Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Capsule reviews

Via a DVD trade - hi Eugene! - I recently got another batch of obscure gialli. They're the kind of things I don't necessarily feel warrant full reviews, but are worth giving a few summary notes on:

...a tutte le auto della polizia / The Maniac Responsible

A schoolgirl from a good family goes missing and then turns up dead, a bullet in her head. The police investigation soon uncovers a web of intrigue involving men in high places, while the killer ruthlessly moves to cover his tracks.

Another giallo-poliziotto schoolgirls-in-peril entry along the lines of Dallamano's trilogy, with that same combination of political critique and awkward / hypocritical approach to its subject matter, condemning sexual exploitation whilst parading young women in various states of undress before us with that familiar attraction / repulsion dynamic resulting.

The cast isn't as good as What Have You Done to Your Daughters, however, with Antonio Sabato - an actor who I must confess to not particularly liking, however - no match for Mario Adorf and Luciana Paluzzi pretty dropping out of the action halfway through, her eye-candy function evidently fulfilled.

Enrico Mario Salerno is good as always, while Mario Caiano's direction is typically effective.

Coriolano Gori's soundtrack relies overmuch on one theme. This wouldn't be so bad if it was good, but while the bass and percussion certainly provide it with a Cipriani-style propulsion, the synthesiser noodling atop this foundation is uninspired and just sounds cheap, like the worst of Marcello Giombini.

La Lunga spiaggia fredda / Lonely Violent Beach

Vacationing at an isolated beach house, Jane and Harry are terrorised by a gang of four drifters, led by the troubled Freddie. Freddie rapes Jane - sound like an X-certificate version of Rainbow! - with predictably dubious consequences as she then falls for him, impelling Harry to prove that he is a man...

Written and directed by Ernesto Gastaldi, presumably as a vehicle for his wife Maya Maryl to showcase her dramatic skills, this is an interesting if not entirely successful combination of social comment on the failure of the 1960s and revenge / territorialist dynamics to emerge as something reminiscent of another Italian take on Last House on the Left with elements of Straw Dogs and The Wild One - what is Robert Hoffmann's Freddie, evidently from a good family, rebelling against but everything and nothing? - thrown into the mix.

The visual style of the film is more Leone than Peckinpah, however, with the initial showdown between Harry and the gang is presented as a parody of a corrida, all rhythmic cross-cutting, close-ups and rising testosterone levels.

Performances, direction and technical aspects are fine, while the score - Stelvio Cipriani with Nora Orlandi vocalism, no less - further helps elevate the piece above its obviously low budget.

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