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Mill Of The Stone Women

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    Ian Jane
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  • Mill Of The Stone Women

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    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: 3/16/2004
    Director: Giorgio Ferroni
    Cast: Pierre Brice, Scilla Gabel, Wolfgang Preiss, Robert Boehme, Danny Carrel, Liana Orfei, Olga Solbelli
    Year: 1960
    Purchase From Amazon


    The Movie:

    Those who enjoy the unique visual slant that Italian cinema has lent to gothic horror films will find much to love about Giorgio Ferroni's Mill Of The Stone Women, an Italian/French co-production from 1960 featuring a great international cast.

    The story follows Hans (Pierce Brice of Max Pecas' Sweet Violence) as he arrives in a small town near Amsterdam in hopes of catching up with a reclusive sculptor named Professor Wahl (Robert Boehme). It seems Hans is a writer and has been sent to the creaky old windmill in which Wahl lives in order to get his help on an article he is to be writing. The locals vocally refer to Wahl's abode as The Mill of the Stone Women, hence the films title, but Hans pays the local folklore no mind and proceeds on his merry way.

    After he's been staying there a short time, Hans makes the acquaintance of Elfi Wahl (Scilla Gabel), the professor's drop dead gorgeous daughter. She's a seductive lass and turns on her charm pretty thick when she sees him wandering around. Being only human, he starts falling for her despite his proclaimed love for Liselotte (Dany Carrel), who he has had a long relationship with.

    As he investigates the windmill and its inhabitants a little bit more intensely, he quickly clues into the fact that Wahl and his evil, Dr. Boles (Wolfgang Preiss, best known from the Dr. Mabuse films), are conducting sinister experiments on some of the local women. Hans intends to find out why they are doing this and what Elfi has to do with it all before it's too late.

    Wow. What an absolutely gorgeous looking film Mill Of The Stone Women is. From the sets to the lighting to the cinematography and camera movements to the color schemes, it all very much looks like a painting set to life. Obviously much care and love was put into capturing the right mood through the use of creepy old mannequins and gothic crosses scattered about the old wooden windmill. The shadows are used to great effect as well, with some of them almost looking alive in a few scenes.

    Performances are solid as well, with Scilla Gabel having the most captivating look out of the cast - she's stunning to look at with her big expressive eyes and China doll skin - perfect for the part of the beautiful girl with a dark secret. While the story itself isn't exactly the most original (a lot of the ideas here are also seen in other movies of the same subgenre) it does have it's share of creepy moments and proves to be quite entertaining regardless thanks for the skilled direction and wonderful sets.


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    The anamorphic widescreen 1.66.1 image looks fantastic on this release! There is some minor grain and print damage and a couple of scenes where the colors look just slightly washed but the good far outweighs the bad on this transfer. Colors are usually strong and rich with nice stable blacks and a high level of detail present from start to finish.


    Wow, Mondo Macabro has supplied three audio tracks for this disc. First up is a US dub, then a UK dub, and finally, a French dub with optional English subtitles. The French dub sounds slightly more natural but all three work out just fine. Audio clarity is pretty nice on each of them. Sure, there's some static and hiss here and there but it's only there if you're looking for it. For the most part everything comes in nice and clear. All three tracks are Dolby Digital Mono.


    Underneath these mysterious menu screens (which, I might add, are cool as Hell!) lay the typically cool assortment of bonus features. First up is a great theatrical trailer, some interesting and fact filled liner notes detailing the history of each of the films key players, and a piece on the history of the film (all written by Pete Tombs) with some nice images scattered throughout.

    There are also three deleted scenes - an alternate French opening scene, an alternate hallucination scene, and a missing bridge scene. None of these drastically impact the outcome or feel of the film but it's great to have them here anyway and the alternate hallucination scene is quite interesting. Finally, there are eight different galleries of stills and promotional materials gathered from across the various international markets, all of which are nicely laid out and fun to peek at.


    The Final Word:


    Mondo Macabro gives Ferroni's classic of Italian Gothic Horror it's DVD debut in style with solid audio and video and a nice selection of extras. Mill Of The Stone Women is very much worth checking out.
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