Monday, 27 March 2017


Produced in 1972, Amuck! (AKA Alla Ricerca del Piacere/In Search of Pleasure), this giallo of sorts (really a mystery thriller with strong accent on sexploitation) has sweet but not so innocent Greta acquiring a job as a secretary on an island-bound mansion, where several people are wrapped up in an odd soap opera.  Her ulterior motive is actually to locate her (bisexual) friend Sally, who also worked at the place as a secretary but disappeared under unexplained circumstances.  Greta soon realises that all is not what it seems among the eclectic family.

There's no doubt that most will be enamoured with the near-constant presence of Barbara Bouchet (as Greta), and if that's what you're here for you do get your money's worth!  She looks amazing throughout and is not afraid to show you her physical attributes.  As a double whammy, we're also treated to the contrasting beauty of Rosalba Neri as a sadistic playgirl, while staring-faced Farley Granger, who you may remember from Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train and Rope, takes on the male lead.  The two lead women were of course known for some decent Euro-horrors/gialli between them throughout the seventies (e.g. Don't Torture A Duckling and Slaughter Hotel respectively), so their dual presence is quite a boon to entertainment value for cult movie fans.  The isolated location is a great idea for both picturesque qualities and the suspense factor, meaning there is plenty to feast one's eyes on during this film.  Where it does fall down a little is in the somewhat languid pace - it could have done with a couple more action or violent sequences here and there to break up the leisurely stroll.  For that reason some viewers may find themselves clock-watching.  On the flipside there is plenty of sex and naked skin, a dreamlike hallucinogenic tendency in places, and the mysterious nature of the characters provides some intrigue.  If you can get over the slow pace it has its rewards.  Admittedly I'm not familiar with Italian director Silvio Amadio's other work, but watching this one does arouse interest in checking his other films out.
Admittedly the releases of 88 Films can vary in quality to some extent, however, I'm very pleased with this Blu-ray.  Restored by boutique label Camera Obscura (for their own non-UK release) the 2.35:1 HD image with generous bitrate is really nice, and looks marvellous on a large screen.  The colours are vibrant, grain is at about the expected level, detail is very good, and damage is kept to a minimum.  The 88 disc features either English or Italian dubs, with optional English subtitles.  Audio via uncompressed LPCM sounds fine (this presumably keeps disc production costs a bit lower than utilising badges such as Dolby or DTS, but the results are as perfect as one can expect for films of this vintage in particular).  It should be noted that the varied music score (composed by Teo Usuelli) on Amuck! is an enjoyable one.

The disc comes with three extras: an excellent 23 minute interview with Barbara Bouchet, who talks candidly about her career generally, and is not afraid to say when she simply doesn't remember making a film.  She seems to have a great personality and looks good considering she's in her seventies.  There's also a 10 minute interview with Rosalba Neri, who conversely claims to remember an awful lot of the time.  The we get a half hour Manchester film festival talk with Bouchet on stage, going over some of the same ground as in the separate interview but captivating nonetheless.  So about an hour of disc-based extras then, which is nice value in my opinion for a film that is not widely known.  On top of that there's a leaflet in the pack with an essay on Bouchet (including some coverage of Amuck!) and the cover is reversible, with an appealing choice of art either way.  A fabulous Blu-ray from 88.

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