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Murder In A Blue World (Cauldron Films) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Murder In A Blue World (Cauldron Films) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Cauldron Films
    Released on: November 22nd, 2022.
    Director: Eloy de la Iglesia
    Cast: Chris Mitchum, Sue Lyon, Jean Sorel
    Year: 1973
    Purchase From Amazon

    Murder In A Blue World – Movie Review:

    Also known as Clockwork Terror and To Love, Perhaps To Die, Murder In A Blue World was directed by Eloy de la Iglesia who also co-wrote the screenplay. Released in 1973, the story is set in the future where society has made most of its members productive, though a criminal element still remains, as news reports discuss a serial killer in the area. We see the aforementioned criminal element in action first hand when a gang of young men decked out in black leather and red motorcycle helmets bust into a family's home and interrupt their viewing of A Clockwork Orange to savagely beat them with whips. With that out of the way, the mother is gang raped.

    One of the members of this gang is David (Chris Mitchum) and a short time after the home invasion, he gets into an argument with the gang's de facto leader and is tossed out of the group. While he's sitting at a riverside collecting his thoughts, he witnesses a beautiful blonde woman disposing of a naked corpse. Curious, he follows her and learns that she's actually a nurse named Ana Vernia (Sue Lyon) and that she works for Doctor Victor Sender (Jean Sorel). Sender runs a government funded clinic that uses electroshock therapy on convicted criminals to mute their violent impulses. Knowing that Ana has killed and will kill again, David decides to blackmail her, but when Ana and Victor discover David’s ties to the vicious gang, they come up with a plan to beat him at his own game.

    Murder In A Blue World is a really interesting and well-made picture. Yes, the influence of Kubrick’s movies is undeniable - there are obvious nods to Kubrick throughout, not just with the home invasion scene and its references to A Clockwork Orange but at one point we literally see Sue Lyon, who starred in the title role in Kubrick’s adaptation of Lolita, reading a copy of the book that the film was based on – but Eloy de la Iglesia definitely puts his own stamp on things, working in some genuinely vicious twists and infusing the film with some pretty obvious gay subtext, which was common in his work (Cannibal Man being a great example of that).

    Stylish to a very impressive degree, and filled with bright colors and interesting design work, Murder In A Blue World is a very handsomely lensed picture. It always looks excellent, each shot beautifully composed often with unique angles that help to build tension and set a very specific mood. Full marks for Francisco Fraile for his work as cinematographer. The score from Georges Garvarentz is unusual and unorthodox and probably not at all what you’d expect for a futuristic sci-fi thriller, but somehow it works. De la Iglesia paces the movie pretty effectively, doing a solid job of building tension, particularly in the film’s final reel.

    As far as the performances go, Jean Sorel’s role is really just a supporting part, but he’s good here, even if he doesn’t get all that much screen time. Mitchum dominates the first chunk of the movie and does fine with the material but once the story brings Ana into the mix, Sue Lyon winds up getting most of the screen time. Honestly, that’s not a bad thing at all, as she’s very good here. It’s interesting to watch her character shift and evolve as the story twists and turns. She uses her sex appeal well here but there’s a lot more to her work here than just looking good, she really has a great screen presence and is able to make her character genuinely eerie.

    Murder In A Blue World – Blu-ray Review:

    Taken from a brand new 2K restoration of the Spanish Producer’s cut from the negative, the AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer on a 50GB disc, framed at 2.40.1, looks really nice. There’s very nice clarity and detail here and quite a bit of appreciable depth and texture on display as well. Colors generally look really nice and black levels are good as well. The image is pretty clean, showing virtually no print damage here at all, while retaining a good amount of natural film grain.

    Audio options are offered in Spanish and English language in 24-bit LPCM 2.0 Mono tracks with optional subtitles available in English only for the Spanish track and in English SDH for the English track. Both tracks are clean, clear and nicely balanced without any hiss or distortion to complain about.

    A new commentary by Film Historian Kat Ellinger starts off the extras. She speaks about Eloy de la Iglesia’s life and career and details the different contributions of the main cast members and crew members. She also dissects some of the themes that the film explores and offers an analysis of the film’s effectiveness in this area. She also goes over how the film was received by critics when initially released, what sets the picture apart from other genre efforts, its place in Spanish genre cinema history, the film’s gay subtext, the score, the cinematography and more.

    The disc also includes some featurettes, starting with a newly edited archival interview with Chris Mitchum from 2008 that runs for twenty-minutes. He talks about how his career started to really take off after the success of Summertime Killer and Big Jake, how he got along with John Wayne and thoughts on his outspoken political views, having to look for work outside of the Hollywood mainstream and moving to Europe to take roles, what it was like working in Europe and also in Thailand and some of the people that he starred with in a few pictures.

    Dubbing In A Blue World is a twelve minute interview with Ben Tatar, a man who was responsible for handling the dubbing of a few hundred Spanish films that were exported by producer Sidney W. Pink to English speaking territories. He talks about the different types of dubbing, how you go about adapting a foreign language film into English and some of the trickiness that can entail as well as some career highlights.

    A new video essay by Film Scholar Dr. Xavier Aldana Reyes runs fifteen minutes and it does a pretty deep dive into the way that the film reflects certain aspects of society. It does a nice job of peeling back the layers of the movie and exploring the themes that the movie deals with.

    Also included on the disc is the film's ninety-seven minutes UK cut under the alternate title of Clockwork Terror. This is taken from a VHS source and presented in very compressed 1080p upscale with Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono audio and no subtitles. It isn't an improvement over the feature version of the movie but it is interesting as a curio and it's always nice to see labels preserve alternate cuts of cult films when possible.

    Rounding out the extras is an image gallery, menus and chapter selection options. This disc also comes packaged with some slick reversible cover sleeve art.

    Murder In A Blue World - The Final Word:

    Murder In A Blue World might owe Stanley Kubrick a debt, but it never tries to hide that. At the same time, this pictures has Eloy de la Iglesia’s stamp all over it. The end result is a genuinely interesting, and at times quite tense, sci-fi thriller with some really strong acting and some neat plot twists that are sure to keep audiences intrigued. The Blu-ray release from Cauldron Films presents the film in a very strong presentation and with a pretty nice array of extra features as well, making this a great package overall.


    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Murder In A Blue World Blu-ray screen caps!

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