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Kino on Video presents
Il Grido (1957)

"Don't insist Aldo, just let me go away."
- Irma (Alida Valli)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: September 15, 2000

Stars: Steve Cochran, Alida Valli, Mirna Girardi
Other Stars: Dorian Gray, Betsy Blair, Lynn Shaw, Gabriella Pallotta
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni

Manufacturer: CMCA
MPAA Rating: unrated
Release Date: September 26, 2000
UPC: 738329017620
Genre: foreign

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- A-C+B- D-

DVD Review

Michelangelo Antonioni came to world attention taking the Jury prize at Cannes in 1960 with the release of L'Avventura, the first of a trilogy, which also included La Notte (1960) and L'Eclipse (1962). The success of these films led to his first international production and most commercially successful and critically acclaimed film, the London produced Blow Up (1966) and its US produced followup, Zabriskie Point (1970).

Il Grido (Outcry) immediately preceded his award-winning L'Avventura, and was a transitional piece marking a departure from the style of his previous work. The opening sequence introduces us to Irma (Alida Valli), who after learning of her husband's death abroad, proceeds to end the seven year relationship she has had with Aldo (Steve Cochran) in her husband's absence. When he learns about her husband's death, he is at first ecstatic, thinking they can now be married, however when told of her wishes for separation, he is distraught, especially when he finds out she is having an affair. Attempting a reconciliation, he publicly beats her, and when she still insists on ending their relationship, he leaves town with their 6-year-old daughter (Mirna Girardi as Rosina), heading for the home of the woman he would have married had he not become involved with Irma.

Although initially happy to see Aldo, his former love (Betsy Blair) eventually learns his reason for returning, and thus he decides again to leave. His meandering journey through the rural landscape of the Italian countryside takes him through a number of affairs with other women, including a widowed gas station attendant (Dorian Gray as Virginia) and a prostitute, but despite these liaisons with other women, his heart still yearns for Irma, but can the void left in her abscence really be filled by returning to her?

Antonioni uses the bleak, fog filled Po Valley as a backdrop for the film. His immersion in the world of the lower class leaves his characters living in poverty-stricken surroundings—a tool shed at a gas station, or a leaky hut on a sandbar in a river. It is always foggy or rainy, the characters trudging through the mud on rural highways or riding in the back of lorries as hitchhikers. The pacing is slow, and the synchronization of the Italian dialogue is distracting in many scenes. The film does capture the sense of loss and lack of direction its central character experiences, and performances by all the cast are very good. The English subtitling is sparse, missing a fair amount of dialogue, which leaves one wondering what details are being omitted. In the end the audience is left to assume a fair deal of the context, but can still manage to understand the storyline, albeit without the color one would get from the original language track.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The source print is in fairly rough shape, especially at the beginning and end of reels, where a lot of specs and scratches are present. The black and white image is reasonable for the most part, though tends to get foggy and there is some ghosting on occasion. Darker scenes tend to be overly dark and lower contrast, and some of the scenes with a lot of fog suffer from compression and noise reduction issues. There are a number of missing frames or frame damage evident throughout, with a few rough splices within scenes. There is no disguising this as an old film, but even with its flaws it plays well. Subtitles are burned into the image.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is reasonable aside from rough areas around the reel changes which are subject to static. There is some hum present throughout. As mentioned above, sync on the Italian track is way off in many places—this is in the source. The ambiance of the score suits the film well, and despite its condition is effective to the presentation. Better subtitling would have helped non-Italian audiences, as there are many scenes of dialogue without any subtitles, leaving the viewer guessing about the content.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 15 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: No extras.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Il Grido is a very watchable film, with a very melancholy atmosphere to it. The portrayal of a man who is emotionally lost is carried off well, and the supporting female cast enhance the story. The cinematography is compelling, and even with the lack of decent subtitles, the viewer gets the message of the film. This isn't a "happily ever after" piece by any means, but for those interested in a dark character study, I'd recommend this film.


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