Shameless is a DVD label that is all about the fans and with their latest release of the rarely-seen Designated Victim their efforts have never been more focused on trying to deliver intriguing product that will please fans of this label of film discovery.
A true high point in 70s Italian thriller cinema, this inspired remake of Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train from director Maurizio Lucidi is able to push the concept of the original movie into something far more unbearably tense and deliciously twisted.
Stefano (Tomas Milian; Traffic, Amistad, JFK) needs to sort out his troublesome wife who is seriously cramping his future plans. A chance meeting with a wealthy Count Matteo (Pierre Clementi) leads to an extraordinary plan where both will do each other a murderous favour to free them from the people who ail them. The problem is Stefano treats this as a joke whilst Matteo is deadly serious and what he does drives Stefano to the edge of sanity in a gripping race against time!
Shot in a mist-wreathed eerily beautiful Venice this near dream-like melding of thriller with baroque giallo overtones has remained until now a criminally hidden psychological gem.
The Designated Victim (cert. 18) will be released uncut in a brand new exclusive rebuild edit as a ‘Fan Edition’ DVD (£12.99) by Shameless Screen Entertainment on 3rd November 2008. The film will be presented remastered in 2.35:1 with optional English and Italian audio tracks and English subtitles. Also included on the disc will be a Shameless Fact Track by Stefan Novak, deleted scenes, Collector's Art Gallery, original theatrical trailer and a Shameless original trailer gallery.
A DVD BY THE FANS FOR THE FANS
Never before released in the UK this fascinating curio has become the focus of Shameless's most ambitious disc to date which in their own words could be “complete madness” given the lack of general knowledge about this film. What became abundantly clear once materials were viewed was that this film had been released in other countries in a variety of edits. With extensive research a whole new Shameless ‘Re-build' edit was put together as had been done with the well-received The Frightened Woman. Due to the rarity of the film some inserted footage does vary in quality but the best efforts possible have been made to source the best possible elements.
Whilst the edit was being put together, lifelong fan and expert of the film Stefan Novak contacted Shameless with further information and material to consider. A decision was taken to use his input to put together the first-ever Shameless ‘Fan Edition' DVD. As a fan's knowledge and passion was now driving Shameless to produce a DVD far more ambitious than was planned the ‘Fan Edition' name seemed apt.
Stefan provided his own notes on the various edits of the film available and opened up his extensive collection of Designated Victim materials to help compile deleted scenes and the collector's art gallery. Additionally Stefan wrote the first ever Shameless Fact Track where a steady flow of background information is delivered to the viewer via an optional subtitle track. The beauty of this is concise, pertinent points that open up the film to anyone viewing whilst allowing them to retain the soundtrack so they can watch the film rather than be forced to listen to an audio commentary.
Finally for this release Shameless sourced both the English and Italian dub tracks and produced an all-new English subtitle translation. This may not seem like a big deal in the world of DVD but for such obscurities like Designated Victim it is a major financial and time outlay given the lack of DVD stockists in the UK that carry any semblance of a range in this day and age. It was though felt that again as fans have asked for dual tracks that this should be tried with this release (it should be pointed out that films in this era in Italy were rarely recorded with sync sound).
Final authoring, some very valuable checking and additional provision of materials for deleted scenes and the Rebuild Edit was done by Marc Morris of Nucleus Films completing what has been a very testing project but the hope is that fans will get real satisfaction from the effort that has been put in to illuminate this little gem of a thriller. Without a doubt this is a DVD release that is made by fans for the fans!
Rebuilt edit of the film, English and Italian audio with English subtitles, deleted scenes, fact track by Stefan Novak & collector's art gallery