Monday, 25 December 2006


Following the disappearance of her friend Sally Reece – and, as we soon learn lover; got to love that characteristic genre double standard with regard to male and female homosexuality – Greta Franklin (Barbara Bouchet) takes a job as a typist for decadent author Richard Stuart (Farley Granger) and residence in his Venice mansion.

After being drugged and seduced by Richard's partner Eleonora (Rosalba Neri) Greta is invited to one of the couples swinging parties where a porn film featuring Sally as Little Red Riding Hood is only one of the entertainments for the bourgeois couple's party.

But soon it seems that the Stuarts are getting wise to Greta's investigations: The plot of Richard's latest novel presents a covert warning to the girl who would know too much, while an invitation to go duck hunting in the marshes around the mansion almost sees Greta accidentally shot and then nearly sucked under the swamp…

Also known by the more exploitative titles Hot Bed of Sex in the UK and Leather and Whips in the USA, along with the more honest Alla Ricerca del piacere (i.e. In Search / Pursuit of Pleaure) this 1971 giallo from occasional genre contributor Silvio Amadeo is nothing if not sleazy fun.

If, however, one can look beyond the pulchritude on display – a task that is difficult when both the female leads look to have nearly missed when throwing on those outfits, which they also tend to change and / or remove at any opportunity – there are other reasons to appreciate the film.

In particular Amadeo exhibits a good sense of how to build suspense and mystery, smartly exploiting the ambiguities of the image and the intertextual associations of Farley Granger via Hitchcock's Rope and Strangers on a Train through some telling remarks about "the perfect crime".

Unfortunately a pan-and-scan presentation and poor source materials - the real crime here, we might say - means that this release from Eurovista is less easy to recommend, despite some nice supplemental materials in the form of short interviews with the two female stars and a photo gallery.

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