Search - Portrait in Terror on DVD

Portrait in Terror
Portrait in Terror
Actor: William Campbell
Director: Michael Roy
Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2005     1hr 30min

No Description Available No Track Information Available Media Type: DVD Artist: CAMPBELL/MAGEE Title: PORTRAIT IN TERROR Street Release Date: 04/26/2005


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Movie Details

Actor: William Campbell
Director: Michael Roy
Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Alpha Video
Format: DVD - Black and White - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/26/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

K. G. Godwin | Winnipeg, Canada | 05/15/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)

"There's usually a reason for a DVD being this cheap: it's a public domain title mastered from a really old, really poor quality VHS transfer. I can't comment on the value of the movie itself because the disk is so unwatchable I couldn't sit through the whole thing. I'd have given it zero stars except Amazon requires at least one."
Portrait in Tedium
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 10/25/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)

"While watching the Yugoslavian produced feature Portrait in Terror (1965) I had the strangest sense that I'd seen it before, even though I was pretty certain I hadn't...after a little research I discovered I had seen the film before, in a slightly different (i.e. confusing) form as scenes from Portrait in Terror were used (including the ending) to make another film, a Roger Corman produced mish mash of a feature titled Blood Bath (1966), which was later edited for television and released under the title Track of the Vampire. Now get this...apparently Portrait in Terror was originally released in 1963, under the title Operacija Ticijan aka Operation Titian, directed by someone named Rados Novakovic and co-produced by none other than Roger Corman. Appearing in the film(s) is William Campbell (Dementia 13, Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte) and Patrick Magee (A Clockwork Orange, Asylum), the latter making the experience somewhat bearable.

William Campbell plays a character named Tony, an obsessive artist who has a problem with the booze (he can't get enough!). When not painting crummy portraits, Tony works as an assistant curator to a museum in an effort to make ends meet. Also, it seems, Tony is a descendant of an infamous nut job named Sordi, who, as legend has it, poisoned his bride on their wedding night upon learning of her adulterous ways. Being all distraught and such he then locked himself away in his room with her portrait, painted by an artist named Titian, Sordi's tears distorting the painting or some such nonsense. Anyway, seems Tony's got the hots for a woman he used to be involved with named Vera, whose since taken up with a reporter, much to Tony's consternation. At some point Patrick Magee makes the scene as a character named Professor Mauricio Zaroni, an American hitman and art thief, hired by a mysterious source to steal the Titian painting mentioned before, which happens to be in the possession of a reclusive old man who also happens to be Tony's uncle. A bunch of stuff happens, including a few murders, and the painting is stolen, but it turns out to be a cheap reproduction (D'oh!). The police get involved (Vera's brother happens to be the lead investigator), Zaroni gets his groove on with a local stripper (who then later steals the painting which he stole from the old man), and Tony skulks around after Vera. There's a particularly lengthy scuba diving sequence, and the police follow up on a number of clues (most of which are practically dropped into their laps), all leading up to a fairly climatic finale atop a bell tower.

While the film is generally dreck, it does have a couple of things going for it, namely the fact it was shot in the Yugoslavian coastal town of Dubrovnik, located on the Adriatic Sea, which provides a lot of wonderful, old world settings, and the fact it has a young Patrick Magee, whose character was just a lot of fun to watch. The title Portrait of Terror is fairly misleading as it puts the notion out there that this is a horror film, perhaps involving some supernatural elements, but in reality it's a giallo type crime drama with a couple of not so horrific elements. The one aspect that hurts this feature the most, in my opinion, is the fact it's confusing as hell and the focus seems all over the place (whoever said a viable and cohesive plot was a necessity in making a film?). There's various characters presented who would appear integral to the story, but then they disappear for long periods of time and then do not reappear until much later in the film. There are also a number of times where the authorities, while investigating the murders, make wildly initiative leaps based on so very little information or evidence. There are some fun bits and pieces sprinkled throughout, mostly involving Patrick Magee's character. There's a great bit at the beginning with him in an outdoor dinner club, one that features a stripper in its floorshow, and then a little later on as his character breaks into the old man's house to steal the painting, and has to deal with not only the old timer but also his dog. Later on someone does get jiggy with a spear gun, but it's more or less alluded to, and not actually shown. As far as the rest, well, it's more or less a strain to sit through, especially given the quality of the picture, which I'll address later. In terms of the mystery elements, at some point I gave up trying to apply any logical rationale given the ridiculousness of certain revelations. It's amazing how easily you can glide through a film like this once you shut down the rational side of your brain. I will say this, for as confusing as this film seemed at times, it still made a lot more sense than Blood Bath or Track of the Vampire.

As far as the quality of the picture on this Alpha Video DVD release, it's pretty rotten throughout (big surprise). As the opening credits roll, we find ourselves watching something titled `ortrait in Terro', indicating perhaps the picture, presented in fullscreen aspect ratio, has been seriously cropped from its original format. Not only that but the images are fuzzy, murky, and marred with defects. I know Alpha Video specializes in releasing movies that have fallen into the public domain (i.e. the copyrights have expired) onto DVD, but it seems sometimes they go out of their way to obtain the worst possible source material, in terms of picture quality. I will say the audio comes off slightly better, as I could hear good deal more of the dialogue than expected. As far as extras there's the usual display of Alpha Video DVD covers, along with a handful of previews for some independent films of varying quality. Another thing, I noticed at the end of the film an Alpha Video watermark appears on the lower, right-hand corner...was there really such a concern someone would dupe this DVD, especially given the quality? Even if someone did the film is still in the public domain, so it's not like Alpha owns any exclusive rights to the feature (as far as I know)...whatever...


By the way, some sources have stated a young Francis Ford Coppola (Finian's Rainbow, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now) worked as a dialogue coach on this film...
Part international intrigue, part mystery, part slasher.
Patrick W. Crabtree | Lucasville, OH USA | 12/14/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"It's difficult to get a grip on what this movie is all about by simply watching it so I'll tell you. It's all about a nutcase killer ("Tony", played by William Campbell) whose primary goal is to steal an artwork... a valuable painting.

The film begins with Patrick McGee roughing up some sailors at a night-time beer garden, McGee playing a sort of low-end James Bond-type character, and from there, somebody is always getting shot, shot at, impaled with a speargun, etc. There is a lot of, "Let's go over here. Now's let's run over there. Now let's run back over here," etceteras, and so on. One does get to see (in black and white, of course) some interesting semi-Mediterranean (ancient urban) scenery. On this particular DVD, however, you also lose a lot of the scenery because the movie was originally shot in letterbox format and now, the left and right sides of the film are chopped off as you can tell in the opening credits where it cuts off the names... so this is a poor print.

One thing I noticed right off is that director Roger Corman hijacked part of the filmscore from "Dementia 13" (a FAR superior film which also stars Campbell and McGee) to use in this movie.

I'm a huge Bill Campbell fan and I've always liked McGee too so I'm very graciously awarding this one three stars. It might have been a good cult entry had it been a bit more comprehensible and I wouldn't mind watching it again if I could see a print in the original letterbox format.

But for the average movie viewer, I regret that I have to recommend that you skip this version of the film and go directly to "Dementia 13" which is a very good flick, by the same director and featuring the same main stars."