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All the Colors of the Dark (1972)
Blu-ray Disc Released: 1/29/2019
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/25/2019
We’ve discussed this before, but let’s jump into it one more time. Giallo (not to be confused with gelato) is a sub-genre of murder-mystery films from Italy which often feature lurid sex and violence, as well as black-gloved killers. The stories revolve around the murders and the revelation of the assailant of often less-than-satisfying. Filmmakers like Mario Bava and Dario Argento pioneered these films and helped to make them international favorites. But, it’s clear that the idea of a Giallo sub-genre can be too far-reaching and movies which don’t belong get lumped into this category. All the Colors of the Dark is not a Giallo.
All the Colors of the Dark introduces us to Jane (Edwige Fenech), a woman who is going through a rough time. She can’t stop thinking about the car accident which caused her to have a miscarriage. Her live-in boyfriend, Richard (George Hilton), is supportive, but he’s often away on business. Jane’s sister, Barbara (Susan Scott), urges her to see the psychoanalyst for which she works. Jane’s already unstable world is thrown completely out-of-whack when she finds herself constantly being pursued by a man with piercing blue eyes (Ivan Rassimov). As Jane struggles to maintain her sanity, she finds herself drawn to her new neighbor, Celia (Marina Malfatti). Will Jane be able to make it through this nightmare?
All the Colors of the Dark comes from genre veterans Director Sergio Martino and Screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi, both of whom worked non-stop in the 70s and 80s, and both of whom had just come off of The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail. While that film was a crime-thriller disguised as a Giallo, All the Colors of the Dark is a even more cluttered mixture of genres.
As noted above, I don’t consider All the Colors of the Dark a Giallo. Why? Because it’s not a murder-mystery. Most movies in the sub-genre open with a murder and then move on from there. This movie does contain some killings, but they occur later on in the movie, and we know who did them. Instead, much of All the Colors of the Dark plays like a Rosemary’s Baby wannabe. Jane feels like everyone is out to get her and she doesn’t know where to turn. And, having seen Polanski’s classic, we get the feeling that even those who Jane trusts may be up to no good. And while Rosemary’s Baby was very subtle in its portrayal of a cult, All the Colors of the Dark puts the cult right in our face as Jane attends some strange ceremonies. There is also a heavy dose (no pun intended) of psychedelics, from the film’s truly bizarre opening to some later moments where Jane begins hallucinating.
In short, All the Colors of the Dark is all over the place. And while it throws many ideas at us, none of them stick. The threat of the blue-eye man falls apart due to the fact that the movie keeps changing the rules surrounding him. The scenes with the cult come across as cliched. Even the conspiracy piece limps along, as the movie forgets to deliver enough credible villains. The weird opening is cringe-worthy and the ending feels like it came out of another movie which would have concerned psychics. However, All the Colors of the Dark’s costliest defect is Jane herself. She is such a weak and meek character, especially when viewed through a modern lens, that it’s hard to get behind her. Jane seems to have no thoughts of her own, and agrees to any suggestion from other people. When compared to Rosemary, who took matters into her own hands, she is a complete push-over. Having said that, Edwige Fenech was attractive, and it’s clear why she was placed at the center of the film, but she deserved a better character and a more cohesive script.
All the Colors of the Dark is undoubtedly one of the better nonsense titles to grace a Giallo on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Severin Films. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 35 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing scant defects from the source materials, but there is a noticeable sheen of grain on the image throughout. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The depth works well and the level of detail is noticeably good for a film of this age. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track which runs at 48 kHz and a constant 1.6 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Being a Mono track, we don’t get any dynamic effects, but the actors are always audible and the sound effects and score don’t drown out the dialogue. There is no hissing or popping on the track.
The All the Colors of the Dark Blu-ray Disc contains several extras features. The Disc offers an alternate cut of the film which features the more appropriate title “They’re Coming to Get You”, and runs seven minutes shorter than the original cut. We get an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Kat Ellinger, the author of All the Colors of Sergio Martino. “Color My Nightmare” (40 minutes) is an interview with Director Sergio Martino who discusses his career and his specific work on All the Colors of the Dark. “Last of the Mohicans” (18 minutes) then allows Screenwriter Ernestor Gastaldi to reminisce about the film and his relationship with Martino. “Giallo is the Color” (32 minutes) has George Hilton talking about his work in the film industry, and the piece then segues into an interview with movie historian Antonio Tentori. Finally, we get three TRAILERS for the film.
Review Copyright 2019 by Mike Long