• An Ideal Place To Kill (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: May 26th, 2020.
    Director: Umberto Lenzi
    Cast: Ray Lovelock, Ornella Muti, Irene Papas, Michel Bardinet
    Year: 1971
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    An Ideal Place To Kill – Movie Review:

    Also known as Dirty Pictures and Oasis Of Fear, Umberto Lenzi’s 1971 picture, An Ideal Place To Kill, follows the exploits of Dick Butler (Ray Lovelock) and Ingrid Sjoman (Ornella Muti), a freewheeling young couple with an interesting occupation: the buy dirty magazines and 8mm stag films in Denmark and smuggle them into Italy where they sell them for a profit. After all, Italy is a predominantly Catholic country and, as we’re told, Catholic’s like a bit of sin. When they run out of cash after getting swindled by a motorcycle stunt rider and his crew, they wind up trying to sell nude Polaroids of Ingrid, which eventually lands them in some hot water with the local police, who let them off with a warning but confiscate Dick’s Polaroid.

    After being mistaken for a couple accused of robbing a bank, they quickly run out of cash and gas, at which point they push their MG roadster into the garage of a nearby house and siphon some gas from a car inside so that they can get back on the road. They’re caught by the lady of the house, Barbara Slater (Irene Papas), who is at first quite shocked to see them. After the young couple plead their case, however, Barbara invites them into her massive home for some sandwiches and they wind up staying the night.

    That’s where things start to get tricky.

    Often talked about as a giallo, this film features no black gloved murderers, no gore and very little on screen violence. It’s more of a mystery/thriller than what most would consider to be, traditionally at least, a giallo picture, but it’s got enough thematic and visual connections that it’ll likely appeal to those who appreciate that genre. What the picture might lack in bloody killings it makes up for with scenes of bizarre sexual tension, heady mind games and some interesting and unexpected twists and turns. It’s a very stylish film with some great cinematography from Alfio Contini and a really effective score composed by Bruno Lauzi and overall the production values here are very strong.

    Lenzi directs well and manages to get really strong performances out of his three main players. Ray Lovelock and Ornella Muti have good chemistry together, we buy them as a couple and they’re convincingly free-spirited, sexually liberated and playful. We like them, even if we know that maybe we shouldn’t. If they’re breaking a few laws here and there, they’re not actually hurting anyone and they really seem to be enjoying themselves in the first half of the film. Of course, the dynamic changes completely once Irene Papas’ character is brought into the mix. Without heading into spoiler territory, her performance in the film is just as good as those delivered by her two younger co-stars.

    An Ideal Place To Kill – Blu-ray Review:

    An Ideal Place To Kill debuts on Blu-ray from Mondo Macabro on a 25GB disc with the feature taking up just under 17GBs of space. Taken from a new 2k scan of the original 35mm negative and framed at 2.35.1 widescreen, the picture quality here is very good. Detail is quite strong and the colors used throughout the movie are reproduced very nicely. Black levels are solid, nice and deep, and the image is free of any problematic noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression artifact related problems, retaining a film0-like quality throughout. There’s very little print damage here at all, the elements used were clearly in great shape.

    English and Italian language options are provided in 16-bit DTS-HD Mono options and they both sound fine. It does look like most of the performers are speaking English based on the lip movements, but there isn’t really a right or wrong option here. Both tracks sound clean, clear and nicely balanced with a good amount of depth given the score. Levels are fine and there are no noticeable issues with any hiss or distortion worth complaining about. The optional English subtitles translate the Italian track and are easy to read and free of any noticeable typographical errors.

    Mondo Macabro offers up a new audio commentary from Nathanial Thompson and Troy Howarth. The start off by talking about the different titles that the film is known under, as well as the ‘trickiness’ of its qualification as a giallo picture. They then talk about the difference in quality between Lenzi’s giallo pictures and some of his ‘gore’ films like Cannibal Ferox, how he was working with a ‘comfortable budget’ on this picture, how the film is a road movie in a sense and also a ‘three-hander,’ how photogenic Muti and Lovelock are in the film are and the quality of the work from the three leads overall, the familiar faces that show up in the supporting cast, how the film is definitely not a ‘body count giallo,’ the way that Irene Papas’ character manipulates the two younger characters, the film’s similarities to the director’s earlier Paranoia and how Lenzi’s films often have a very sad or downbeat quality to them. They also cover how the ending of this film packs a punch much like Fernando Di Leo’s To Be Twenty, how the film defies expectations set up by earlier ‘home invasion’ films, the importance of producer Carlo Ponti’s involvement in the picture and why he got into giallo’s with this film and Torso after the success of Bird With The Crystal Plummage, Lenzi’s claims to have invented the giallo film, the English versus Italian language debate, edits that were made to the film and more. They occasionally go off on different tangents when discussing films they find similarities to, either thematically or historically, but it’s an enjoyable and very conversational talk that includes quite a bit of both information and opinion on the film and those who made it.

    Also included on the disc is a twenty-one-minute featurette entitled Porn Smugglers which is a great archival interview with Lenzi himself. He speaks here in a lot of detail about casting the film, having to be careful about the age of the actresses because of the nudity in the picture, how the producers changed his original story to make the film about porno magazine smugglers when he intended it to be about drug smugglers, working with the principal cast members in the film, how he always prefers to write his own films (or at least have input in the writing process) and quite a bit more.`

    The disc also includes a trio of slightly extended X-rated sequences excised from the film. These don’t go hardcore but are slightly more explicit versions of some of the racier bits from the feature version.

    Rounding out the extra features are the Mondo Macabro promo reel, menus and chapter selection options.

    An Ideal Place To Kill – The Final Word:

    An Ideal Place To Kill is an interesting thriller that really features some great performances from its three leads and some stylish direction from Lenzi. Mondo Macabro’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds great and it’s got some interesting extra features as well. Recommended!

    Click on the images below for full-sized An Ideal Place To Kill (pre-print scan version) screen caps!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. funkvader's Avatar
      funkvader -
      I'm getting this one.