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Askew Review 15

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(Raro Video) 1953. Drama. B&W. 114 minutes. French, Italian, English. Not rated. In three unrelated segments, a murder is committed in Paris, Rome, and London by affluent youths. In Paris, a group of friends plan the murder of a fellow friend for his money. An Italian teen, who has a smoking girlfriend (Anna Maria Ferrero), gets involved in a smuggling ring, which leads to a killing. London is falling after a young poet happily exploits the credit for finding a strangled prostitute (who has the most annoying voice ever).
            Before its release in 1953, director Michelangelo Antonioni was forced to edit, cut, and alter several aspects of the film. Even after all that, the thing was still banned in France for a decade. Censors found the youth violence off putting and the voice of an inappropriate social message. Compared to today’s cinematic violence, I Vinti (translates The Vanquished) could air on The Disney Channel, but it obviously ruffled feathers over there back then. Hell, today, you see worse violence in your local McDonald’s. The strangulation scene in the London segment is by far the quickest in cinematic history, and off screen. The acting is way melodramatic, but the actors do a great job, especially the chap who plays London poet Aubrey; Peter Reynolds
(who in 1975 burned to death after falling asleep while smoking!). The production values are stunning and the restored print quality is amazing. Antonioni does a grand job and ends the film with the perfect fade away. Extras include the uncut Italian segment, an Antonioni short, and interviews with the film’s producer and actor Franco Interlenghi. Also comes with a six page booklet detailing the film and its troubles. – Denis Sheehan

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