Eric Rohmer's Troubled Tales Of the Four Seasons

Boy, I can remember Janus announcing their new 2k restorations (yes, newer than the French blu-rays') of these films like three years ago.  Last year, I started to worry that they didn't actually plan to put them out on disc.  But now, finally, they're here: all four of Eric Rohmer's Tales Of the Four Seasons, scanned from their original negatives, in an attractive, if a little troubled, blu-ray boxed set from Criterion.

"Troubled?"  Yes.  The subtitles stop working about two-thirds of the way through the documentary The Making Of a Tale Of Summer, and they don't come back: a serious problem if you're not fluent in French.  Watch this space for news of a replacement program, but so far: mum from Criterion.
The Tales Of the Four Seasons are four films Rohmer made from 1990-1998 (with a couple other films mixed in between).  One for each season, naturally, starting with A Tale Of Springtime.  As you'd expect, and as with the three subsequent films, Springtime is set during its titular season.  A philosophy professor who has two apartments but finds herself unable to stay in either one meets a student at a party who invites her to stay at her place.  She soon discovers this student has designs to set her up with her father, because she doesn't approve of his current, younger girlfriend.  You could take it as a pretty straight-forward romantic comedy or a Kantian exploration of how our imagination drives us.  But the intellectualizing never gets in the way of its endearing, polite and gently composed aesthetic.  And there's a mystery!  Can you solve the case of the missing necklace?
1) 2006 UK Artificial Eye DVD; 2) 2024 US Criterion BD.
Well, the jump from what Artificial Eye released on DVD in 2006 to today is vast.  The aspect ratio shift to 1.67:1 is presumably a welcome correction, as 1.52:1 was surely never correct.  It slightly crops the image vertically, but reveals more on the sides.  It's also quite yellow, which is a more controversial change you're going to see across this set.  According to the booklet, these new transfers were supervised by the DP and Rohmer's son, so we're presumably being asked to accept this as correct.  The DVD's whites are overblown, but it's certainly more naturally white-balanced.  But it's not a given that the most natural color-timing is always the director's preferred colored timing.  And admittedly, just watching the BD outside of a direct comparison, the film doesn't scream yellow as much as it does here.  I mean, I'm not suggesting it differs from the screenshots, but it hue is more subtle when it's not buttressed right up against a cooler, whiter variant.

