Wednesday, 30 September 2009

A.A.A. Massaggiatrice bella presenza offresi... / A.A.A. Masseuse, Good-Looking, Offers Her Services

Given the popularity of the giallo in the early 1970s it is no surprise that Demofilo Fidani, "the Ed Wood of the spaghetti western" should have contributed to the filone through, albeit under his own name rather than his preferred SW pseudonyms of Dick Spitfire and Miles Deem.

What is more surprising is that A.A.A. Masseuse, Good-Looking, Offers Her Services is not completely and utterly hopeless.

This is not to say, however, that it's by any means a good film. Rather, it is one of those lower echelon gialli in which the poetic/prosaic set-piece/narrative distinction discussed by Mikel Koven is in evidence.

The story, which sees the clients of the titular masseuse, played by a young Paola Senatore, falling prey to a killer, does not seem to be up to much.

The marigold killer?

Often as not, it functions as a justification to have Senatore's character, Cristina, parading around in various states of undress, although fans of her later work should note that there's no full-frontal nudity nor anything beyond softcore simulation. Critics of giallo exploitation may also care to note that the role of the voyeur/spectator is also implicated here prior to his punishment in our stead.

You are the voyeur

At other times AAA.... is talky, focusing upon Cristina's relationships with her sleazy boyfriend - seeing as he's played by Howard Ross, sleaze tends to come with the territory - her flatmate, confusingly named Paola (and played by Fidani's daughter), Paola's boyfriend and Christina's respectability-obsessed and estranged father.

Dig that fur coat / white roll neck ensemble Ross is wearing

The investigation of the clients' murders is left mostly to the police which, coupled with the fact that Cristina herself does not appear to be in too much danger in the Edwige Fenech manner nor is especially proactive in the Susan Scott manner, results in a pretty slow moving and unengaging movie at times.

Mack Sigis Porter rocks!

On the plus side AAA... has plenty of tasteful 70s costumes and sets (both credited to Fidani's wife, Mila Vitelli Valenza, who also had a hand in the writing in that keep it in the family / economical way) along with a good sleaze/suspense score from Lallo Gori, topped off with a closing track by the immediately recognisable Mack Sigis Porter ensemble.

Unusual blocking

You can also see that Fidani was at least trying not only in the set pieces, most notably the unmasking of the killer, but also in some of his compositions and use of yellow objects. This said, the decision to outfit the otherwise classically black clad, straight-razor wielding killer with yellow gloves comes across as a step too far, unless the intention was to connote a kitchen-sink domesticity to them...


Elliot James said...

Another giallo I can't find.

The killer in What Are Those Strange Drops of Blood On Jennifer's Body also wore unusual, brownish rubber gloves if memory serves.

Stephen Grimes said...

There's also a very nice Italian tv broadcast of this which is from the same master but looks a little better,unfortunately this master is cut.