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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Drama > Thriller > Police State > Sexuality > Dystopian > Horror > Thriller > Serial Kil > Code 46 (2003/United Artists/MGM/Olive Blu-ray)/La Bambola Di Satana (1969 aka The Devil Doll/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/L'Inhumaine (1924/Lobster/Flicker Alley Blu-ray)/A Lizard In A Woma

Code 46 (2003/United Artists/MGM/Olive Blu-ray)/La Bambola Di Satana (1969 aka The Devil Doll/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/L'Inhumaine (1924/Lobster/Flicker Alley Blu-ray)/A Lizard In A Woman's Skin (1971 aka Schizoid/Mondo Macabro Blu-ray)

Picture: B Sound: B/C+/B/B- Extras: C-/B-/C/B- Films: B-/C+/B/B-

PLEASE NOTE: The Devil Doll Blu-ray is now only available from is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is limited to only 3,000 copies, can be ordered while supplies last and can be ordered from the links below.

The following films are all interesting, you should see each at least once, they all take you to other worlds, are otherworldly and happen to have a unique woman at the center of each...

Michael Winterbottom's Code 46 (2003) is a pretty underrated, mature, adult science fiction film about a world on the totalitarian side with increasing environmental damage that has aged too well for our own good in its uncanny accuracy about bad things that have unwound in the unlucky 13 years since its first release. United Artists issued it those 13 years ago and then, we reviewed the DVD version at this link...


MGM could have issued this in a number of ways, but have decided to go with a surprisingly high quality issue from Olive Blu-ray, sending them a solid HD master that really shows how good this film is. Tim Robbins is the official following a mysterious but beautiful Samantha Morton, an underrated actress we see way too little of. She may have violated the title law, which is so screwed up and wrong, that the extended detail of what it is is as Orwellian as anything in the film and law itself. As disturbing as what goes on in the film and what the film rightly implies is how few such smart dystopian films have been made since (Mad Max: Fury Road would be a recent, all-too-rare exception) as a video game mentality and too many digital visual effects have actually produced a subgenre unidentified that essentially implies how much 'fun' being in a police state (like the goofy Hunger Games films) can 'be' to be in. That's outright awful and irresponsible.

Thus, Code 46 never got rediscovered as I had hoped, but this is such a good Blu-ray of it, I'll raise my hopes again and recommend you see it, especially because it has held up so very, very well, it is nice to be vindicated about how solid a piece of fine filmmaking it is. It may be Winterbottom's best narrative film still to this day.

La Bambola Di Satana (1969 aka The Devil Doll) is such a strange film with a strange production history, an actress is miscast, the person credited as the director did not direct it and it was a film that was lost for the most part. With enough mystery violence to qualify it as a Giallo Horror film, this Italian thriller has all kinds of other odd things involved in it, throws in everything and the kitchen sink armed with grant money to make the film. We then get plenty of slow British Agatha Christie-style scenes that don't always fit, a few visist to a soda shop with a jukebox that somehow fits more, murders in between and even a Roger Moore/Saint style car chase/fist fight towards the end that really comes out of nowhere.

Even though this never adds up and is not as purely a Giallo as what Lucio Fulci or Dario Argento might deliver, those parts are done so well and look so good, it is hard not to watch proving the adage that even the lesser productions of decades ago tend to hold up better than the many bad blockbusters of today that are so sloppy and silly with their badly done visual effects, violence that wallows in itself and are just so badly acted, written, acted and directed. At least the people here, mostly unknowns, are at least trying. Nice to finally see this in its entirety and widescreen!

Marcel L'Herbier's L'Inhumaine (1924 aka The Inhuman Woman) is a classic that helped establish Art Deco, Avant Garde art and tries to many different things that you can add Surrealism to its achievements. Starting out as a simple film about a singer (the title character, played by Georgette Leblanc), adored by all kinds of men who meet her in her big, wildly designed home. We meet her at a party with servants who all have the same face (they are bizarre smiley masks) and this would usually be just fantasy territory, but the screenplay and amazing set designs have much more to offer (this influenced Lang's Metropolis (reviewed elsewhere on this site on Blu-ray) certainly only a few years later) as she drives one man so crazy, he drives to his death!

But it turns out to be not that simple and a grand drama with dreamlike surrealism suddenly becomes a science fiction film on top of every other single thing being done here. That happens midway through the film, but I don't want to reveal too much more about the film as not to ruin it for you. However, just to give you an idea of how wild, bold, clever, groundbreaking and innovative the film and its themes get, this is the film that introduced and invented the concept we now know as television! In less than a century, even they would have been stunned that it became a wild reality, High Definition, Ultra High Definition and all.

