there he talks about a few of his father’s features, which ones were highs and which ones were lows, before then going on to share some specifics about the story behind Amuck!, including some information about how the whole crew on set stopped working during the infamous lesbian make out session! He also talks about how screening locations were chosen to avoid certain judges known for being more conservative in their views than others and some of the censorship issues that the film ran into. Interesting stuff!

    Outside of that, the disc also contains the film’s English language trailer, an extensive still gallery, as well as menus and chapter selection (provided in both English and German language options).

    The disc fits inside a digipack style Blu-ray case that is packaged inside a sturdy cardboard sleeve. This also holds a color insert booklet containing liner note from Marcel Barion (provided in both English and German text) that makes some interesting comparisons between this film and another Granger vehicle, Hitchcock’s Rope. Also included inside the packaging is the film’s complete soundtrack on CD a – a really nice extra for film score fans!

    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. Camera Obscura’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds fantastic and features an excellent collection of supplements to accompany the beautifully restored feature. All in all, a superb release.

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





























    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      I am so torn on picking this up. Love the film. I want to support Camera Obscura. But I have the 88 release. I'm sure I'll pick this up after agonizing for a few months. This would have been alot easier if CO would have got to market first. I need a caps-a-holic comparison.
    1. Mark C.'s Avatar
      Mark C. -
      I just ordered a copy today.
    1. Gary Banks's Avatar
      Gary Banks -
      Just the sight of Neri's ass in hi def is making me contemplate a purchase.
    1. SuperDevilDoctor's Avatar
      SuperDevilDoctor -
      Aye... 'Tis an incredible thing to behold!
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