Thursday, 7 May 2009

Due gattoni a nove code... e mezza ad Amsterdam

In its own way this 1972 Franco and Ciccio vehicle is an important film. For regardless of what you think of its merits as a film it indicates a major difference between the 1960s and 1970s gialli epitomised by Bava and Argento respectively.

This is that the latter was sufficiently popular at the box-office to inspire the two comedians to consider it worth spoofing in the same way as the spaghetti western, with the likes of For a Fist in the Eye and The Two Sergeants of General Custer.

If Custer was intriguingly also known by the Bava-esque alternate title Two Idiots at Fort Alamo in Spain, the difference is further indicated by the presence of Luciano Pigozzi / Alan Collins, the designer Cesare in Blood and Black Lace, as a hit-man in Due gattoni a nove code... e mezza ad Amsterdam.

Yet, despite this Animal Trilogy referencing title, the giallo that the film most resembles is another by director Osvaldo Civriani, namely the same year’s The Devil Has Seven Faces. Both films are set in the Netherlands, have plots involving stolen jewels and a showdown in a windmill, although the convoluted plot of Argento’s film seems alluded to in the final summing up that leaves our two amateur investigators no wiser than before.

Other giallo elements that feature include the photographic clue, with the two men, aspiring paparazzi, happening to thereby also witness a murder; a warehouse replete with dummies; prominent uses of the colour yellow, such as Franco’s jumper, and the two men’s return home by jumbo jet at the end.

It could also be said, however, Franco and Ciccio really represented a filone in their own right. In this regard everything we’d expect is there, with that distinctive mix of comedy styles that you either get or don’t and, if so, then either acknowledge that this is because you are not the intended audience for it, or take an snobbish, elitist position towards another’s cultural practices as having no value.

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