Cult Epics has been the patron saint of Tinto Brass’ post–Caligula work in the United States, giv­ing qual­i­ty DVD and blu-ray releas­es to his films from The Key on down the line.  Their lat­est achieve­ment in this are­na is Tinto Brass: Maestro Of Erotic Cinema, a lav­ish 4 blu-ray/1 DVD set that col­lects the four films he made between 2000 and 2006 in high-def­i­n­i­tion style.  It includes all the extras from the ini­tial releas­es of the­se titles plus a weighty pair of new extras that the Brass afi­cionado will appre­ci­ate.

TB-MOEC-bluIf you’re curi­ous about the films this set con­tains — Cheeky!, Private, Monamour and Black Angel — here are direct links to reviews for each film:

To read the Schlockmania review for Cheeky!, click here.

To read the Schlockmania review for Private, click here.

To read the Schlockmania review for Monamour, click here.

To read the Schlockmania review for Black Angel, click here.

For starters, every­thing here has a strong 1.78:1 trans­fer: though this slight­ly crops Brass’ pre­ferred 1.66:1 ratio, it doesn’t inter­fere too bad­ly with the com­po­si­tions.  Brass shot on HD cam­eras a lot dur­ing this era and it trans­fers well, offer­ing plen­ty of col­or and sharp detail (even when he delib­er­ate­ly blows out the imagery in some sequences).  Italian tracks are offered for all films as well as English mix­es wherever avail­able — for exam­ple, Black Angel is a film that didn’t have an English dub. The sound­tracks are lossy instead of loss­less but the results sound decent, with no dis­tor­tion and clear mix­es through­out.

Cheeky-posAll extras from the orig­i­nal blu-ray releas­es of the­se titles are includ­ed.  Each film has a trail­er and at least one vin­tage mak­ing-of fea­turet­te.  Don’t con­fuse those fea­turettes for elec­tron­ic press kit-style throw­aways: each is vital view­ing for the Brass fan because you get plen­ty of qual­i­ty on-set footage, both clothed and unclothed, plus the mae­stro talk­ing at length about each film and his the­o­ries on sex, rela­tion­ships and mak­ing erot­i­ca.

Unique to this set are two extras.  The first is a bonus DVD fea­tur­ing a 90 min­ute inter­view with Brass, filmed and edit­ed by Cult Epics’ head hon­cho, Nico B.  The direc­tor talks about his career from his ear­ly days as an assis­tant direc­tor to Roberto Rossellini all the way to Black Angel.  Plenty of clips are includ­ed to provide visu­al vari­a­tion, includ­ing some fas­ci­nat­ing looks at his exper­i­men­tal ear­ly work.

BlackAng-posHe doesn’t talk much about Salon Kitty or Caligula, which might dis­ap­point some fans, but you get plen­ty of inter­est­ing thoughts on every­thing from The Key on down.  The direc­tor gets deep into his phi­los­o­phy of sex plus some inter­est­ing detours here and there (a high­light arrives when he express­es his thoughts on his con­flict­ed rela­tion­ship with the fem­i­nist move­ment).  It’s a must-watch for any­one with a seri­ous inter­est in the Brass fil­mog­ra­phy.

The oth­er new extra is a full-col­or, 39-page book­let that Nico B. put togeth­er for this set.  It includes a print inter­view with Brass that draws from the same source as the bonus DVD: this is a good as the maestro’s thick­ly-accent­ed English can be a lit­tle tough to fol­low at times and this print ver­sion pro­vides a nice back­up resource for those moments.  The book­let also includes a com­pre­hen­sive fil­mog­ra­phy with com­ments on each film from Nico B.  All in all, this book­let shapes up nice­ly as a pock­et resource for the director’s fans.

Overall, Cult Epics’ Tinto Brass: Maestro Of Erotic Cinema is a treat for the director’s fans and a nice way for any curi­ous erot­i­ca fans to delve into the director’s lat­ter-day work.  It’s good enough to make one hope that Cult Epics will give a sim­i­lar high-def box set treat­ment to the ear­lier Brass films in their cat­a­log.