'The Bloodstained Butterfly' [Blu-ray]
(Helmut Berger, Giancarlo Sbragia, Evelyn Stewart, et al / Blu ray+DVD / NR / (1971) 2016 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: A girl is murdered in a park. The man is tried and convicted for the crime, but afterwards the killings continue.
Blu-ray Verdict: Directed by Duccio Tessari (Death Occurred Last Night, A Pistol for Ringo), 'The Bloodstained Butterfly' melds the lurid giallo traditions popularized by Dario Argento and Mario Bava with courtroom drama, resulting in a film that is as concerned with forensic detail and legal process as it is with grisly murders and audacious set-pieces.
When a French exchange student (Carole André) is murdered by multiple stabbing in a park in Bergamo, the police arrest TV anchor Marchi (Giancarlo Sbragia). Marchi's daughter Sarah (Wendy D'Olive), who was friends with the murdered girl, does not believe in her father's guilt. As much a purely story-driven giallo as they come, it really is a film for the genre-standards for there are only very few murders and very little gore.
The film is very suspenseful, however, and delivers mystery and innovative twists from the beginning to the end, as a good giallo should. The beautiful Bergamo locations are a wonderful setting for the film, which is furthermore (in good giallo tradition) brilliantly photographed. The beautiful score by Gianni Ferrio intensifies the atmosphere, and the film profits from a very good ensemble cast.
As always, the characters are all complex and elaborate. The always-sinister 70's heartthrob Helmut Berger and Italian Grenre-cinema regulars such as Ida Galli ("The Case Of The Scorpion's Tail"), Günter Stoll ("What Have They Done To Solange"), Silvano Tranquilli ("The Black Belly of The Tarantula"), and Giancarlo Sbragia ("Tony Arzenta") all deliver very good performances. As said, for a giallo, this features little violence and gore and also little sleaze, but the magnificently elaborate plot should be more than pleasant to Genre-fans.
Simply put, 'The Bloodstained Butterfly' is beautifully filmed with a lot of style, and highly recommended to my fellow giallo fans (and family). This is a new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray (Region A) and Standard Definition (480p) DVD (Region 1) presentations
Original Italian and English soundtracks in DTS-HD MA mono 1.0
Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
New audio commentary with critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman
Murder in B-Flat Minor, a new visual essay on the film, its cast and crew by author Troy Howarth
New career retrospective on director Duccio Tessari
Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
Gallery of original promotional images
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin
Limited edition 36-page booklet illustrated by Tonci Zonjic, containing writing by James Blackford, Howard Hughes and Leonard Jacobs