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Giallo

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Mr. Arkadin
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Re: Giallo

Postby Mr. Arkadin » October 1st, 2012, 8:03 pm

MR. ARKADIN wrote:
I was also dismayed to discover that Deep Red (1975) was presented in the edited English version, which omitted much of the "deeper" (no pun intended) aspects of the film. In particular, there is one scene in the deserted square between Marc and Carlo where Argento has them parting ways and then uses the widescreen process to establish them on the far ends of the screen (at the outer edges of the square) debating over a chasm of empty space about perception, relativism, and truth, themes which are at the heart of the movie.



CineMaven wrote:Mr. A., I seem to remember that scene being in tact; both characters speaking across the piazza. To be honest, I was grateful for hearing the movie in English which helped me watch things better.


The Blue Underground complete print of Deep Red is in English, but the added parts are Italian, so you have people just shift languages in the middle of scenes, which is how most of the film was edited. Many of the scenes are there, but they have been trimmed. I think my favorite line of the movie comes in the scene above where Carlo shouts to Marc "You think you're telling the truth, but in fact... you're telling only your version of the truth."

Incidentally, did you notice the Sunset Blvd. homage when Marc meets Carlo's mother at her apartment for the first time? That's Clara Calamai from Visconti's Ossessione (1943) and the photos are from her acting career! So is Deep Red an expanded chapter from the Wilder and Aldrich (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? [1962]) book of deranged stardom?

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Re: Giallo

Postby CineMaven » October 2nd, 2012, 10:56 am

It's just you and me here kid. So if you don't mind, Mr. A...I'm just going to let loose and let 'er RIP!!!

GIALLO is:

* SEX / VIOLENCE
* UNAFRAID & UNAPOLOGETIC
* OPERA...GRAND OPERA


The leitmotifs I notice are abandoned mansions, soft-focused p.o.v. serial killer shots from the right side of the screen, beautiful undressed women, demonized children, breaking and entering, slow methodical investigation or -----> the hero’s journey. I don’t think I’ll be able to speak of these films in terms of themes. I’m not smart like that, and it’d probably take me several viewings to pick up on all the themes you obviously know so well. But I’ll try to speak to whatever you want, about these movies. For now mostly, this’ll just be my own general observations.

“DEEP RED”

“YOU HAVE KILLED...

Image

...AND YOU WILL KILL AGAIN!”

Image

WHAT does she see? She can't even swallow a drink of water after the vision. I can’t explain why I canNOT get that shot and line reading out of my head. Maybe because of the resolute definity with which she makes the claim. Poor girl. Poor little psychic. She has no idea how true her claim will be.

Image

Her death shocked me because it was reminiscent of “PSYCHO” in that she was the lead, she had lines, importance. And then she is brutally dispatched early on; stabbed and hatcheted and then headfirst through the window. Oooghf!! Nobody sees or hears anything in these towns? Crikey!

MR. ARKADIN wrote:Incidentally, did you notice the Sunset Blvd. homage when Marc meets Carlo's mother at her apartment for the first time? That's Clara Calamai from Visconti's Ossessione (1943) and the photos are from her acting career! So is Deep Red an expanded chapter from the Wilder and Aldrich ( Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? [1962] ) book of deranged stardom?

MAMA, UNTIL THAT DAY WHEN WE’RE TOGETHER ONCE MORE...

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Whoa!! Ya got me thar, Bub! I've never seen “Ossessione” but what’s interesting, what I like about me...my cinematic thought process, is that I did have a feeling...the “inkling” that that actress was “somebody” but I didn't know who. Hmmm, is Mama cut from the same mold as Norma Desmond and Baby Jane? No doubt. But that’s not what I picked up on initially. She did seem not a wax figure like Norma, but decayed like Baby Jane; dazed and confused ( “You’re an engineer.” “No, a pianist.” ) You know, not unlike suburban moms who suffer from that empty nest syndrome.

( DEEP ) RED HERRINGS:

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The journalist unnerved me with her busy, fluttery hands. She seemed quirky. Doesn’t quirky make you a suspect in Giallo? All that arm wrestling, Women’s Lib stuff seemed quaintly dated and I liked that. I remember that. ( Why am I thinking of "Ms. 45"? ) I suspected she was the killer grown up.

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Seeing the knife at this little girl’s feet furthered my theory that the journalist was the killer grown up. She could get access as a reporter to keep one step ahead of the cops. When she dragged Marc ( David Hemmings ) out of the burning mansion, I thought she was saving him for some more dastardly ending. I was wrong, dead wrong, but this is what I was thinking.

