• Tintorera (Scorpion Releasing) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Scorpion Releasing
    Released on: January 5th, 2021.
    Director: René Cardona Jr.
    Cast: Hugo Stiglitz, Fiona Lewis, Jennifer Ashley, Susan George, Andrés García
    Year: 1977
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    Tintorera – Movie Review:

    Directed by Mexican horror and exploitation impresario René Cardona Jr. in 1977, two years after Jaws shattered box office records, Tintorera (also known as Tintorera: Killer Shark and Tiger Shark) centers around the exploits of a man named Steven (Hugo Stiglitz). He’s an American who has recently arrived on a resort island off the coast of Mexico. There he lives the good life on his yacht, chatting up and quickly striking up a love affair with Patricia (Fiona Lewis), a beautiful British tourist. When he can’t admit to her that he’s falling in love with her, she takes solace in the arms of Latin-lover Miguel (Andrés García), causing Steven to suckerpunch him when he finds them on the beach together. A short time later, Fiona is eaten by a tiger shark while taking a midnight skinny dip. No one seems to notice she’s missing.

    Soon enough, Steve and Miguel strike up a friendship – it’s a very competitive friendship, but a friendship nevertheless. When they spot a second lovely British tourist in the form of Gabriella (Susan George), their competition to see who can get her into bed first takes a strange turn and turns into a ‘throuple’ situation. They do some sightseeing and do a lot of screwing and neither man seems to mind this at all. Steven even makes everyone eggs one morning. When they’re not romancing Gabriella, Miguel teaches Steven the ins and outs of shark hunting, until he isn’t. And we’ll leave it at that.

    The version of Tintorera presented on this disc is the eighty-seven-minute US theatrical cut. A longer cut, running one-hundred-and-twenty-six-minutes exists and presumably fills in some of the blanks that are kind of obvious in this version of the movie. What does Steven do to allow him to live this affluent playboy lifestyle? Why doesn’t anyone notice Patricia is missing? Where does Gabriella go off to later in the film? You’ll find yourself with a lot of questions after watching this one, as this edition doesn’t seem particularly concerned with telling a cohesive story.

    What it is concerned with, is sex and very real animal violence. Those who may get upset seeing very real sharks getting speared, hooked and clubbed in the head should know ahead of time that there is a LOT of this type of material in the film and the camera does not shy away from showing it. Additionally, there’s a LOT of sex in the movie as well, far more than you’d probably expect going into what has traditionally been marketed as a typical sharksploitation picture. Not that there’s anything wrong with a high skin quotient, quite the opposite really, but expectations should be set properly before engaging with Tintorera.

    While the film has a lot of problems with its plotting and its storytelling, it scores full marks for some really strong visuals. The cinematography is excellent across the board and the underwater camerawork is frequently very impressive. The performances are okay. Everyone is dubbed so it’s hard to really gauge how well actors are handling the relationship drama that winds up being a focal point of the picture, but no one stands out as horrible or anything, even if it is amusing to see Stiglitz running around in some fairly ridiculous swimming briefs. Tintorera also benefits from a pretty great soundtrack comprised pretty much entirely of disco! Oh, and Priscilla Barnes, who played Terri on Three’s Company, shows up here too in a small role.

    Tintorera – Blu-ray Review:

    Tintorera comes to Region A Blu-ray framed at 1.85.1 widescreen on a 25GB disc, with the feature taking up 22.1GBs of space. Generally it looks quite good. Some of the underwater footage can look a little foggy, probably because it was shot… under water, but by and large the image is strong. There are a couple of vertical scratches that appear in a few shots but otherwise the image looks pretty clean. Detail is solid and colors look lifelike and natural. We get good black levels and the image is free of any obvious noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression artifacts.

    The only audio option is handled by a 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 track. Optional subtitles are offered in English only. Audio quality is fine, with the dialogue always easy to follow and understand and the levels properly balanced throughout. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion to note. It all sounds just fine. There are a few spots in the film where Spanish is spoken and during these parts, burned in English subtitles appear on screen.

    The main extra on the disc is a commentary track with Rod Barnett and Troy Howarth, who seem to have a good time going through the details of this particular cinematic oddity. They note the film's connections to European cult cinema, how the film was a British-Mexican co-production, the history of Helmdale Pictures, the novel by Ramon Bravo that the film was based on, the film's release history, who did what behind the camera and the film's connection to the James Bond License To Kill and to the work of Jacques Cousteau, the contrast that exists between the two male leads as they pursue Fiona Lewis' character, the differences between the relationship the men have with Fiona Lewis and Susan George, parallels to Psycho, René Cardona Jr.’s life and career and how he took advantage of loosening censorship laws in the seventies and, of course, the two different versions of the film. They note the differences between the two cuts and make the case for this shorter picture being the superior cut of the film, which often times isn't always the case with movies. They also note the unique 'somewhat progressive attitude' that the film shows with the three-way relationship in the film, the use of a lot of very real animal violence in the film, the quality of the underwater photography in the film, and background details on plenty of the cast and crew, noting Laura Lyons work for Playboy, the film’s ambiguous ending and quite a bit more.

    Aside from that, the disc also contains a few different trailers for the feature, trailers for a couple of other Scorpion Releasing titles, menus and chapter selection options. It also comes packaged with some nice reversible cover artwork. This release also comes packaged with a slipcover.

    Tintorera - The Final Word:

    While it would have been ideal to get both cuts of Tintorera with this release, Scorpion has done a pretty nice job bringing the shorter American cut of the film to Blu-ray. The presentation is solid and the commentary quite interesting. The movie itself is a fascinating mess, a truly off mix of softcore sex, shark attacks and drama all mixed together that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, but which is, if nothing else, always interesting.

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