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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Murder In A Blue World (PAL format - Region Free/Zero)

Murder In A Blue World (Region 0 - Free/PAL)

 

PLEASE NOTE: This is a DVD that can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Zero/0/Free and the PAL format software, and can be ordered from our friends at Xploited Cinema through their website:

 

www.xploitedcinema.com

 

They have this and hundreds of other great, usually very hard to get titles that are often long overdo to his the U.S. DVD market.  Be sure to visit their site for more details on that as well.

 

 

Picture: C+     Sound: C     Extras: D     Film: B

 

 

Some of us just love the period of Science Fiction between 1965 and 1976 before Star Wars and as its greatest golden era became it most daring, risk taking and visionary.  Though the films usually came from France, England and The United States, the cinema of other countries also dared to come up with their bold visions of the future.  The former Soviet Union offered Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972, reviewed elsewhere on this site) and Spain gave us a film ever-dubbed a “Spanish Clockwork Orange” from 1973.  That film is Eloy de la Iglesia’s Murder In A Blue World (Una Gota de sangre para morir amando) boldly attempts to absorb everything it can from the era, but has a particular fixation with Kubrick’s films and Francois Truffaut’s version of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 from 1966.

 

Sue Lyon, who played Lolita for Kubrick only a decade before, is Nurse Anna.  She is a celebrated and respected woman who could easily step up into higher medicine in this strange future world, and is supported by one of the hospital’s top doctors (Christopher Mitchum) she is almost having an affair with.  In the meantime, a very violent gang is on the loose; a bike gang that uses whips and also uses a dune buggy.  They are essentially a cross between the Droogs of Kubrick’s film and the firemen of Truffaut’s, but also look like Blofeld’s henchmen in the beginning of the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever.  You be the judge, but it is interesting and goes with the modernist futuristic visuals the filmmakers attempt here.  Be on the lookout for other intentionally coy references too.

 

An advanced electro-shock therapy is being used at the hospital to turn killers into “useful citizens” in what is constantly suggested throughout as a more restrictive, less free, almost police-state-like society.  The mix of automobiles dates the film somewhat, though it is saved by intentional post-Blade Runner, post-modern mixes of vehicles in the genre as it stands over 30 years later.  The way the film handles a gay character is the one outstanding false note, while gay subtext surfaces throughout, often unintended.  A truer note is the use of Flash Gordon (before Star Wars eclipsed those adventures as the space opera of the moment) and Alex Raymond artwork up for auction in particular, with moneyed individuals bidding.  Pop culture and collectibles were still considered a shaky investment, if not an outright joke at the time, save a very few pieces.  This is one prophecy that has come true that few can complain about.

 

The film literally references Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange when a broadcast of it follows some amusing faux commercials in the mode of the Truffaut film.  At the time, there was little cable or satellite service, and neither is suggested leaving the idea remaining that a film that was X-rated at the time would be suitable for broadcast in this future world since it became more violent and technologized.  The film and this cut are certainly R-rated, pushing what we would now consider NC-17, with even the DVD case noting this is only for ages 18 and over.  Credit as well to writers Antonio Artero, Antonio Fos, José Luis Garci, and George Lebourg developed the story and screenplay with the director and were ambitious about it.  The result endures better than even they likely expected.

 

The letterboxed 2.35 X 1 image was shot by cinematographer Francisco Fraile, who previously collaborated with the director on the Horror film The Glass Ceiling in 1971, a genre de la Iglesia had done strongly before this film.  Some shimmering in the detail is odd, but the color is consistent and the look of the film is very interesting.  The composition uses the scope frame surprisingly well throughout, though towards the end, it loosens up as more outdoor shooting takes place.  Most independent and low-budget filmmakers who think digital is the solution to everything should see this film, even if a couple effects are dated, many others are not and the look is good.

 

The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono shows its age and only an English dub track is available.  The music holds up well and there is some compression, but background noise is also present throughout that could have simply been erased or not added during the silent segments of the film.  Besides classical pieces, there is original music by Georges Garvarentz, who did not live to see his composition Old Fashioned Way used by Clockwork Orange director Stanley Kubrick’s last film in 1999, Eyes Wide Shut.  Unfortunately, there are no extras, though this turned out to be more than a knockoff and deserves a special edition later down the line.  Maybe an HD formatted version will provide that opportunity, as the Spanish track and various subtitles would take away dubbing tendency to make serious moments unintentionally funny.

 

Pagan Films has done us all a great service by releasing this film, though it is in its slightly shorter, 98 minutes-long British cut.  That is still 10 more minutes than the U.S. release, dubbed Clockwork Terror.  The original Spanish version has about 3 more minutes, which we would like to see, as if this were not bloody enough.  It no doubt was an influence on two Paul Verhoeven films, but to identify them would give away an important plot point.  Eloy de la Iglesia is one of the boldest directors you never heard of and we hope to cover more of his films as they hit DVD (and home video in general) belatedly.  Murder In A Blue World belongs in all serious home video collections when it comes to Science Fiction and is a must-see for serious fans.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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