Monday, 25 December 2006

Naked Girl Killed in Park / Ragazza tutta nuda assassinata nel parco

It is a great exploitation title. The problem, as any fan knows, is that it is usually a lot more difficult to make a film that lives up to it. And, alas, Naked Girl Killed in Park / Ragazza tutta nuda assassinata nel parco seems to be one of those cases in point.

While director Al Brescia does deliver what the title promises – though not, it should be emphasised, the actual crime – along with memorable opening and closing sequences set against the backdrop of an amusement park, the majority of what happens in between is of the “old when old was young” varietal. Thus we have a mute muscular handyman upon whom suspicion inevitably falls (cf. Amuck!) and a beautiful but neurotic young woman with a heart condition (cf. Les Diaboliques).

The Italian-Spanish co-production opens with wealthy businessman Johan Wallenberger emerging dead from a ghost train. Two questions soon emerge: what was he doing there and was his death mere hours after taking out a one-million dollar insurance policy something more than coincidence.

Hoping that the latter question will answer the former by way of proving foul play, the insurance company calls in cocky young investigator Chris Buyer, essayed by genre regular Robert Hoffmann. Introduced to one of Wallenberger's daughters at a party – she has just, not coincidentally, been the recipient of a threatening telephone call and is then terrorised in her house – the investigation soon leads the pair to the family home, complete with another, equally beautiful and suspect sister and the not unattractive, recently widowed mother.

The case gets increasingly complicated from here on in, with blackmail, intrigues and double-crosses leading to a few instances of killing as the ultimate simplification of life…

Some subjective camera stalking and a few moments of gratuitous nudity and violence are present, but come across as more a concession to 1970s tastes in what is otherwise an old-fashioned thriller. It is these same touches, however, that are also of interest for the way they again suggest the missing-link qualities of the giallo not just in relation to the American slasher film but also to the later development of the erotic thriller.

3 comments:

stephen grimes said...

I really enjoyed this but then again i've enjoyed just about all of the Brescia movies i've seen esp.his Merola/Ippolito crime series.
Btw this blog just gets better and better,you've got great taste when it comes to the more obscure Italian movies.Keep up the good work,this is fast becoming my favorite site.

K H Brown said...

Thanks again Stephen - most of these reviews are old ones that I'm gradually going to go over and repost here. I thought I'd go with some of the more obscure ones to begin with.

One thing that probably affected my appreciation of Naked Girl Killed in Park was the extremely poor panning and scanning on the copy I viewed, which had a tendency to cut off the characters on the edges of the frame in favour of an often empty middle, so I wouldn't be surprised if Brescia's use of widescreen was quite good.

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