09 May, 2007

Films I Want on DVD:

DEATH LAID AN EGG was released in 1968 and has been amazing those fortunate enough to stumble across it ever since. Was there ever a US theatrical release? There is a R2 DVD which can be ordered but I would like a R1 SE of this wild giallo, if you want to call it a giallo. Such an imaginatively directed films begs for a commentary by Guilio Questi who codirected and coscripted with the late Franco "Kim" Arcalli, known for his nonlinear editing style in Bertolucci's THE CONFORMIST and 1900. They previously co-created the equally iconoclastic Spaghetti Western known as DJANGO, KILL...If You Live, Shoot! (1967), released by BLUE UNDERGROUND as part of their 2002 THE SPAGHETTI WESTERN COLLECTIION and later as a single. That film was a violent allegory on fascism and greed which turned even the nihilistic Spaghetti Western formula upside down (literally, in some shots). DEATH LAID AN EGG is even more extreme...

It's rather like watching a series of Mondrians staccato edited into a science fiction tinged sex and murder mystery set in a futurist chicken plant. You'll never look at factory farming the same way again (if you've considered it at all) or perhaps never want to partake of what is produced there. It makes its point with absolutely no preaching and at breakneck speed. If you've never seen it you'll NEVER put it together upon a first viewing. It all seems lighter than air and it's a hair trigger pitched jet black comedy of bad manners in which everyone gets exactly what they deserve.

Bruno Maderna's score is akin to the sound of chalk screeching across a blackboard while Dario de Palma's images seem to speed toward us at breakneck speed. I was reminded of a long forgotten horror comic book I read as a child where giant chickens took over the world and got even. Some could be driven mad by this film! Watch it on a double bill with Godard's WEEKEND (also 1967) if you dare. Jean Louis Trintignant made all the right choices for the roles he choose during this period (THE GREAT SILENCE, Robbe Grillet's THE MAN WHO LIES, THE CONFORMIST).

I've only seen it via the pretty wretched Venezuelan DVD. So an OAR SE with the original Italian soundtrack would be nice along with the aforementioned Questi commentary. Questi went on to make the totally inscrutable ARCANA...

I had heard that BU was thinking of releasing this in the future. I hope that's still in the works and that the original Italian language track is included with English subtitles.

I'll be adding some more gialli I'd like to see on R1 DVD in the future.

(c) Robert Monell 2007


Buko-san said...

I had also hoped for a future release by BU of DEATH LAID AN EGG, even after the dissolving of their Giallo Box Set, but it's no longer planned. Here's an excerpt from the recent Bill Lustig interview by Kut Films that confirms it:

You planned to release a disc of Death Laid an Egg, once.
That I aborted.

Money. It ran costly. The people who own it were asking for an enormous amount of money.

Robert Monell said...

That's too bad. I would have bought that set. If it's that expensive I don't know who could bring it out here. Thanks for the interview excerpt.

Anonymous said...

Trintignant's eurocult films deserve a release on DVD. I haven't seen DEATH LAID AN EGG and I've only seen SO SWEET SO PERVERSE in Italian (and cropped).