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The Fifth Cord (Arrow Video) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • The Fifth Cord (Arrow Video) Blu-ray Review



    Released by: Arrow Video
    Released on: February 5th, 2019.
    Director: Luigi Bazzoni
    Cast: Franco Nero, Rossella Falk, Edmund Purdom, Renato Romano
    Year: 1971
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Fifth Cord - Movie Review:

    Franco Nero (of Django and Enter The Ninja) plays a newspaper man named Andrea Bild who has a penchant for booze and loose women, and these days he spends more time drinking than he does working. All of this changes when a well to do socialite is attacked after a fancy New Year's Eve shindig. As luck would have it, Andrea has known the victim of the attack for a while now and so it only makes sense that he should cover the case. Off he goes to check out the scene and see what he can dig up on the attack and as he starts nosing around, he's surprised to find more killings take place in a similar manner, with the killer always leaving behind one black leather glove with the finger tips cut off and periodically harassing people over the phone using some sort of distortion box to hide his real voice.

    The one thing that seems to tie all of the attacks and killings together is that each and every one of the victims was at the same New Year's Eve party. Who else was there? Poor Andrea, that's who and before long the fingers are starting to point in his direction as his position changes from investigator to suspect, causing his editor to make things look even worse for him when he pulls him off of the story all together. Andrea isn't going to be a patsy though and there's no way he's doing time for a crime he didn't commit - he hits the streets and continues the investigation on his own, bound and determined to uncover the identity of the real killer.

    Much darker and considerably more grim than your average Giallo of the seventies, director Luigi Bazzoni (who had previously directed Nero alongside Klaus Kinski in the spaghetti western Pride And Vengeance a few years earlier in 1965) structures his film, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by D. M. Devine, more like a forties or fifties American crime noir than your typical nod to Argento or Bava. The newspaper man with a drinking problem in the lead, a few femme fatales, plenty of shadowy location shots and a murder mystery just begging to be solved definitely give it the feel of the work of Joseph H. Lewis (The Big Combo, Gun Crazy) in spots which, when coupled with the Italian sensibility of the ultra-slick cinematography and European locales, make The Fifth Cord stand out from the pack.

    Aside from the competent and sometimes remarkable technical aspects of the film, the movie also benefits from a strong supporting cast. The lovely Rosella Falk of Black Belly Of The Tarantula shows up as a victim early on, while Edmund Purdom of Frankenstein's Castle Of Freaks and Lenzi's Nightmare City also pops his head in briefly. Look for Silvia Monti, best known for her part in Lucio Fulci's Lizard In A Woman's Skin in a small role as well. Even with the nice cast of supporting players, however, the real powerhouse of the film is Nero himself (and thankfully he dubbed his own voice on the English track included on this disc). He's fantastic and even charismatic at times, despite the fact that his character is, at his core, a drunk and sometimes abusive womanizer who thinks of himself without much regard at all for his fellow man. He's a bit of a snake, but Nero makes us want him to win the day regardless, a testament to his ability to demand your attention - the man has got some serious screen presence.

    The Fifth Cord - Blu-ray Review:

    The Fifth Cord comes to Blu-ray on a 50GB disc in a pretty killer 1.85.1 widescreen transfer in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. The colors look nice and bold throughout, though the transfer is heavy on blue, while the black levels stay strong and deep from start to finish Flesh tones look lifelike and natural. There aren't any mpeg compression artifacts worth noting nor is there much in the way of print damage, edge enhancement or noise reduction. The image is consistently clean and very nice looking throughout.

    The English and Italian language LPCM 2.0 Mono options are fine - they're free of any hiss or distortion and while sometimes the range sounds a little bit limited, you won't ever have a problem understanding the performers or their dialogue. Background music and sound effects are properly balanced and things sound pretty good on this disc. Morricone's instantly recognizable score comes through nicely and with just the right amount of punch. Optional English subtitles are provided for the Italian track while English SDH subtitles are provided for the English option.

    Extras start off with a new audio commentary by critic Travis Crawford that does a good job of breaking down the director's career and exploring his filmography while also detailing the exploits of Nero and his various co-stars in the picture. He explains what makes this one a bit different from your average giallo, details locations where he can, sheds some light on the different bit part players in the picture, details the use of music and more. It's a thorough and well-informed track.

    From there, we get a few exclusive featurettes, the first of which is Lines And Shadows, a new eighteen-minute video essay on the film's use of 'architecture and space' by critic Rachael Nisbet. While this does feel a bit rushed in spots, there's a lot of interesting food for thought here as she covers how and why the various set decorations and interior design works help to set the mood and accentuate the film's more intense moments - it's not something you might necessarily think to go over on your own and it's a unique and interesting aspect of the film to explore.

    Whisky Giallore is a new video interview with author and critic Michael Mackenzie that runs just over twenty-eight-minutes in length. Here Mackenzie basically dissects the film quite thoroughly, going over the source material that was used for the film, the look of the picture, where the whole giallo boom was at during this point in its run, what makes some of the characters and performances in the film unique and more. Interesting stuff.

    Black Day For Nero is a new video interview with the film's leading man, Franco Nero, that lasts for twenty-four-minutes. In this piece, Nero talks about his thoughts on the film and why he remains quite proud of the picture, his thoughts on working with Bolgonini, Bazzoni and Storaro, how he got along with some of his co-stars and, maybe not so surprisingly, J&B.

    The Rhythm Section interviews film editor Eugenio Alabiso. The last featurette included here runs twenty-one-minutes and sees the man talking about who was originally intended to direct the film, how he came on board, his thoughts on the picture, how he appreciated working with cast and crew alike and other related topics. Like Nero, he looks back on this one quite fondly.

    Arrow has also included a previously unseen deleted sequence “restored from the original negative” that shows off some of the characters going about their lives set to some of Morricone's score - interesting to see, and hey, nudity. Outside of that we get the film's original Italian and English theatrical trailers, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection.

    Finished product probably comes with nice art and an insert book but those weren't provided for review.

    The Fifth Cord - The Final Word:

    Franco Nero makes a good giallo a great giallo with a very strong lead performance. Baszzoni's direction is assured and the cinematography is as beautiful and stylish as it gets. Giallo fans need The Fifth Cord, plain and simple and Arrow Video's presentation is top notch.

    Click on the images below for full sized The Fifth Cord Blu-ray screen caps!
































    Attached Files

    • Nabonga
      #1
      Nabonga
      Senior Member
      Nabonga commented
      Editing a comment
      I remember nothing about the story or plot but I remember being absolutely floored by how amazingly shot it is. One of the most gorgeously photographed movies of all time. Every frame is some kind of masterpiece.

    • Paul L
      #2
      Paul L
      Scholar of Sleaze
      Paul L commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by Nabonga
      I remember nothing about the story or plot but I remember being absolutely floored by how amazingly shot it is. One of the most gorgeously photographed movies of all time. Every frame is some kind of masterpiece.
      Yes, definitely. A beautifully photographed film though plotwise, it's nothing to write home about. Bazzoni's best thriller, imo, is LE ORME - which is both beautifully shot and compelling on a narrative level.

    • Nabonga
      #3
      Nabonga
      Senior Member
      Nabonga commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by Paul L
      Yes, definitely. A beautifully photographed film though plotwise, it's nothing to write home about. Bazzoni's best thriller, imo, is LE ORME - which is both beautifully shot and compelling on a narrative level.
      Le Orme is really cool, even though I'm not a big Florinda Bolkan guy. VERY interesting film however. I had the Shameless dvd for a while.
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