Perhaps you can help me here ‘cuz I got a little confused. Why was the lady in the house murdered by being drowned in a bathtub filled with scalding hot water? A fantastic scene by the way. Yes gruesome, but well done. I believed her struggle, and every time she came up out of the water her face was more and more disfigured. I didn’t notice any edits. Ghast-fully done. And the clue in the steamed mirror...brilliant!! A bit of Hitchcock when the whirly burly guy finally figures it out and starts to turn up the steam in the bathroom. Didn’t care for the jazzy score. But the scene played out brilliantly!!

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I actually recoiled in my seat when this monstrous doll came out of the closet. This is a precursor to the psychic’s teddy bear colleague coming to his end. You’ve got to get the jump on a Giallo killer; he'll use anything to disarm you. This film made all manner of children's toys sooooo sinister. ACK!! It wasn't bad enough I was scared of my younger sister's dolls that lined her bed when we were kids; seeing those shadows at night was sometime no picnic.

NOT ONLY DO DEVIL DOLLS COME OUT COME OUT OF THE CLOSET:

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Why did the plot make Carlo gay? B'cuz of what he's seen? The Norman Bates School of Psychology on Oedipal Desire states: "A boy's best friend is his mother." I like that it's not an issue nor made fun of or used as comic relief ( the curator in "The Bird With The Crystal Plumage" ) I didn't feel that being gay made him Other. ( That 'fro he had did. ) I like when Carlo says: “I always challenge myself. I always lose. I'm not you.” ( That made me think of "Written on the Wind." ) When I saw the knife at the feet of those socks & shoes, I thought it was a little girl. Who knew he'd be dressed up as Buster Brown. Giallo was not afraid to introduce folks of all lifestyles. The movie thought out loud as I did as we get near the climax. I suspected crazy Carlo. But out loud ( uhmm...in my notes ) I write: “Wait, how can it be Carlo, when we saw the raincoated killer run pass him? What the heck!!!” )

GIALLO LOVES DEMON SEEDS

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Moira made note of children in Film Noir in one of her questions to the recent guest visitor, Shannon Clute. There's something off-kilter about this little girl pictured above. Of course, there must be; she’s in a Giallo. I love how they reveal how sick she is. Her father gives her such a smack...for no good reason. ( Beast! ) And then the camera pans down to see the lizard she’s impaled. Gross. But it says it all, doesn’t it. Dad, your little girl needs help.

CLUES IN PLAIN SIGHT:

There are none so blind as those who do not see. Giallo helped me learn HOW to look at Giallo. And yet they still tricked me!!! I need a second viewing!

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GOING DOWN...LADIES LINGERIE: THE PAY-OFF

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I've been loving THE BIG PAYOFF I've seen at the end of these films I explored!!! I must say this for Giallo..for all the blood and guts and sex and blood and violence...and blood and havoc a serial killer wreak in this landscape, when it comes time for the serial killers to get their comeuppance they really go down hard. There is a harsh measure of justice for them; a descent off a cliff in a fiery car or scraping alongside jagged rocks or carted off to the looney bin.

Or sometimes they don't get caught at all.

This is my favorite shot of the whole movie and a review of the film lies underneath this shot:

Image

A cool way of not actually seeing the killer in the audience and giving it all away. Beautifully composed shot. The back of the opera house, the back of their heads. It spoke to me of Giallo as a metaphor for opera. Opera of the Grand Guignol kind.
Last edited by CineMaven on October 4th, 2012, 7:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Giallo

Postby Mr. Arkadin » October 3rd, 2012, 11:26 pm

I haven't had much time to post lately, but you gave me quite a bit to ponder.

Deep Red, along with perhaps Fulci's Lizard in a Woman's Skin (1971) and Don't Torture a Duckling (1972) is the quintessential giallo film, where everything comes together. A friend who saw this thread, asked me why The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (1969) was not one of the top four I recommended, or was not higher on the list. If you've seen both films, you know why. There are similar ideas in both works, where a man's visual perception is influenced by his worldview, thereby causing him to misinterpret what he actually sees, but Deep Red is much more ambitious, broader in scope, has better character development, and uses music in a unconventional way that had never been done previously.

Just for the record, Argento plays fair with us. If you look carefully during the initial murder sequence you can see Marta reflected in the mirror, hiding in the corridor. This is true of most gialli films--it is up to us to discover the truth (although they usually tell us who did it in the end). These are not passive films. We have to be alert and paying attention to detail.

One of the best reviews I've read of this movie is in James Marriot's book, Horror Films (which also includes Don't look Now [1973]). Marriot, who actually looked at giallo with a critical eye, sparked my interest in the genre. Some of the things I'll elaborate on came from that initial essay, others I discovered on my own.

“YOU HAVE KILLED...

Image

...AND YOU WILL KILL AGAIN!”

Image

WHAT does she see? She can't even swallow a drink of water after the vision. I can’t explain why I canNOT get that shot and line reading out of my head. Maybe because of the resolute definity with which she makes the claim. Poor girl. Poor little psychic. She has no idea how true her claim will be.