And that aside, the jump to HD is a huge boost in clarity.  The DVD has a dupey, edge enhanced look, which is replaced with a far more nuanced and lifelike image.  Hell, the DVD is non-anamorphic, so this is a major upgrade if you're coming from that release.  Criterion's grain is a little spotty at points - this is a 2k scan on BD, not a 4k scan on UHD, but the DVD doesn't even suggest that film grain was ever part of the original image.  English subtitles are removable are all four discs in both sets, but of course only Criterion's original mono audio is lossless.
A Tale Of Winter is next.  A young woman and her lover are separated by a silly mistake, and years later she drifts between relationships, driving everyone around her crazy by refusing to fully commit to anyone new.  Will her faith carry her through her malaise or ruin her life?  This one takes some inspiration from Shakespeare's Winter's Tale, and as you can see, even produces a scene from it at one point.  But this isn't one of those loose remakes set in modern times, deal.  It's a distinctly different, and distinctly Rohmer, experience.
1) 2006 UK Artificial Eye DVD; 2) 2024 US Criterion BD.
The aspect ratios are closer this time: 1.61:1 vs 1.67:1, though Criterion's new scan pulls back to reveal a little more along all four sides.  The DVD is also non-anamorphic again, so you had to upgrade from it.  And yes, we have a yellow push again, though it's not as overt on this one.  All of the other season films were shot on 35mm, but this one's on 16mm, so it has a softer, less detail look to it.  But that's nothing compared to how the old DVD had it looking.  Except for the flecks and popping print damage (no longer present on the BD); you'd almost think it was shot on tape.  Criterion's grain is patchy in points, but their blu makes it feel like film again.  And of course, their audio is lossless PCM again.
For A Summer's Tale, Melvil Poupaud (currently appearing in Woody Allen's Coup de Chance), we have a song writer who gets stood up by his girlfriend on his shore vacation.  He befriends Amanda Langlet (Pauline of Pauline At the Beach), a waitress/ ethnographer who decides to set him up with one of her friends, leaving Melvil wracked with indecision, torn between the fleeting possibilities of a relationship with any of these three women.  Who will he choose... and will it matter anyway?  Transcendentalism, sea shanties and disco dancing all play crucial parts in our friend's fate.
1) 2006 UK Artificial Eye DVD; 2) 2024 US Criterion BD.
2024 US Criterion BD.
Well, at least Artificial Eye's DVD doesn't have a non-anamorphic issue this time, because this one's full-screen.  Criterion tweaks the AR from 1.33:1 to 1.37:1, though they actually reveal slivers along all four sides.  AE's video is noisy and low-fi, which the new blu greatly improves upon.  But, while you don't notice it in some dark scenes (though it's still there if you look carefully), we're leaning heavily into the yellow once again.  Is the sky blue or yellow?  Depends what disc you look at.  Just for fun, I took a shot from the Making Of a Tale Of Summer documentary[left], and the skies are blue there, too.  I've heard some studios are pushing transfers a little towards yellow because that replicates how film looks projected.  Or maybe these films were always supposed to have a warmer, gentler look and older transfers got it wrong in assuming a more traditional white balance?  I don't know.  But it is what it is.  I'm honestly not that mad at it, but it's hard not to talk about it when you're directly comparing these to how they used to look on home video.
Finally, in Autumn Tale, Rohmer regular Marie Riviere stars as a book seller who decides to meddle in her best friend (another Rohmer regular, Beatrice Romand)'s love life by finding her a man through personal ads.  But she doesn't know Beatrice's daughter is also trying to set her up with someone, her philosophy professor.  With dueling schemes coming to a head at a big wedding party, Autumn comes off as more of a straight-up comedy than the others.  And it doesn't hurt that these more mature characters wind up being more likeable, if no more relatable, than the capricious youth we've been getting accustomed to.  It's a nice way to send off this series.
1) 2006 UK Artificial Eye DVD; 2) 2024 US Criterion BD.
Both of these are fullscreen again, just shifting from 1.32:1 to 1.37:1, though interestingly, this time Criterion zooms in cropping information from all four sides compared to the DVD.  It's another rewarding boost from SD to HD; we can even read the names of all those authors on the poster in the first set of shots.  Yes, we also have the yellow push again and yes, the grain would definitely be captured better on a 4k disc... or even an Arrow BD.  But it's hard to complain about these discs in motion.  They're gorgeous films well preserved.
The Kreutzer Sonata
So let's talk extras!  Artificial Eye's boxed set, which consists of four amary cases inside a slipbox, included trailers for each film and radio interviews with Rohmer edited into four featurettes including narration and clips from the films.  Curiously, Criterion's set - a digipack in a slipbox of its own - doesn't have that stuff, not even the trailers.  They just have one (new?) trailer that advertises all four films.  And while they don't have AE's featurettes, they do include the Rohmer interviews isolated from the rest, just playing over a still image of tape reels.

Their biggest extra is the Making of a Tale of Summer, a featurette length documentary compiling behind-the-scenes footage of the filming, often then comparing it to lengthy clips of the movie.  It gives some pretty great, candid insight into Rohmer's process from that time, though the film clips aren't too helpful if you've just watched the movie beforehand.  A big problem on this disc, though, as I've mentioned at the top, is that the subtitles give out about two thirds of the way through.  So unless you're fluent in French, you only get to watch the first hour of the doc.  Hopefully, Criterion does something about this!
A Farmer In Montfaucon
Criterion has cooked up a pretty excellent, roughly 45-minute featurette that intercuts between all new interviews with some of Rohmer's key collaborators, including his DP, editor, sound engineer and producer.  They each have a lot to share, and we also explore Rohmer's house, which they're filming in.  Finally, there are two of Rohmer's early short films.  First is 1956's The Kreutzer Sonata, a Tolstoy adaptation from back when Rohmer wasn't yet shooting with synced sound.  It's made up for by using Tolstoy's grim text as on-going narration.  Second is 1968's A Farmer In Montfaucon, which is a fairly matter-of-factual documentary the life of a farming woman, who gets a little more introspective at the end.

