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Author Topic: Torso / I corpi presentano trace di violenza carnale (Sergio Martino, 1973)  (Read 22825 times)

Jonny

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Torso (I corpi presentano trace di violenza carnale) Sergio Martino, 1973

You know something? I was round at my friends the other week watching a few movies on a Saturday night. Part way through the evening I put ‘Tenebrae’ on as I’d not seen it for a few years and my friend had never seen it before. I don’t want to be purposely controversial but I must say I was a touch under whelmed by it. Apart from the last 20 minutes and the fancy crane shot I found myself looking at my watch for most of the film...
Not so with ‘Torso’! Sergio Martino sure knows how to keep me interested I really can’t fault a single film I’ve seen that has been directed by him. Martino seemingly always turns out a good film and ‘Torso’ is one of his best. You certainly know you’re on to a winner when the very first shot of the film features a stunning girl exposing her perfect breasts right into the camera, which begs the question “Does having beautiful girls half naked make for a good film?” Well in my book it certainly helps things along and there’s gorgeous girls a plenty in this one and they’re all students, though at times Suzy Kendall in close up looks about 35, she was actually 29 when she made this. It’s a shame she’s the only girl in the film that doesn’t take her top off too, though the anticipation of thinking that it might happen certainly kept me on my toes for the films duration. Bare lady flesh aside there’s a lot to like about this film, there’s a superb score from the De Angelis brothers and yet again Ernesto Gastaldi turns in another quality screenplay, this guy really knows how to write a decent film and paired with Martino in the directing seat has turned out some of the best films to come out of Italy in the 1970’s (Almost Human, Suspected Death of a Minor, All The Colours Of The Dark, Your Vice Is A Locked Door, Violent Professionals, The Case Of The Scorpion’s Tail etc etc)
Excellently shot with some genuinely atmospheric scenes, especially the woodland sequence, there’s hardly a dull moment during the entire film and as is de rigueur with any giallo worth it’s salt it’s almost impossible to guess the identity of the killer (if George Hilton had been in this it would have made things a lot easier) and as the film came up to it’s climactic show down I’d put the blame on nearly every cast member that was still alive even suspecting Suzy Kendall’s character for a moment! Well acted throughout by all with Suzy Kendall especially good in the tense scenes where she’s hiding from the killer as he saws her dead friends into pieces. Luc Merenda is virtually silent every time he’s on screen but when he does talk it’s quite a surprise to hear him speaking with a posh English accent, really bizarre at first but it adds to the charm, after all what’s an Italian film without at least one misplaced voice over artiste?

Shameless release ‘Torso’ in the UK for the first time uncut on DVD and I have to say the anamorphic presentation looks great, noticeably better than the American release from Anchor Bay, especially during the night time scenes and overall has better definition and stronger colours. Also when Anchor Bay US put together their release of ‘Torso’ they found themselves with over a minute of Italian soundtrack of John Richardson giving his lecture on art that had no accompanying visuals. They incorporated this into their print by stopping the music half way through the opening credits and running the lecture over the remaining credits with English subs. The Shameless DVD has the correct Italian credit sequence with uninterrupted music and immediately after the credits we have the correctly placed lecture footage in Italian with English subtitles.











Unfortunately with the good news of the improved image quality comes the bad news about the audio track. It’s not good. Constant hiss throughout with several distorted moments. A glitch during the stabbing of the first victim makes the scene seem cut (it isn’t). It’s such a shame that the Italian track with English subtitles couldn’t have been included as an extra as I feel some people will find the English audio track on this DVD unacceptable. Extra features on the disc are the same as previous releases from Shameless, trailers for upcoming releases plus one for the main attraction.

Overall what could have been the definitive DVD version of Sergio Martino’s classic giallo is hampered by a poor audio track, something which is going to annoy the hell out of the discerning viewer.
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sadystyk

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Have to agree with you about the soundtrack on the Shameless dvd, it's one of the worst I've heard on an official release, it's right down there with Italian Shock's Death Smiles On Murder. 
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Stephen Grimes

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The English track on the X-Rated disc sounds ok,i'm a bit surprised Shameless couldn't get a better one.
Agree with Sadistik1 about Italian Shock's DEATH SMILES AT MURDER,really bad and ruins a great film especially as the transfer is decent as well.Funny thing is the trailer sounds perfect so it's a big letdown when you watch the main feature.
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sadystyk

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The English track on the X-Rated disc sounds ok,surprised Shameless couldn't get a better one.
Agree with Sadistik1 about Italian Shock's DEATH SMILES AT MURDER,really bad and ruins a great film esp. as the transfer is decent as well.Funny thing is the trailer for it sounds perfect so it's a real letdown when you watch the main feature.
That Death Smiles is a real shitter because the music, also used in Malabimba, is superb.
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Funktion

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I've been wanting to buy Torso on dvd for quite some time, but since pretty much every release available has a flaw I could never make up my mind.
I decided to wait a bit for the Shameless dvd, but since the audio is problematic which release would you recommend? I'm inclined to go for the Italian release. What do you guys think?
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vigilanteforce

