One Deadly Summer Blu-ray Review

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The Count of Monte Cristo meets Betty Blue

by Casimir Harlow Jul 26, 2019 at 8:24 AM

  • Movies & TV review


    One Deadly Summer Blu-ray Review
    SRP: £18.99

    One Deadly Summer Film Review

    A classic French psycho-drama, One Deadly Summer sees a young Isabella Adjani on hot and fiery form.

    Despite enjoying an early starring role in Walter Hill's iconic The Driver (a huge inspiration for Refn's seminal Drive), and despite being the only French actor in history to have won five Cesar Awards, Isabelle Adjani has actually only had a handful of lead roles in her five decades in the industry. Often best remembered for being the powerful La Reine Margot, it's hard to actually name that many other films the great actress has been in (perhaps Besson's Subway, Polanski's The Tenant, but nothing even approaching big).

    Jean Becker's 1983 One Deadly Summer, but for its title, appears initially to be little more than a rather colourful tale of Adjani's highly sexualised newcomer arriving in a French village and capturing the attention of all the men. With a series of occasional narrators (including a rather unreliable one from Adjani's character herself), it soon becomes clear that there's much more to this story, which offers up a tragic backstory to how this young goddess has come to this particular place at this particular time, and what she is there to do.

    Adjani is still absolutely captivating as the protagonist, enjoying the duality of her role

    One Deadly Summer may be showing its vintage, but Adjani is still absolutely captivating as the protagonist (and maybe antagonist?), enjoying the duality of her initial role as ostensibly little more than vapid and severely underdressed, before becoming increasingly unhinged as her seeming 'quest' is revealed, and the effect it has on her psyche studied in detail.

    Although neither the director nor Adjani's co-stars (except perhaps a young Francois Cluzet, who would much more recently do Tell No One) were particularly catapulted into the limelight after this, the film remains memorable largely as a result of Adjani's performance, and it must have helped working with a script from the so-called "Graham Greene of France", Sebastien Japrisot (more recently celebrated in Audrey Tautou's 2004 film, A Very Long Engagement). Certainly there's something intoxicating about the One Deadly Summer universe, drawing you in with a particularly seductive sheen, capturing your interest with its Count of Monte Cristo-esque vibes, and then smashing all residual expectations with some serious Betty Blue psycho-drama.

    One Deadly Summer Blu-ray Picture

    One Deadly Summer (1983) One Deadly Summer Blu-ray Picture
    Cult Films afford the 1983 psycho-drama One Deadly Summer an impressive UK Blu-ray bow, delivered on a Region B-locked disc complete with a commendable 2K scan and restoration for its 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition presentation, framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.66:1 widescreen.

    A commendable 2K scan and restoration

    The 36-year old French film is unquestionably soft - although it should be noted that it feels largely naturally so - but there's still plenty of gorgeous detail and texture pulled out of the new scan, affording some impressive shots, mostly on close-ups but also with a few broader vistas enjoying the added nuances. There's a noticeable sheen of suitably filmic grain which pervades the piece and that, coupled with the inherently soft style, may well put off those who are used to new productions in 4K with Dolby Vision but, for an '83 French drama which relies heavily on the charms of an underdressed Isabella Adjani, it appears completely faithful to the original intentions of the piece. The colour scheme has been revamped, and given a little added oomph, but still relies heavily on pastels over primaries (other than a few striking, often red, clothing choices), and black levels get a little murky around the edges, but with an extremely clean and largely immaculately restored scan, this is likely the best shape we will ever see One Deadly Summer in, and it's more than good enough.

    One Deadly Summer Blu-ray Sound

    One Deadly Summer (1983) One Deadly Summer Blu-ray Sound
    A very good aural accompaniment

    For the accompanying audio we get a Lossless Linear PCM 2.0 French mono track which also does the job, and does it well, feeling like it's been restored in order to provide a strong rendition of the original audio components, but without any noticeable ageing defects, with hiss or crackle non-existent, and no tinniness at the higher end. Dialogue is rendered clearly and coherently throughout, with the inherently front-dominated track afforded a few nominal, natural, atmospheric effects - from car noises, including the backfiring car that they can barely get to work, to more nuanced elements like welding equipment, with plenty of busy cafes and busting parties to keep the track engaging. The accompanying score is well-rendered too, rounding out a very good aural accompaniment.

    One Deadly Summer Blu-ray Extras

    One Deadly Summer (1983) One Deadly Summer Blu-ray Extras
    Just a couple of extras, but they are pretty hefty

    Just a couple of extras, but they are pretty hefty, with a 45 minute documentary on the acclaimed screenwriter who wrote this, and a half-hour interview with the director, as well as a few trailers on disc start-up.

    One Deadly Summer Blu-ray Verdict

    One Deadly Summer (1983) One Deadly Summer Blu-ray Verdict
    There's something intoxicating about the universe, capturing your interest with Count of Monte Cristo vibes, and smashing expectations with Betty Blue psycho-drama

    Cult Films' Region B-locked UK Blu-ray release of One Deadly Summer affords it an impressive bow, complete with a brand new 2K scan, cleaned up audio, and a couple of lengthy extras, rounding out a great package for fans of the film.

    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £18.99

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