Blood and Black Lace (1964) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)
Directed By: Mario Bava
Starring: Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Thomas Reiner
Rated: UR/Region AB/1:67/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Arrow Video
The Cristian Haute Couture fashion house is a home to models… and backstabbing… and blackmail… and drug deals… and MURDER. Having established a template for the giallo with The Girl Who Knew Too Much, Mario Bava set about cementing its rules with Blood and Black Lace. In doing so he created one of the most influential films ever made an Italian classic that would spearhead the giallo genre, provide a prototype for the slasher movie, and have a huge effect on filmmakers as diverse as Dario Argento and Martin Scorsese. Newly restored from the original camera negative and presented here in its original, uncut Italian form, this dual-format release allows fans to see Blood and Black Lace afresh and offers newcomers the ideal introduction to a major piece of cult filmmaking.
While Arrow’s UK release of Blood and Black Lace was also region A, for anyone just waiting for the US release it is finally here and I’m happy to report it is very much worth the wait. We get a message on the screen before the movie starts telling of just what Arrow and company did to bring this movie to Blu-ray. The end results are really a sight to see, as I think this movie looks amazing. The effort that they put into this thing shows and not only does it come with a great looking transfer, but we get some amazing extras to watch after you are finished with the movie as well. From just the opening credits you get the idea of just how much of an eye for style Mario Bava had. From there, it becomes Giallo 101 in many ways. I say that not meaning he followed the format, I say that meaning he basically wrote the rules for the format. The only bad side of this movie is it does have that nagging Italian slow pace going on here, but it is still one hell of a plot. Getting tons of kudos from me due to the stylish nature of this film, it is when one character finds something very important left behind by our first victim when it hits the fan. From there, this one becomes a “who did it” of sorts and the results are not disappointing at all. The only thing really lacking besides the pace is the lack of gore. But what can you do? The movie still oozes with a great vibe and cool environment and is sure to keep you guessing for the better part of the film.
I mean just take a look at our killer here. That all types of awesome and remind me a lot of The Blank from Dick Tracy! Maybe one borrowed from the other, who can say? But one thing we can say is that it works for what it is. I’ve seen enough Bava films to know that if you already love Bava you will love this. If you are bugged by the more methodical pace of his other works you’ll have that same thing here to pester you a bit. Still, it is a well-rounded and nice film. Again, I can’t stress enough just how much work Arrow has put into this release and how well it has all turned out. The movie is coming to you by way of a 2-disc Blu-ray but if you really want to go all out with it, you can also find a limited to 2,000 steelbook for the movie and if I know most of you that will probably be the one everyone tries to score when it is released in July. This movie might be a bit slow but it also packs all the things everyone loved about Mario Bava. That makes this a must own release from Arrow Video.
– Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
– High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
– Optional Italian and English soundtracks presented in original uncompressed mono PCM audio
– Newly translated subtitles for the Italian audio
– Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
– Brand new audio commentary by Mario Bava s biographer Tim Lucas
– Psycho Analysis a new documentary on Blood and Black Lace and the origins of the giallo genre featuring interviews with directors Dario Argento (Suspiria) and Lamberto Bava (Demons), screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi (All the Colors of the Dark) critics Roberto Curti and Steve Della Casa, and crime novelists Sandrone Dazieri and Carlo Lucarelli
An appreciation by Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani, the creative duo behind Amer and The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
– Yellow the much-acclaimed neo-giallo by Ryan Haysom & Jon Britt [Blu-ray exclusive]
– Gender and Giallo a visual essay by Michael Mackenzie exploring the giallo s relationship with the social upheavals of the 1960s and 70s Panel discussion on Mario Bava featuring Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava and Steve Della Casa, recorded at the 2014 Courmayeur Film Festival
– The Sinister Image: Cameron Mitchell an episode of David Del Valle s television series, devoted to the star of Blood and Black Lace and presented in full
– The alternative US opening titles, sourced from Joe Dante s private print and scanned in 2K especially for this release
– Original theatrical trailer
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
– Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Howard Hughes, author of Cinema Italiano and Mario Bava: Destination Terror, an interview with Joe Dante, David Del Valle on Cameron Mitchell and more, all illustrated with archive stills and posters
Quality of Transfer: 100%