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Label:
Name: ARROW VIDEO
Number: AA006-BR

L'ASSASSINO (THE ASSASSIN / 1961 / 2 DISCS) (BLU-RAY)

THE LADYKILLER OF ROME Released within months of Fellini's La Dolce Vita and Antonioni's La Notte, Elio Petri's dazzling first feature The Assassin (L'Assassino) also stars Marcello Mastroianni, this time as dandyish thirtysomething antiques dealer Alfredo Martelli, arrested on suspicion of murdering his older, far wealthier lover Adalgisa (Micheline Presle). But as the increasingly Kafkaesque police investigation proceeds, it becomes less and less important whether Martelli actually committed the crime as his entire lifestyle is effectively put on trial. Best known for Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion and The Tenth Victim, Petri was one of the finest and yet most underrated Italian directors of the 1960s and 70s. Highly acclaimed on its original release but unjustly neglected since, The Assassin is a remarkably assured debut from one of the cinema's sharpest chroniclers of Italian social and political realities. Petri said that he wanted to reflect the changes wrought by the early sixties, and to examine "a new generation of upstarts who lacked any kind of moral scruple". Arrow Academy is proud to present The Assassin in a gorgeous high-definition restoration created by the Cineteca di Bologna.

Bonus Materials

2K digital restoration from the Cineteca di Bologna
Uncompressed Mono 2.0 PCM Audio
Elio Petri and L’Assassino, an introduction by Italian cinema expert Pasquale Iannone
Tonino Guerra: A Poet in the Movies: Nicola Tranquillino’s documentary about the great Italian screenwriter
Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jay Shaw

Language: Italian
Genre: Drama
Run Time: 97 mins
Number of Discs: 2 (DVD, BLU-RAY)
Audio: STEREO
Year of Production: 1961
Director: Elio Petri
Actors: Marcello Mastroianni, Micheline Presle

  
Reviews and Comments: (1)
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Posted by Mark Turner on August 28, 2017 2:57 AM
I’ve praised the release of foreign films in the past, glad that many were now finally able to be seen by movie fans around the world. Movies that were made long ago and seen only by a handful of fans in the states fortunate enough to live close to a theater willing to book them are now available for all. In many cases the end result is seeing something that is classic, that stands the test of time and language. That doesn’t quite happen with THE ASSASSIN.

The movie tells the story of Alfredo Martelli (Marcello Mastroianni), an antiques dealer who is awakened one morning by the police and asked to come down to the station. No reason is provided but he complies only to find himself waiting an inordinate amount of time to find out what is going on. Eventually Inspector Palumbo (Salvo Randone) takes him to another room and apologizes for the delay.

What appears to be a game of cat and mouse follows with Martelli eventually being told he is a suspect in the murder of Adalgisa De Matteis (Micheline Presle), a wealthy woman and Martelli’s onetime partner. She also happened to be his mistress.

The movie advances forward using two methods from here. One is in flashback sequences where we get to know the past history of the characters involved in Martelli’s life, his relationships and methods of behaving in certain circumstances. The other is the shifting of locations as the Inspector takes Martelli to the crime scene and eventually places him in a jail cell while the investigation continues.

Don’t worry, no major spoiler here about his guilt or innocence. But the movie is more intent of looking at the lifestyle of the character of Martelli than being a whodunit, more focused on him and his actions past and present. Martelli is a user, a man who wants to elevate his status from his past and will do almost anything to make that happen. He’s a cad when it comes to women, getting what he wants and moving on to another.

Perhaps it’s just the way movies were at that time in Italy, perhaps it is that something is definitely lost in translation or perhaps it’s just that this type of movie just isn’t meant for me. In the end while the film provided a look at a movie from Italy from that time period (1961) I found it fairly boring. The story never drew me in, I found no character to sympathize with and by the final credits found nothing of interest that would make me want to recommend this movie. Perhaps the only thing that would do so is to offer it as a good film for fans of this type of cinema, for fans of any and all things in the Italian film area or for fans of Mastroianni.

Arrow Video does a wonderful job as always with their presentation here, no fault lies there. The print itself is a 2K digital restoration from the Cineteca di Bologna. Extras include LIO PETRI AND L’ASSASSINO an introduction by Italian cinema expert Pasquale Iannone (Petri was the films director), TONINO GUERRA: A POET IN THE MOVIES - Nicola Tranquillino’s documentary about the great Italian screenwriter, the theatrical trailer, a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jay Shaw and in the first pressing only a booklet featuring writing on the film by Petri expert Camilla Zamboni, Petri’s own critical analysis of the 1950s Italian cinema plus a selection of contemporary reviews.

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