Also included is a colorful, 30-page booklet with notes by critic Imogen Sara Smith, which might help you find a deeper appreciation for these works.
Bottom line, these aren't cutting edge transfers, but they're pretty attractive and huge upgrades from the AE DVDs I've got.  The extras are quite good, but perhaps not as plentiful as one would expect.  If you've already got earlier BD versions, it may be a tougher decision whether to double-dip, especially since this is an expensive ($99) set... and unless Criterion does something about it, a defective one.  But they usually do, and often for less consequential issues, so I have hope!

The Strange Oeuvre of Coffin Joe, Part 4

The day I thought  nobody ever thought would arrive is here: the day Jose Mojica Marins classic films have been released in HD.  Well, most of 'em, anyway.  Arrow's new 6-disc boxed set 'Inside the Mind of Coffin Joe' features all-new restorations of nine of his most famous films from the 60s and 70s, as well as Embodiment of Evil from 2008, and packs in a whole ton of documentaries, shorts, special features and swag.  For Coffin Joe fans, this is a big deal.

It also has to be noted that a replacement program is currently in effect because the subtitles for Awakening Of the Beast are broken.  And unless you're fluent in Portuguese, you need 'em to watch the movie; it's no small detail.

So I've updated the pages where I already covered most of these films with the new blu-ray versions.  Everything else we'll be looking at right here.  So click the links below for the following films:
 
    ...But if you just want a lightning quick verdict, I'll spare you the trouble.  They're all solid upgrades.  Some are a little more subtle in their jumps in PQ than others, in large part because some were scanned from their original negatives, while others had to use other sources.  Comparing some of the later films in particular to their old DVDs will really make you say wow.  Yes, they've really made genuine HD upgrades for all of them, despite some suggestion in the past that it would be impossible.  Go see for yourselves.

    Now, the biggest thing that leaves to cover here is easily 1972's never-before-released When the Gods Fall Asleep, a sequel to The End of Man.  Our man Fin escapes from the asylum once again, only to this time find himself in the middle of a gang war in the local slums.  After a while he gives a speech about man's ability to reason and breaks it all up.  This catches the attention of a Satanic cult, who decide that Finis must be some kind of representative of Lucifer.  But after a while, he shows up and gives another speech, convincing them to stop their sacrifice.  Then he breaks up a fight at a wedding and another at a brothel.  At this point, the movie's already almost over, and I won't spoil the "twist," but it ain't much of one.
    Along the way, though, Marins recruits an impressive amount of extras and does show us some sights: a couple having sex in a barrel, a prostitute pooping in a broken toilet.  Look, I didn't say they were good or appealing sights.  The look is bright and colorful, though, except for a few scenes which inexplicably dip into black and white.  There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for the switching; it just happens.  Jaunty, needle drop music helps perk up the proceedings, but I don't think I'd recommend this movie to anyone but diehard completists.
    2024 Arrow BD.
    When the Gods Fall Asleep comes from a fresh 4k scan of the only existing 35mm print, and looks pretty good from such a limited source.  It's bright and clear, though I'm sure it could've been a bit sharper if the original negatives had been available.  But if I didn't know, I would have guessed this was from a closer source, like an interpositive, than just a print.  The colors are strong without being over-saturated, looking faded in only a few shots.  A few of the black and white shots look a little more worse for the wear, too, suggesting perhaps that Marins used lower quality film for a few shots.  The original 1.37:1 is perfectly preserved and damage appears occasionally, mostly in the form of vertical scratches, but it's fairly minor.  And the film grain is thorough and natural, suggesting about as good an encode as you could hope for without an actual UHD disc.

