Review: The Iron Rose (Blu-ray)

Kino/Redemption's #3 spine number under their "Cinema of Jean Rollin" banner, The Iron Rose, get's a first class Blu-ray disc!

  • Director: Jean Rollin
  • Starring: Francoise Pascal
  • Year: 1973
  • Runtime: 86 Minutes
  • Company: Kino / Redemption
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Discs: 1 - 50GB
  • Video: 1.66:1 - 1080p - AVC
  • Audio: English & French LPCM 2.0
  • Region: A
  • Released: 1/24/2012

Following a bizarre wedding reception party where a pair of love smitten strangers meet, they venture out on a date together that concludes at a sprawling gated cemetery. They frolic around until they happen upon an underground tomb where they kill time by engaging in some aggressive lip locking. They soon realize that the sun has set and emerge out into the black of night to find an exit. Once it becomes clear they are lost, panic & fear begins to set in as the cemetery grows increasingly spooky, leading the couple to turn on each other & transgress into something sinister.
The Iron Rose (La Rose de Fer) sports all of Rollin's famous trademarks but deters far from his previous works fixated on the supernatural & mythological, offering a love story that spirals into a labyrinth of dread. It's no secret that Rollin is infatuated with cemeteries & modelesque beauties, both of which are present here in spades. Francoise Pascal's mesmerizing performance is a shining highpoint and stands alone amongst the roster of women in Rollin's legacy. What once starts out as a carefree debutante slowly but surely morphs into a possessed otherworldly being, which is assuredly haunting
The location used is downright creepy and highly effective, you legitimately feel as trapped in the cemetery as the characters on screen are. It's endless rows and rows of crosses, headstones & religious monuments resemble a never ending hell-maze that's eerily dead silent and filled with choking amounts of despair. As expected The Iron Rose comes with it's own brand of social commentary and thick as fog atmosphere, accompanied with a lucid dream like quality that ranks among the best of the genre and it's associated classics

  • Video
Kino ushers in the Blu-ray debut of Rollin's The Iron Rose thanks to their partnering with Redemption, with a 1.66:1 framed, 1080p transfer that's simply luscious. Colors are vivid and lush with healthy black levels that accommodate the film's nighttime scenes accurately. Expectedly, specks & pops appear every so often throughout. This is hands down a rich looking HD transfer that will satisfy.
  • Audio
As with all their Jean Rollin releases so far, Kino has provided an English & French LPCM 2.0 track. Hiss & cracks are prevalent but it's not in the least bit distracting. The French mix (with optional English subtitles) is crystal with the dialogue & score coming through quite clear.

Bonus Features
  • Introduction - Jean Rollin
An extremely short intro from Rollin himself in 1998, waxing parallels between the themes of The Iron Rose and his other films.
  • Interview - Francoise Pascal
This 20 minute interview with lady Pascal is a real treat. Francoise reminisces quite fondly of Rollin and her time on the set and comes off as an extremely lovely person. Grateful this was included on the disc and comes highly recommended to watch after viewing the film.
  • Interview - Natalie Perry
Natalie Perry became a frequent collaborator of Rollin's, starring in and even assistant directing on many of his films. Here Perry again waxes her love of Rollin, what it was like working with him and informative behind the scenes tidbits.
  • English Opening Title Sequence
As the title says, albeit with a toned down color scheme and titled The Crystal Rose.
  • Booklet
A 20 page booklet is included from Video Watchdog editor and cinemaphile Tim Lucas offers a smorgasbord of information about Jean Rollin's filmography and his legacy. Lucas's knowledge of foreign cinema is vast, informative and appreciative which makes this a highly valuable extra. This booklet is included with all currently available Jean Rolling titles from Kino, which might be seen as a letdown but the wealth of info on Rollin's filmography will have you re-reading it each time you crack open the case. Also included is a short excerpt from Redemption founder Nigel Wingrove gushing his love for Rollin and his wish that the late director could have seen these releases before he passed.
  • Trailers
Original trailers for Jean Rollin's films are included in their native French language, such as The Nude Vampire, Shiver of the Vampire, Fascination, The Iron Rose and Lips of Blood.