Review: The Bloodstained Butterfly
Blu-ray: The Bloodstained Butterfly (1971)
My introduction into the genre of Giallo began (like many other people) in the 1980’s and the movies of Dario Argento on VHS. The lurid colours, assured direction and twisting storylines had me hooked to such classics as Deep Red, Suspiria, Inferno, Tenebre and many more by a plethora of other directors keen to make their presence known in this intriguing genre. So it was with a sense of surprise when The Bloodstained Butterfly arrived and I saw that it was directed by a man who I had no prior knowledge of; Duccio Tessera (who I have now written down many of his movies on my ever growing ‘to watch’ list).
If you are new to giallo then I wouldn’t necessarily recommend The Bloodstained Butterfly as your starting point into the genre, watch one of the aforementioned Argento movies to begin. However, that is not to say the The Bloodstained Butterfly is a bad movie, it’s just that it is a little more restrained than what I usually associate with the genre.
Beginning with the murder of a young beautiful woman, a man is seen fleeing the scene of the crime who may or may not be the killer. A man is arrested on suspicion of being the killer and a courtroom case begins. I’m being particularly vague with the synopsis of this movie as all of the enjoyment comes from the twisting storyline as evidence and counter-evidence is given throughout the trial…though if you are a giallo veteran you’ll more than likely be one step ahead of the twists and guess the ending.
A rather bizarre opening credits sequence introduces all of the actors as their respective characters in a way that reminded me of old 1970’s BBC sitcoms; think of the likes of Are You Being Served…I half expected Mr Humphries to pop up from behind a desk and declare “I’m free“. While the majority of its 99 minute running time is spent in the courtroom, there is some sumptuous cinematography (all made even better by a brand new 4k restoration from the original camera negative) and enough going on to keep you engrossed.
Bare flesh and brutality is kept to an absolute minimum, so those of you wanting some titillation via those either those 2 things will be severely disappointed, but if you don’t mind a murder ‘who done it’ with a giallo twist, then this may be just the movie you are looking for.
Once again Arrow Films release a superb package which is just bursting with fantastic special features and is worth the price just for those alone.
- Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD 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