    The original LPCM Portuguese audio is a little rough and echo-y, but I'm sure it's as good as the film has ever sounded.  And the English subtitles are removable, with just one or two little errors I spotted throughout (like "liveforms" in the opening monologue).
    So let's get into the special features, not just for this film, but the whole set.  It's a long list.  I'm color-coding it to distinguish between those new to this set (red), and those carried over from previous Coffin Joe releases (black):
    • Audio commentaries by Marins, filmmaker Paulo Duarte & expert Carlos Primati on At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul, This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse, The Strange World of Coffin Joe, Awakening Of the Beast, End of Man and Hallucinations of a Deranged Mind, and a commentary by producer Paulo Sacramento & co-screenwriter Dennison Ramalho on Embodiment of Evil
    • Video essay by expert Lindsay Hallam
    • Bloody Kingdom, his 1950 short film with Marin's commentary
    • Clips from his other early works The Adventurer's Fate and My Destiny In Your Hands
    • Strange World alternate ending (with optional commentary by Marins)
    • A 90 minute retrospective by expert Stephen Thrower
    • Video essay by expert Miranda Corcoran
    • Alternate Awakening Of the Beast opening credits 
    • Video essay by expert Guy Adams
    • Video essay by expert Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
    • Video essay by expert Virginie Sélavy
    • Video essay by expert Jack Sargeant
    • Interview with Dennison Ramalho
    • Archival 2001 Sundance footage
    • A Blind Date for Coffin Joe (short film)
    • Video essay by expert Andrew Leavold
    • Video essay by expert Kat Ellinger
    • A second part of that interview with Dennison Ramalho
    • Footage of Marins at the 2009 Fantasia Film Festival Premiere
    • A massive 90-minute Zoom chat with Dennison Ramalho
    • Official Embodiment Making Of
    • "Experimental" Embodiment Making Of
    • Embodiment deleted scenes with commentary by Marins
    • Brief visual effects featurette with commentary by Marins
    • Brief storyboards featurette with commentary by Marins
    • Ten original trailers for the films in this set
    TL;DR, they carried over a few things, created a whole bunch of new extras with their own usual cadre of experts, and still left many of the interviews and other vintage materials from the Portuguese set behind, still frustratingly never translated into English.  The real coup are the commentaries, which technically aren't new, but have been subtitled from the Portuguese discs into English for the very first time, and that definitely counts!  It's too bad they didn't carry over and translate all that other great stuff, but finally getting to listen to most of Marins' commentaries is awesome.

    Even stuff that Synapse saved from the Portuguese set, like interviews with Marins and his museum tour, or the crazy new scene he created for At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul, have been left behind.  So we took our two forward, but also the step backwards there.  The Fantoma interviews and Mondo Macabro's Coffin Joe documentary have also been left out.  Demons and Wonders isn't here either, let alone all of the wild, untranslated extras on that disc.  So yeah, you'll have to hang on to pretty much all of your old DVDs.  I so much would have preferred just getting the cool, existing extras carried over and translated when needed than most of the new stuff by experts, but oh well.  There's no arguing that this is a pretty packed set, with at least some absolutely essential bonus features.
    not the real Coffin Joe.
    Of the expert stuff, it's interesting just to hear all the varying ways they pronounce "Jose."  Stephen Thrower's is less a visual essay and more a lecture towards camera with occasional cut-ins, but it's also the most informational and worth your time.  Some of the other ones are too breezy and feel like they're just giving a brief overview of what anyone who's buying a set like this would already know, or just pointing out what you'd clearly see on screen yourself once you've watched the films.  They tend to all use the same film clips, too.  So you're going to see the same signature shots over and over, which makes the temptation to skip some of these increasingly tempting.  Well, I've watched 'em all and yeah, just watch Thrower's.

