Blu-Ray Review: The Fifth Cord

Making a film is often a huge undertaking involving hundreds of different people carrying out a vast array of roles. Whilst the tendency is to focus on directors and actors, without everyone pulling in the same direction and being on top of their game, films won’t reach their full potential. A pivotal role is that of the cinematographer. They set the style and tone on a production. Mistakes here can ruin even the best script. Vittorio Storaro was one of the best of his generation. Winning Oscars for Apocalypse Now, Reds and The Last Emperor. In 1971 he did some brilliant work on Luigi Bazzoni’s The Fifth Cord.

On his way home from a New Year’s Eve party a man is brutally assaulted and barely escapes with his life. Andrea (Franco Nero), a washed-up and alcoholic reporter is assigned to cover the case. When the body count rapidly rises, it’s clear that there’s a maniac on the loose. As he’s connected to all the victims, Andrea becomes the prime suspect. He must unmask the killer before the police pin the murders on him.

Spurred-on by the popularity of giallo at the time, Bazzoni has created a worthy entry into the sub-genre. At times this vision can feel muddled and unfocused. It’s the cinematography of Storaro which really makes it stand out. He has created some wonderful shots and imagery, keeping the anticipation high for what’s yet to come. Whilst the acting sometimes leaves a lot to be desired and the plot of The Fifth Cord feels slightly derivative, it’s a beautiful piece of aesthetic film-making.


  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks
  • English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary by critic Travis Crawford
  • Lines and Shadows, a new video essay on the film’s use of architecture and space by critic Rachael Nisbet
  • Whisky Giallore, a new video interview with author and critic Michael Mackenzie
  • Black Day for Nero, a new video interview with actor Franco Nero
  • The Rhythm Section, a new video interview with film editor Eugenio Alabiso
  • Rare, previously unseen deleted sequence, restored from the original negative
  • Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Haunt Love

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Kat Ellinger and Peter Jilmstad

The Fifth Cord is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video on 4 February.

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