Deep Red (1975) | Limited Edition 4K Blu-ray Review


After his well regarded “Animal Trilogy”, and a brief jump into comedy, Dario Argento returned to the giallo horror genre with much-celebrated Deep Red (a.k.a. Profundo Rosso). Arrow Video has had the rights for a few years and had previously released the film on Blu-ray, but now is back with a full 4K disc, in a limited edition package.


If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon

Deep Red, 4K Blu-ray cover art

Tech Specs:

Format(s):UltraHD/4K Blu-ray (2x BD-100)
Released By:Arrow Video
Release Date:October 26th, 2021
Video Format / Codec:H.265 (HEVC)
Resolution:Native 4K, 2160/24p
Digital Intermediate (DI):4K (from 35mm negatives)
High-Dynamic Range (HDR):Dolby Vision (MEL), HDR10
Aspect Ratio:2.35:1
Audio Format(s):Italian (Original Cut):
DTS-HD MA 1.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)
DTS-HD MA 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Additional track available in English/Italian hybrid*

English (Export Cut):
Linear PCM 1.0 (24-bit)

*Note: For the Original Cut, the English audio track has some gaps in the available English dialog. As such they have been filled in using Italian audio with English subtitles. The Export Cut does not contain any hybrid sections.
Subtitles:English, English SDH
Packaging:Dual disc snap case
Rigid slipcover
Booklet
Poster
Art Cards
Region Coding:Region-free

Video Review:

Deep Red was originally filmed on 35mm stock and for this remaster, Arrow went back to that original stock to create a true 4K scan of the negatives. As outlined in the release notes, Arrow had to go through some lengths to re-assemble the original Italian version of the film as the negatives were physically cut to create the shorter cut exported to the rest of the world. As such they had to physically reassemble the various parts of the film to recreate the original version, and their work should be well praised by the film community as the output has created a wonderfully detailed digital scan of this film. As a result, we are treated to an image that includes incredibly fine detail across much of the film with skin textures, hair and costumes all revealing very sharp and fine details and practical effects being that much more. Much a hallmark of Argento are close ups of actors faces and strong contrast with backgrounds really making the impressive nature of the image pop off the screen. There was little artifacting from compression, and the transfer from the original source looked to be well restored from any damage, with only an odd hair or single frame fleck appearing throughout the duration of both cuts of the film.
As this was shot on film, there is film grain throughout. While mostly well preserved there were a few instances where it looked a touch unnatural, or slightly colored, but those moments were few and far between.

While I do not have the previous Blu-ray release, it was much praised for its level of detail as well, but did not quite have the same impact on the color front based on the imagery I was able to find in past Blu-ray reviews. Conversely, the Dolby Vision and HDR10 enabled color grade on the 4K disc really create a pop, most notably in the reds of the theater scenes, but more importantly in the subtlety of skin color and costuming, adding a healthy pink to the former and some extra punch to the later. Even the neutral tones manage to get a bit more full-bodied with the set pieces looking natural in color, and eerie in presentation and practical effects and blood look horrifically alive.

This film is notable for some very deep black levels in the background to contrast with the bright color in the foreground. The HDR presentation did very well to preserve all of it. While much of the detail in the shadows was intentionally pushed to black by the director’s intent, where detail was meant to be seen, it is that much better resolved against the deep, inky well of black. The whites are bright and impactful and highlight detail is well preserved when present in the film.

Video Score (4K): 4.6 / 5

Audio Review:

We were treated to a few options for audio, with the Original cut of the film coming with the original mono track in Italian as well as a 5.1 surround mix in the same. We also get an English mono track, but as noted in the specs, this track is incomplete as some scenes in the original cut were never recorded. As such Arrow spliced in sections of the Italian audio track with added subtitles to fill in the gaps. Of the three, my personal preference was for the original Italian mono track. It was clean and clear throughout with a very fitting presence to the action on screen, the musical score was presented with authority, with the low end commanding dramatic presence. Effects were clear and defined. The surround mix did not offer much in the way of enhancement and in fact sounded a bit unnatural to me with a bit of openness that did not feel like it matched the needs of select scenes, but there is additional presence for the musical score. That said, it would not be my choice for experiencing this film.

As for the hybrid cut, as much of it is sourced from the original mono tracks in each language, it has much of the same presence as noted for the Italian-only track, however my personal preference is always for the Italian audio on these films with rare exception and I actually found the hybrid audio to be a touch distracting, but your preferences may differ.

The Export cut leverages the full English mono track available for that cut of the film and it sounds equally as good as the Italian counterpart on the longer cut.

As noted by Arrow, the sync between the visual and audio presentation is intentionally a bit loose, which is very much in line with the Italian style of filming in this era where both languages are recorded as dubs after principal filming. Fans of this style will be right at home, but if this is your first jump into the genre, you may wonder if something is unintentionally offset (it’s not).

Audio Score (4K): 4.3 / 5

Special Features and Packaging:

In addition to the two cuts of the film, Arrow has appropriately included a litany of on-disc and select physical features to include in this package. On both discs you’ll find several audio commentary tracks, hours of new and archival interviews with cast and crew, including Argento, archival footage, trailers, galleries, visual essays and more. All are well produced and incredibly interesting for fans of the film and Giallo genre.

In the packaging, in addition to reversible cover art on the case, we also get a rigid slip box which fits in line with what we have seen in other recent Argento limited edition releases from Arrow (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, The Cat O’Nine Tails). We are also treated to a reversible poster with both the new and original movie artwork and a book full of essays, photos  and information on the film and restoration process. And top it all off with six art/lobby cards. Overall a wonderful collection of digital and physical features for the fan and of typical Arrow quality.

Physical packaging and extras

Features Score: 4.8 / 5

Buy/Upgrade-worthiness:

If you are a fan of this film, this definitely is the best it has looked and a worthy entry into any collection. If you own the Arrow Blu-ray from a couple of years ago, this is an upgrade on the visual front and the list of, however, given the price tag (currently $43) it may be a hard ask to double dip except for the biggest of fans and collectors. If you have the budget and want the features then grab this edition, but if you don’t care as much about the limited edition features, I would highly expect Arrow to release a standard edition in the coming months which would likely save you a few bucks. 


Buy/Upgrade Recommendation: YES!

If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon

Summary and Overall Scores:

Another in a great series of limited edition Argento remasters from Arrow Video, Deep Red on 4K has a lot to offer, with two great cuts of the film, a series of audio tracks and a whole host of extras, new and old, to keep fans busy enjoying this great Giallo feature.

Experience Score**: 4.5 / 5  (Excellent)

** Experience score does not take into account the quality of the film itself, just the technical presentation, packaging and included features.

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