    The Blind Date for Coffin Joe is a genuinely funny short film that's been on Youtube, but I'm glad it made its way here, and it's cool that we got more Embodiment of Evil stuff than Synapse and Anchor Bay were able to provide, especially the deleted scenes.  The packaging and physical bonuses are impressive, too.  The whole thing comes in a solid box with a lift-off lid housing six amary cases with reversible artwork (though it's a little annoying that each film only gets printed on one side, including the spine, making it an unnecessarily irritating challenge to figure out which films are on which discs).  There's also a double-sided fold-out poster, a substantial, 90-page full-color book, an art card for every film, a bonus art card, an especially fun replication of Coffin Joe's business card as seen in the original film, and a card for another Arrow release (mine was the Spaghetti western Matalo).
    And, of course, this still isn't a complete collection of Marin's films.  Between his more recent work and television stuff, there's at least enough material for a Volume 2, if Arrow feels up for it (and if the rights are feasible).  I certainly don't miss his porno stuff, but a few films, especially The Strange Exorcism of Coffin Joe, are conspicuous in their absence.  Stuff like The Hour of Fear, Trilogy of Terror, The Curse and The Plague would be great.  I fear, like with Criterion's massive Bergman box, fans will get it and think they have everything, leaving the remaining work to fade into obscurity.  But also like the Criterion box, I never thought we'd get a release half this fantastic.  I mean, I can remember Synapse explaining how we'd never get the original Coffin Joes in anything better than their DVDs because the film elements had dissolved into dust, and yet here we are - huzzah!

    A New Day At the Races

    It's been a while since we've had a Marx Bros HD upgrade, but Warner Archives has come through.  I was beginning to worry.  They'd only upgraded one - the most famous - film from their impressive 2004 boxed set.  A Day At the Races is the Marx Bros' second movie after they made the move to MGM, so they're still riding high, and the budgets are clearly still rising.  And yes, that means instead of Zeppo we get a pair of "straight" romantic leads that the Marx Bros have to aid.  All us true fans of course miss Zeppo, but you can't deny Allan Jones has got a better singing voice.  But what's also lost is some of the sharp wit.
    Of course classic moments (the Tootsie Frootsie ice scream sketch) and famous one-liners ("either he's dead or my watch has stopped") originated here.  Groucho still has some first class moments, and the brothers explode a medical examination into pure chaos not once but twice.  But it also drags, and not just during the love scenes.  It starts to feel like we're trading the big production values on the race track, with big crowds, live horses and cars flying down the tracks for the intricately rehearsed comic touches of their previous work.  It's just the start of an infamous dip, but you start to feel it here.  That said, though, A Day At the Races is still a totally zany, wild ride.  But if I were introducing somebody to the Marx Bros, I wouldn't start with this one.
    Oh, and I guess that's for two reasons.  Interestingly, you see, the blu-ray has added a new content warning at the start of the film, not present on the DVD, which reads, "[t]he program you are about to see is a product of its time. It portrays ethnic, racial, gender and other stereotypes and biases that existed in our society at the time this program was made. While such portrayals do not represent Warner Bros. Discovery and its affiliates, this program is being presented in its original form in order to reflect the existence and history of these stereotypes and biases."  Well, this movie's from the 30's, so it's surely not on the cutting edge of gender theory, but there's only one reason this is here.  Yes, this is the Marx Bros film where they get into black face.  It's just one scene, but it's part of what is probably the most ambitious musical sequence in any Marx Bros film (it was nominated for an Oscar).  It was probably actually intended to be progressive - the brothers platforming and performing with a whole cavalcade of black performers - but yeah, giving modern audience a head's up is probably the right idea.
    1) 2004 Warner Bros DVD; 2) 2024 Warner Bros BD.
    Warner's DVD starts out at 1.33:1, which their new scan subtly corrects to 1.37:1, gaining tiny slivers of extra information along the edges.  Warner's new transfer, which doesn't say so on the case but is apparently based on a new 4k scan of "preservation elements," is a shade or two brighter and distinctly clearer.  What were ones smudgy, compressed hints at film grain are now clear, edges are sharper and fine detail that was previously too soft can now be made out.  Highlights maybe peak a little too much for my tastes, but this is a real leap forward from the DVD, as opposed to some previous Marx blus, where the upgrade was more subtle, if not outright difficult to discern.  A Day At the Races is now a proper HD movie and all the more absorbing a watch for it.

