Review: Double Face
Blu-ray: Double Face (1969)
I can forgive Klaus Kinski anything, no one does deranged quite like him. On seeing Werner Herzog’s ‘Aguirre, Wrath of God’, then Fitzcarraldo, and then Crawlspace, I knew here was a man who, not unlike Dennis Hopper and Oliver Reed, was rather bonkers, but had the saving grace of being able to act.
Kinski, by all accounts, was as ‘difficult’ off screen as his characters on screen, and is quite the revelation in Double Face. Despite being a Giallo, his character John Alexander appears to be…normal.
Alexander (Kinski) meets and quickly marries heiress Helen Brown (Margaret Lee), but the relationship falters because Helen is a lesbian, and she soon moves her ‘friend’ Liz (Annabella Incontrera) in.
Out of the blue Helen tells John he is the sole beneficiary of her will, we then see someone planting a bomb in the wheel of Helen’s car, and you can guess the rest.
John goes on journey of discovery about his wife leading to seeing a porn film with a mysterious woman who shares Helen’s ring and the distinctive scar on her neck. Could Helen have survived the crash?
Kinski is supremely watchable in this mish mash film. Gaping plot holes (but it was the 60’s so they were possibly deliberate) are forgotten when you look into his baby blue eyes and a face creased by anguish. Even his horrible dubbed voice (in the English language version) can’t tear you away.
The tone of the film is set by Nora Orlandi’s excellent score and director Riccardo Freda, perhaps best known for The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (which I’ve unfortunately never seen). Freda directs with confidence and flair, however some of the ‘special effects’ are SO corny I actually laughed out loud. In the first 15 minutes of this movie, there are two car accidents involving toys the most awful green screen toboggan ride.
Arrow’s new Blu-ray of the film looks beautiful, the colours zing and the soundtrack is glorious.
As usual the special features including a commentary by Tim Lucas, a lengthy appreciation of Nora Orlandi by Lovely Jon, a huge image gallery, art by the best artist out there; Graham Humphreys, and a very informative and entertaining video essay on Riccardo Freda’s films by Amy Simmons (I didn’t get to read the first printing which also includes an illustrated collector’s booklet by Neil Mitchell (sad face), are amazing.
Perhaps the crowning glory of the special features is an interview with Nora Orlandi who is mesmerising.
In short – one of those weird Italian late 60’s films made unmissable by Kinski’s performance.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
- Brand new 2K restoration of the full-length Italian version of the film from the original 35mm camera negative
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
- Uncompressed mono 1.0 LPCM audio
- Original English and Italian soundtracks, titles and credits
- 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 by author and critic Tim Lucas
- New video interview with composer Nora Orlandi
- The Many Faces of Nora Orlandi, a new appreciation of the varied career of the film’s composer by musician and soundtrack collector Lovely Jon
- The Terrifying Dr. Freda, a new video essay on Riccardo Freda’s gialli by author and critic Amy Simmons
- Extensive image gallery from the collection of Christian Ostermeier, including the original German pressbook and lobby cards, and the complete Italian cineromanzo adaptation
- Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Neil Mitchell
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