Dec 182021

The Giallo Essentials collection has three movies Arrow Films previously released some years ago and I guess if on sale might be worth picking up. As for the movies, only one I’d consider a true giallo and none are particularly great but watchable.



Giallo Essentials
— The Possessed / The Fifth Cord / The Pjama Girl Case —

Genre(s): Horror, Crime, Drama
Arrow Video| NR – 280 min. – $99.95 | November 30, 2021

Date Published: 12/18/2021 | Author: The Movieman

Director: Luigi Bazzoni, Franco Rossellini (The Possessed); Luigi Bazzoni (The Fifth Cord); Flavio Mogherini (The Pajama Girl Case)

Writer(s): Giovanni Comisso (novel), Giulio Questi, Luigi Bazzoni, Franco Rossellini, Ernesto Gastaldi (screenplay) (The Possessed); David McDonald Devine (novel), Mario di Nardo, Mario Fanelli, Luigi Bazzoni (screenplay) (The Fifth Cord); Flavio Mogherini, Rafael Sánchez Campoy (story), Flavio Mogherini (written by) (The Pajama Girl Case)

Cast (The Possessed): Peter Baldwin, Salvo Randone, Valentina Cortese, Pia Lindström
Cast (The Fifth Cord): Franco Nero, Silvia Monti, Wolfgang Preiss, Ira Furstenberg
Cast (The Pajama Girl Case): Ray Milland, Dalila Di Lazzaro, Michele Placido

Features: Audio Commentaries, Interviews, Theatrical Trailers
Slip Cover: Yes (slip case)
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 3

Audio: Italian (PCM 1.0), English (PCM 1.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH, English
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A



THE POSSESSED (1965) — Bernard (PETER BALDWIN) is a depressed novelist who sets off in search of his old flame Tilde (VIRNA LISI), a beautiful maid who works at a remote lakeside hotel. Bernard is warmly greeted by the hotel owner Enrico (SALVO RANDONE) and his daughter Irma (VALENTINA CORTESE), but Tilde had supposedly killed herself and Bernard undertakes an investigation, soon plunged into a disturbing drama of familial secrets, perversion, madness and murder…

Quick Hit Review: This first entry in the “Giallo Essentials” doesn’t really feel like a giallo film at all, just a standard mystery. That being said, an okay little thriller with good performances all around and while it does go at a snail’s pace in the middle, there’s enough here to make it a decent enough film. 3¼/5

THE FIFTH CORD (1971) — When a man barely survives a brutal assault en route home from a New Year’s party, washed-up, whisky-swilling journalist Andrea Bild (FRANCO NERO) is assigned to report on the case. Before long, the maniac strikes again, this time with fatal results. As the body count rises, Andrea falls under suspicion himself, making it even more imperative that he crack the case. His only clue lies in a series of black gloves found at the location of every attack, each with a finger cut off…

Quick Hit Review: Of the three movies in this collection, this one is the most giallo of them. I enjoyed this one well enough as the mystery element was somewhat interesting and Franco Nero’s presence made the film engaging, though as a whole it’s not terrible memorable. 3½/5

THE PJAMA GIRL CASE (1977) — The body of a young woman is found on the beach, shot in the head, burned to hide her identity and dressed in distinctive yellow pajamas. With the Sydney police stumped, former Insepector Timpson (RAY MILLAND) comes out of retirement to crack the case. Treading where the “real” detectives can’t, Timpson doggedly pieces together the sad story of Dutch immigrant Linda Blythe (DALILA DI LAZZARO) and the unhappy chain of events which led to her grisly demise.

Quick Hit Review: The last entry was okay, especially with the telling of the story in two different points of time (one with a police investigation, the other on how the victim came to be murdered). That said, there are way too weird scenes, most notably the police encasing the burned victim behind plexiglass and having the public parading around it in the hopes someone may identify her. Just bizarre. 3/5



This is the first volume of “Giallo Essentials” from Arrow, which are movies that from what I can tell already released individually before. The three movies are housed in their own HD keep cases which side-slides into a sturdy slip case and there’s a slip cover with a cut-out on the front.

The Possessed

  • Audio Commentary by Writer and Critic Tim Lucas
  • Richard Dyer on The Possessed (25:12) is a video appreciation by the cultural and academic.
  • Lipstick Marks (11:52) — Interview with the film’s Makeup Artist, Giannetto De Rossi.
  • Youth Memories (16:20) — Interview with the film’s Assistant Art Director Dante Ferretti.
  • The Legacy of the Bazzoni Brothers (30:36) — Interview with Actor and Director Francesco Barilli, close friend of Luigi Bazzoni and his brother Camillo Bazzoni.
  • Original Trailers — Italian and English versions.

The Fifth Cord

  • Audio Commentary by Critic Travis Crawford
  • Lines and Shadows (17:49) — Video essay by Critic Rachael Nisbet discussing the cinematography and production design.
  • Whisky Giallore (28:22) — Appreciation of The Fifth Cord by Author and Critic Michael Mackenzie.
  • Black Day for Nero (23:33) — Interview with Actor Franco Nero.
  • The Rhythm Section (21:27) — Interview with Editor Eugenio Alabiso.
  • Deleted Sequence (2:37) is a brief montage that was found in storage with other film elements but has never been included in any known version of the film.
  • Italian Theatrical Trailer, English Theatrical Trailer and an Image Gallery rounds out this disc.

The Pyjama Girl Case

  • Audio Commentary by Author Troy Howarth
  • Small World (28:30) — Interview with Author and Critic Michael Mackenzie discussing internationalism in the giallo.
  • A Good Bad Guy (31:46) — Interview with Actor Howard Ross.
  • A Study in Elegance (23:17) — Interview with Editor Alberto Tagliavia.
  • Inside the Yellow Pyjama (15:04) — Interview with Assistant Director Ferruccio Castronuovo.
  • The Yellow Rhythm (21:24) — Edited archival interview with Composer Riz Ortolani.
  • Also included is an Image Gallery and the Italian Theatrical Trailer.


VIDEO – 4½/5, AUDIO – 4/5

All three of these movies were previously released individually and I assume came with booklets. In any case, these movies received at the time of their respective release dates, received new 1080p high-definition transfers culled from 2K restorations from the original camera negatives. In short, all three movies look quite good, detail is sharp and while there were some minor specs, for the most part these are clean and nicely defined.

All three films come with Italian and English PCM Mono tracks which were perfectly serviceable for movies this old. Dialogue comes across with good clarity and there is some minor depth for the scores/soundtrack and other elements happening off-screen or in the distance. I didn’t detect any significant instances of pops or hissing.


Overall, the Giallo Essentials collection has three movies Arrow Films previously released some years ago and I guess if on sale might be worth picking up. As for the movies, only one I’d consider a true giallo and none are particularly great but watchable.

 12/18/2021  Blu-ray Reviews, Quick Hit Reviews Tagged with: ,

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