    Both discs have the original English mono, bumped up to DTS-HD on the blu, with optional English subtitles.  The DVD also had French and Spanish subtitle options, which the blu has dropped.
    Warner's DVD was surprisingly loaded, too.  Marx Bros expert Glenn Mitchell provides a generally interesting, educated audio commentary, but it's prone to constant gaps of dead air.  They're short at first but last for full, extensive scenes in the back half.  I was starting to wonder if there isn't actually more silence than talking in the track.  But when he's participating, he's good.  Then there's the roughly half-hour doc, On Your Marx, Get Set, Go!, which I've already covered on my Marx Bros documentary page.  It's good.  There's also a fun radio promo for the film and a short audio clip of an Allan Jones song cut from the film.  It's actually catchier than the ones in the film, and they probably should have used it in the nightclub scene instead of the one they did.  And there's the trailer and a couple extras not related to the film: a short Robert Benchley film called A Night At the Movies and three short, vintage cartoons.

    And everything from the DVD has been carried over to the blu, even the cartoons and stuff.  And there's one more, new extra: another song cut from the film.  It's a Groucho song called "Hackenbush."  This is not the version from his Hooray for Captain Spaulding album or the one he sung on TV with the nurses later in life.  This one's better than both of them and sounds like it's taken from a live performance, as an audience can be heard laughing and applauding the song.  So it's the only new extra, but it's a treat, even if you thought you'd heard it on Youtube already.
    That still leaves four films from The Marx Brothers Collection trapped in SD.  And those were all exclusive to the boxed set, so we'll have to hold onto them for a while longer.  But hopefully not forever.  The DVDs combined the last four films into double-feature discs, so maybe they'll do that on BD, too; and we'll get to complete our collections in this lifetime.

    Soavi's Masterpiece, Dellamorte Dellamore

    Ah man, it's been a long wait for a proper HD release of Michele Soavi's Dellamorte Dellamore, the demented comic book adaptation that's often called the last great Italian horror film.  It had some fine releases on DVD, and I've owned a few of them over the years, but on BD, they were both rare and uninspiring.  You'd be happy to pay to import a German, barebones disc with the old DVD master just because it wasn't compressed to 720p.  We were all excited when Shameless finally announced a BD special edition for 2018 until somebody asked them for the specs and it turned out the frame-rate was botched.  Still, a lot of desperate fans bought it anyway.  But happily, you can put all that behind you now.  Severin has a brand new 4k restoration from the negative with a whole ton of special features on BD and 4k Ultra HD with Dolby Vision HDR, fancy packaging and everything you could want.
    Dellamorte Dellamore is based on Italian horror comic Dylan Dog, or more precisely Tiziano Sclavi's prototypical novel about a similar character in the DD universe, Francesco Dellamorte.  Both characters were drawn to resemble Rupert Everett, so it was quite a coup for Soavi to cast him here, not just for the coincidence, but the pitch-perfect performance Everett was able to deliver in a film where, after all, a lot of the cast is dubbed.  And it's not just Everett who's pitch-perfect here; the stylish direction, score, practical effects, supporting cast and the writer's clever blend of humor and genuine ennui are all operating on a level I'm not sure the original source material even fully deserved.  The elements have aligned to lift up an above average graphic novel to a bit of a cinematic masterpiece.
    1) 2006 Anchor Bay DVD; 2) 2012 Shameless DVD;
    3) 2023 Severin BD; 4) 2023 Severin UHD.

