• The Devil In Maddalena (One 7 Movies) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: One 7 Movies
    Released on: September 14th, 2021.
    Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz
    Cast: Lisa Gastoni, Eric Woofe, Ivo Garrani, Nando Gazzolo, Umberto Orsini
    Year: 1971
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    The Devil In Maddalena – Movie Review:

    An Italian-Yugoslavian co-production directed by a Polish director in the form of Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 1971's The Devil In Maddalena (or just plain old Maddalena in some circles) stars the alluring and curvaceous Lisa Gastoni (of Wake Up And Die) in the titular role. From the opening credits, where the camera leers over her curves as she shakes what the good Lord gave her, she remains the focus of the film.

    Maddalena, who has frequent strange dreams about being a blonde and getting into a nasty car accident, would seem to be on the lam, trying to hide out from her husband (Ivo Garrani) who will not give her the divorce that she wants. This takes her to a few different locales but when, at a random party, she meets a Catholic priest (Eric Woofe) who enters the gathering blindfolded and, quiet understandably, confused. She becomes pretty much instantly obsessed with the man and takes it upon herself to try and get into his head, and in turn, under his skin more than a little bit. She taunts him and coerces him into tossing his clerical collar aside and going out among the masses to live for a spell. If that weren't enough, she's also more than happy to use her comely feminine wiles to tease this man who has taken a vow of celibacy. After a bit of that, however, she comes to learn that maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.

    Set to an absolutely fantastic score from Ennio Morricone and featuring some genuinely impressive and frequently beautiful cinematography from Gábor Pogány, The Devil In Maddalena turns out to be more of an arthouse picture than the sexploitation picture that the cover art for this release makes it out to be, but it’s an interesting, if flawed picture that should nevertheless hold plenty of appeal for fans of Eurocult cinema. There are moments where the film dips its toes into horror movie territory but it serves as an interesting and artistically inspired but pretty vague take on the Mary Magdalene story. While there is a decent amount of nudity in the film, there isn’t anything that would push this past an R-rating, but moments that border on surreal help to keep things visually interesting and the plot somehow moves at a reasonable pace even if there are long stretches where there really isn’t a whole lot happening in the movie.

    As a showcase for the delectable Lisa Gastoni (who would have been in her mid-thirties when she made this film), however, the film a success, even if it often times feels underwritten and like an exercise in style over substance. Kawalerowicz and Pogány are savvy enough to let the camera bring Gastoni’s not inconsiderable assets front and center in the film, culminating in a scene highlighted on the Blu-ray’s front cover where she frolics in the nude in the surf of an empty beach. She’s got screen presence here to spare, and looks great as a raven haired temptress or as a blonde. Her acting in the film is also really strong, making you wonder why she didn’t become a bigger name in Eurocult circles than she did.

    The Devil In Maddalena – Blu-ray Review:

    One 7 Movies brings The Devil In Maddalena to region free Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen with the feature taking up 24.3GBs of space on the 25GB disc. Transferred from the original negative, the picture quality is pretty strong here. There’s some mild damage here and there but it always looks nice and film-like, showing no noticeable noise reduction or edge enhancement. Color reproduction is pretty good and if black levels aren’t quite reference quality they’re still pretty strong.

    English and Italian audio options are provided in 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono. There are no subtitles provided, which means that unless you speak Italian you’re going to need to go with the English track. Quality of the audio is fine. It’s dubbed, obviously, but the Italian track would have been as well. Despite a bit of flatness in the mix the dialogue is easy to follow and understand and the track is clean and properly balanced.

    There are no extra features included on this disc.

    The Devil In Maddalena – The Final Word:

    The Devil In Maddalena is worth seeing, if not essential. Eurocult devotees will appreciate the atmosphere and Gastoni’s impressive performance while Morricone’s excellent score and the nice cinematography add some welcome polish which helps to overlook the film’s flaws. One 7 Movies’ Blu-ray is barebones and devoid of subtitles for the Italian track, but the transfer is decent. For now, this imperfect release is the only English-friendly game in town.

    Click on the images below for full-sized The Devil In Maddalena screen caps!