All serious film fans should see this all-time masterwork, the acting cast is more than up to the challenges around them and some scenes and designs remains unbelievably stunning; especially saved and restored in a 4K HD upgrade. Incredible! Don't miss it!!!

Lucio Fulci's A Lizard In A Woman's Skin (1971) had been issued as Schizoid in the U.S. to capitalize on all things Hitchcock and Psycho (with some Diabolique for good measure) and offers an interesting discourse for its director and for the female lead (Florinda Bolkan) split between sexual desire, oppression and being part safe part of high society in the face of the counterculture as a killer happens to be on the loose. You can read more about the film in our import DVD review at this link...


The film is even clearer, richer and more involving in this new transfer and benefitting from an Ennio Morricone score that holds up very, very well. This film proves how great Fulci was as a director at his best and with this new edition, it can be appreciated better than ever. Especially if you have never seen this film or if you are a fan, you have to see this new release to really experience how good it is and can be. Nice upgrade!

All four Blu-ray offer excellent, consistent playback quality with even reference-quality shots in the four different formats offered. The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Code is varied, but this was on purpose by the director and co-cinematographers Alwin Kuchler, B.S.C., and Marcel Zyskind. Versus the older DVD, there are some incredible jumps in visual quality throughout that will surprise the viewer and a couple of shots that simply stun. Among the better Olive transfers I've seen over the years, this is their best Blu-ray release to date visually and does this gem justice.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer on L'Inhumaine looks amazing from a film its age that is 92 (!!!) years old and counting. The print materials found were apparently in amazing shape to begin with, then they carefully fixed everything frame-by-frame, created a new 4K transfer and restored the dye colors intended. Like the Metropolis restoration, it is stunning and will shock those not used to seeing how great silent films (like Criterion's recent Speedy, both films reviewed elsewhere on this site) can look. 35mm film and film in general proves its greatness once again.

Then we have the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Satana that can sometimes show the age of the materials used a bit, but the film has a superior use of color, shot on Eastmancolor 35mm film stocks and processed by the Italian Telecolor lab, which furthers its unique and sometimes otherworldly look. Besides being a solid Telecolor reference-quality demo, the color is up there with the best Giallo color transfers on Blu-ray anywhere. Nice!

Last but not least is the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Lizard that comes from the original 35mm camera negative, but had the luxury of being issued in 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints. You could see the quality of that to some extent on the import DVD, but here, much more often the kind of superior color intended that is also able to convey mental perceptions, the counterculture and outright Giallo horror of its own that makes the DVD obsolete. Director of Photography Luigi Kuveiller (Avanti!, Deep Red, Camelot, The New York Ripper, Flesh For Frankenstein, Blood For Dracula) had an amazing knack for shooting in color and for shooting suspense and that never fails here down to the superior, smart use of split screen throughout. This may a more modest widescreen frame used here, but it is to a fuller extent than it might first seem. Thanks to Blu-ray, the impact increases all around.

Of the four films here, L'Inhumaine was a silent film, but it has two solid, lossless PCM 2.0 Stereo scores that serve the film well (the more tradition Alloy Orchestra and the more challenging Aidje Tafial music score), though it is also impressive cold silent. Satana and Lizard were theatrical monophonic releases, but have been cleaned up pretty effectively here without ruining the original sound, both here as DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Italian Mono lossless mixes that would have been unthinkable only a decade ago. Yes, there is post-production dubbing on both, but it is not awful and when you add how incredible both look, the impact makes both two of the best back catalog releases of the year, especially in their same genre.

That leaves the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix on Code just ahead of the all-music Stereo on L'Inhumaine and is encoded in Dolby Pro Logic (the analog tracks would have been encoded in their advance SR (Spectral Recording) noise reduction technology at that point) as it had in analog playback versus the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the DVD. Though that was more discrete, this is actually a warmer, richer and a better presentation and I wish it were 5.1, but its just fine as it stands, especially as well recorded and often dialogue-based as it could be.

Extras include Original Theatrical Trailers on Code and Lizard, illustrated booklet on the films including informative texts for Satana and L'Inhumaine, which also adds a Making Of featurette and another featurette about the alternate Aidje Tafial music score, Satana also offers an Isolated Music Score and Sound Effects track and feature length audio commentary track by film scholars David Del Valle & Derek Botelho, leaving Lizard additionally adding its own commentary by Kris Gavin, Radio Spots, separate on camera interviews with Actor Tony Adams & Writer Stephen Thrower, Shedding The Skin documentary on the film and Antonietta De Lillo's short film Dr. Lucio Fulci's Day For Night, all big upgrades from the import DVD that had zero extras!

To order The Devil Doll limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and more great exclusives while supplies last at these links:




- Nicholas Sheffo


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