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Not so with ‘Torso’! Sergio Martino sure knows how to keep me interested I really can’t fault a single film I’ve seen that has been directed by him. Martino seemingly always turns out a good film and ‘Torso’ is one of his best.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Really good review here Sir, I agree with you in all points. Martino is a great filmmaker who hardly ever disappoints and this is a top giallo. Great moment of tension- the bit where the killer saws off a girl's leg while the other one watches... Great fight scene between Merenda and Richardson in the ending- almost enters martial arts territory  :-\ There's also that incredibly trashy scene where that blackmailer gets his head smashed against the wall by the killer's car  ::)

My favorite Sergio Martino film is HANDS OF STEEL but I really love this one as well as his other gialli. I would get the shameless disc as an upgrade to my Anchor Bay one but I think I will pass after reading about the bad audio track... Which one is the best DVD of TORSO anyway?
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demented_uk

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Great review Jonny, disappointing to hear about the poor quality audio though.  It looks as if the transfer is identical to the Another World Entertainment release from a few months back.







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Captain

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Really need to get my hands on a copy of this one. Will look it up right now.
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Almar@Shameless

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Been away on holiday so gave myself a 10 day break off from the world of DVDs, Shameless and just home entertainment in general! Anyway with regards to Torso the sound is not as good as we would have liked but we were advised that we'd be looking at a bill in the high thousands for a decent sound restoration. It's quite a while ago when we had to put the discs together and then it wasn't known what kind of sales we could expect. Really with most of these titles you're doing well now if you sell several hundred and on that basis the numbers don't stack up.

The argument would be well hey produce a definitive version and lots of people will buy but in truth that makes sense for a US R1 company - not for us so we do spend a pile of time trying to source the best master, re-insert cut material etc but struggle when it comes to fronting up a pile of Euro-wonga to pay for a title that may not sell.

However... we're not standing still and this is a learning curve as Shameless is a labour of love done on the side of our day jobs and we're searching harder and better for materials for future titles, taking into account comments about anamorphic presentation and looking for cost-effective ways to keep producing better titles. As we move on we hope we'll come up with some cool stuff for a pretty darn low price (if you pre-order from a certain web site!) and upcoming stuff like our March release of The Frightened Woman look potentially quite promising but not without a welter of problems which we're currently trying to work around cause you know... we care!  :o
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Peter Neal

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Just received my "Torso" DVD yesterday in Helsinki and was quite happy with it, though the sound problems are slightly annoying, they also reminded me in a somewhat nostalgic way of the times in which we watched our favourite movies in far, far worse (VHS) conditions, when the thought of a pristine pq like on this "Torso" DVD seemed unthinkable. ::)

There are also some interesting differences to the version on the "X Rated" DVD:

- While both DVDs feature the uncut and full version of the movie, the "X Rated" version uses the "stalking theme" for the credit sequence, while the "Shameless" DVD has another, more relaxed and sensual, tune over the credits. :D Would be interesting to read which tune plays over the ABUS and AWE credits for comparison.

- The "X Rated" DVD is much brighter in the swamp scene than the "Shameless" disc, but judging from the clips in most trailers, the darker colouring of the scene seems to be the most common presentation....but then again, I'm no "Torso" expert. :-\

A fine giallo indeed, which seems to have finally gotten the attention it deserves in the DVD age. ;)

I'm looking very much forward to the FLAVIA and NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS releases. ::)
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Red Skeletons

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Hi Guys...TORSO was always on my list of DVDs-to-get but it never quite made it, and then it went out of print...I'd like to get the Shameless DVD to support a new indie but the bad audio is throwing me... Just how bad is it really ? I was looking at a review of the Shameless disc over at SG Mutants and they report the English mono audio track is a solid reliable affair...Is there a chance that Blue Underground might add this to their Anchor Bay re-issue program ?

Thanks,
Wes
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Jonny

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I'd like to get the Shameless DVD to support a new indie but the bad audio is throwing me... Just how bad is it really ? I was looking at a review of the Shameless disc over at SG Mutants and they report the English mono audio track is a solid reliable affair...


Well, if you don't believe what I wrote in my review you can read John White's review over at DVD Times...

"The sound does not match the quality of the video, I'm afraid. There is audio dropout, loss of channels and constant background noise, hiss, pops and hum. Some msnippets of the audio are quite poor such as the distracting hum about 72 minutes in with the right channel dying for a couple of seconds just after that"

Full review here

Maybe SGM reviewed the ABUS disc by mistake?
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Jonny

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Interestingly I was just reading the SGM review of 'Torso' and noticed this in the review...

"I strongly suspect Shameless have used the same source material as Anchor Bay US did a few years back, and the results are pretty much identical"

This makes me wonder if the reviewer has seen the Shameless DVD at all as it's plainly obvious that the Shameless DVD has different opening credits to the ABUS DVD plus extra footage!! How could Shameless have possibly used the same source for their DVD?
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Red Skeletons

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Thanks...the DVD Times review is pretty damning, sadly...Lets hope Blue Underground might do something with this....
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Jonny

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Does anyone know what the European DVD releases are like? Wasn't there a recent release from Sweden that was decent?
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