Johnny Stecchino (1991)

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Released 29-Aug-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Trailer-Mediterraneo
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1991
Running Time 115:52
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Roberto Benigni
Studio
Distributor

Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Roberto Benigni
Nicoletta Braschi
Paolo Bonacelli
Franco Volpi
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Evan Lurie


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This film uses a familiar plot device: the bumbling, well-meaning man who just happens to be a look-alike to someone important, in this case a gangster. How many times have we seen that one? It was even the plot to the dreadful sequel Alvin Purple Rides Again.

    Dante (Roberto Benigni) is a bumbling, well-meaning man. We meet him at a party where he is ignored by everybody. As the party breaks up, everyone takes off, leaving him behind. Then he is nearly run down by a woman in a sports car who introduces herself as Maria (Nicoletta Braschi), who faints in his arms, and who then drives off. She comes looking for him later, and eventually persuades him to come to Palermo to her house. Unbeknownst to him, she is acting to protect her husband, the infamous gangster Johnny Stecchino (Benigni) who has turned state's evidence and grassed on a whole lot of other gangsters, most of whom have been arrested. Unfortunately for Johnny, the most dangerous, Cozzamara (Ignazio Pappalardo), is still at large, and planning to kill Johnny. The plan is that he kills Dante instead, and then Maria and Johnny can be off to Buenos Aires. Things don't go quite according to plan...

    This is something of a slapstick film. The plot could have worked with, say, the Marx Brothers, or Peter Sellers, in the film. Roberto Benigni tries hard, but fails to make this a successful comedy.

    Why doesn't it work? Perhaps because it doesn't go far enough in some places, but goes too far in others. Perhaps the worst example is the scene in which Dante pulls up a woman's skirt — sure, he's not very bright, but there's no way that his character would think that such an action is appropriate — it's simply not believable. I think the fact that Roberto Benigni co-wrote, directed, and starred led to him getting a bit indulgent at times.

    Roberto Benigni has made other films. Perhaps we'd be better off with a different one.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 (I believe this is the original aspect ratio), with 16x9 enhancement. This means that there are slim black bars on both sides of the picture, but part of them may disappear into the overscan of your display device, so I doubt you'll be too perturbed by them.

    The image is soft all the time, but especially in long shots. There's what may be some film grain, but it's fairly mild, and may well be compression. Shadow detail is reasonable, but not a big issue as most of the shots are evenly lit. There's no low-level noise.

    Colour is perfectly reasonable, with some minor variation between indoors and out, but looking fine. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are plenty of film artefacts, varying in size between small and ignorable and larger and less acceptable - have a look at 32:48 for a white blob, and 41:43 for a black one, for example. Considering that this film was only made in 1991, this is fairly poor.

    There is quite a bit of aliasing, even with the softness of the image, particularly on the grille of Maria's sports car. There's no serious moiré. There is no visible edge enhancement. There's some minor mosquito noise, but no MPEG artefacts.

    The only subtitles are in English, and they are burned into the image, so even if you understand Italian you cannot dismiss them. I don't understand Italian, so I can't judge their accuracy, but they seem well-enough timed to the dialogue, and they are quite readable.

    The disc is single-sided and single layered, so there is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The soundtrack is provided in just one language, the original Italian. It is Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround encoded, at 224kbps.

    The dialogue is clear enough, and probably comprehensible to Italian speakers, even with the (light) noise in the background. There are a few audio sync problems, but they are quite minor.

    Evan Lurie gets the credit for the score. It's not bad, although it is a bit clichéd.

    There is nothing for the surrounds or subwoofer to do with this soundtrack. There's not even much in the way of stereo panning.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu is a single static frame and silent. It offers the ability to play the movie, or a trailer — nothing more.

Trailer (1:49)

    This isn't even a trailer for this film: it is for Mediterraneo.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This film does not appear to be released in Region 1. There is a Region 2 disc, which has both German and English soundtracks (but no Italian).

    The Region 4 disc at least offers the original language, but is missing the English soundtrack. Not a simple choice, but given that this is not a very good film, perhaps the best choice is to buy neither.

Summary

    A fairly poor film given a fairly poor bare-bones DVD presentation. Force Video have really pulled out no stops in the making of this disc.

    The video quality is adequate.

    The audio quality is adequate if you want the original language, but it's sad to know that there is an English soundtrack available elsewhere...

    There are no extras pertaining to the film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Saturday, March 20, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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