    Each of these discs pretty much preserve the slightly pillar-boxed aspect ratio of 1.66:1, though if you look closely, you'll see Anchor Bay's disc is cropped a little tighter and really framed at 1.62:1.  I only replaced the AB DVD with the Shameless because it subtitled the Italian commentary for the first time, but I never realized until I started doing this comparison how they improved the picture.  It's not just the framing, which the 4k restoration has mirrored, but they've got more natural colors and toned down the edge enhancement/ contrast.  Of course, that's all academic now.  The colors are even more natural now and fine detail, like the mayor's hair, has been restored.  Of course, we're comparing UHD to DVD, so they have a huge advantage; but happily they didn't blow it.  Grain is still tough to discern, which seems to be a thing with Severin - are they lightly DNRing their UHDs (or is the Italian company that owns the film materials)?  Because the feature's only about 100 minutes and they've given it nearly 80GB, so it shouldn't be a compression issue.  Not that this looks like Predator anything.  And everything else, like the black levels (especially considering how much of this film is set at night) and the naturalism of the 4k are quite strong.

    We're given a surprising amount of options for the audio: a Dolby Atmos track, a 5.1 and a 2.0, both in DTS-HD, all of which sound bold, clear and frankly rather similar.  We also get the Italian 2.0 in DTS-HD, and optional English subtitles for both the English and Italian audio tracks.  I'd recommend the English audio, since Rupert is speaking English in his own voice, but a number of supporting characters are dubbed, so both are valid options.
    As far as extras?  Oh boy, Severin has us covered.  But they're not the only special features in town.  Anchor Bay had a nice half-hour featurette, which talked to a number of the key players, including Soavi, screenwriter Gianni Romoli, Sergio Stivaletti and Anna Falchi.  Shameless dropped that, but they preserved that aforementioned commentary from the 2008 Medusa DVD, and they added English subtitles for the first time.  It's Soavi and Romoli together, and it's pretty great.  They go at a good pace and cover a lot, including a few details that don't pop up in other extras.  Both discs also included inserts with notes, the trailer and a bunch of bonus trailers (especially Shameless, they have like fifteen!).
    Thankfully, Severin keeps the commentary, too; though they almost don't need it, since the new interviews they conducted are pretty comprehensive and cover just about every topic mentioned and ignored by that commentary.  Romoli's interview goes for a good hour.  And they manage to get a great sit-down with Rupert Everett, which is impressive.  They also got a new interview with Falchi, plus cinematographer Mauro Marchetti, Stefano Masciarelli who played the mayor, Fabiana Formica who played the mayor's daughter, composer Riccardo Biseo, set designer Antonello Geleng and of course Sergio Stivaletti.  There's also a brief interview with Alan Jones to fill in the last few informational details, though he clearly doesn't know what he's talking about regarding the comics.  He goes into a whole explanation of "why hasn't there ever been a Dylan Dog film," when of course there was.  It's no Dellamorte Dellamore, but it has its qualities.  Jones also points out that "in Dylan Dog, the sidekick is based on Groucho Marx.  Here, I don't quite understand what he was doing."  I've never read an issue, and even I know Dylan Dog's sidekick was Groucho, not Dellamorte's, so of course he's not doing the Groucho schtick.  But hey, he's a film guy, not a comic book guy; what do you want?
    Also on here is the old featurette that also used to be on that Medusa disc, though this one had subtitles even at the time.  It's good because it was made during production, so it has on-set footage and interviews with a couple people, including the editor and François Hadji-Lazaro, who couldn't contribute to the new features.  The Anchor Bay featurette wasn't so fortunate to make the transition, but that's fine, since nobody says anything in that that they don't also say in these other extras.  There are also two theatrical trailers, the complete soundtrack CD, a glossy full-color 50 page book, and a stylish slipbox.
    So this is unquestionably recommended.  A fantastic film that's been in dire need of a fully loaded special edition since the concept existed, finally gets one.  This and Spider Labyrinth in the same month has Severin taking some serious cracks at Italian Horror fans' want lists.  What could be next... Demons 5?