|Annette Stroyberg Vadim as Carmilla Karnstein in BLOOD AND ROSES.|
Roger Vadim's BLOOD AND ROSES (... Et mourir de plaisir, 1961) was one of the most widely-seen European horror imports of its period, its much ballyhooed lesbian elements (which are very slight) and Vadim's reputation for introducing Brigitte Bardot to the Western world helping it to achieve the unthinkable: major studio distribution (Paramount) as well as mainstream crossover. (Mel Ferrer appeared on THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JOHNNY CARSON to promote it!) However, since then, it has become one of the most difficult Euro horror titles to find, particularly in its original Technirama 2.35:1 screen ratio. To date, the only US release of the film in the entire home video era has been its brief VHS distribution on Paramount's budget label, cropped and available only at the four-hour LP speed.
However, the film was recently issued on DVD for the first time anywhere in Germany under the title ... Und vor Lust zu Sterben by the German label Big Ben Movies. Here is a representative sampling of screen grabs to tide you over till VIDEO WATCHDOG tackles its in-depth review of the title.
As you can see, the color is too hot, the color correction is variable (showing some green-yellow bias) and there is some vertical banding noise, and certain shots are much too dark - for instance, this subjective shot of the chateau's kitchen server Lisa, which I offer here first as it appears in the feature presentation and second as it appears in the German trailer also included:
So the presentation is far from ideal - yet it's the closest the film has come to a properly framed official release in more than 50 years. The disc offers a choice of French or German audio - both crackly - with optional English or German subtitles.
We obtained our copy from Diabolik DVD, who sold out their initial shipment of this 1200-copy limited edition the day they received it.