Image

Her death shocked me because it was reminiscent of “PSYCHO” in that she was the lead, she had lines, importance. And then she is brutally dispatched early on; stabbed and hatcheted and then headfirst through the window. Oooghf!! Nobody sees or hears anything in these towns? Crikey!


With the opening of Deep Red Argento notes that we depend too much on the physical and place trust in our senses, giving no weight to the soul, or spiritual perceptions. It is because of a psychic that the murders begin, tapping into a submerged madness that reasserts itself to avoid detection. However, the murderer must use a physical means (a children's lullaby, played on a tape recorder) to summon the ability to carry out the crimes. While Marc might be chasing a killer, his sleuthing is really an exercise in self-discovery where all of his perceptions and ideas will be challenged. His journey will end with a mirror, which also ties into the last shot of his own image reflecting upside down in a pool of blood, indicating a duality with Marta and an new awareness of self and the world he lives in. In this sense, Deep Red has many connections with Hemming's earlier works, Blow Up (1966) and Fragment of Fear (1970).

Image

The journalist unnerved me with her busy, fluttery hands. She seemed quirky. Doesn’t quirky make you a suspect in Giallo? All that arm wrestling, Women’s Lib stuff seemed quaintly dated and I liked that. I remember that. ( Why am I thinking of "Ms. 45"? ) I suspected she was the killer grown up.


Nicolodi's Brezzi is the antithesis of everything Marc believes about women (so is Marta for that matter). She's strong, intelligent, saves his life (but he cannot prevent her from being stabbed), and is in the driver's seat of their relationship (especially in her car!) much to Marc's chagrin.

Perhaps you can help me here ‘cuz I got a little confused. Why was the lady in the house murdered by being drowned in a bathtub filled with scalding hot water? A fantastic scene by the way. Yes gruesome, but well done. I believed her struggle, and every time she came up out of the water her face was more and more disfigured. I didn’t notice any edits. Ghast-fully done. And the clue in the steamed mirror...brilliant!! A bit of Hitchcock when the whirly burly guy finally figures it out and starts to turn up the steam in the bathroom. Didn’t care for the jazzy score. But the scene played out brilliantly!!


She authored a book about "The House of the Screaming Child", which was a clue to the whereabouts of Marta and Carlo's old home, with its grisly secret in the walled up room. She was killed so that Marc could not talk to her and discover if the house was real and if so, where it was located. Incidentally, all of the murders after Helga have connection to Marc. As Carlo says, he was responsible for all the other killings because he kept prying and the deaths reflect this. The scalding of the author for instance, coincides with Marc getting a steam burn on his arm. When professor Giordani's teeth are bashed in, we remember Marc's statement that he played the piano because it was easier than bashing his father's teeth in. Trouble at home too Marc?

Why did the plot make Carlo gay? B'cuz of what he's seen? The Norman Bates School of Psychology on Oedipal Desire states: "A boy's best friend is his mother." I like that it's not an issue nor made fun of or used as comic relief ( the curator in "The Bird With The Crystal Plumage" ) I didn't feel that being gay made him Other. ( That 'fro he had did. ) I like when Carlo says: “I always challenge myself. I always lose. I'm not you.” ( That made me think of "Written on the Wind." ) When I saw the knife at the feet of those socks & shoes, I thought it was a little girl. Who knew he'd be dressed up as Buster Brown. Giallo was not afraid to introduce folks of all lifestyles. The movie thought out loud as I did as we get near the climax. I suspected crazy Carlo. But out loud ( uhmm...in my notes ) I write: “Wait, how can it be Carlo, when we saw the raincoated killer run pass him? What the heck!!!” )


I think Argento uses Carlo's sexuality to further his themes on gender (Isn't Deep Red all about gender at its essence?) as well as creating a red herring to draw our attention away from Marta. His boyfriend is actually played by a woman, which further deviates from stereotypes. In Tenebre (1982), we see a beautiful woman killed over and over in a dream sequence who is actually a transgender. I do think Carlo is haunted by the ordeal of what he has seen, which possibly manifests itself more in his drinking and depression (Written on the Wind...you are so right), than his sexual preference.


This is my favorite shot of the whole movie and a review of the film lies underneath this shot:

Image

A cool way of not actually seeing the killer in the audience and giving it all away. Beautifully composed shot. The back of the opera house, the back of their heads. It spoke to me of Giallo as a metaphor for opera. Opera of the Grand Guignol kind.


When I saw that sequence and the series of shots from frontal, overhead, behind, closeup of Helga's lips with the water, I was totally sucked in. I remember thinking, "I have no idea where this is going, but this director is amazing!"

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Re: Giallo

Postby Mr. Arkadin » October 7th, 2012, 9:39 am

Interesting new book with four critical essays on different Dario Argento films:

http://giallo-fever.blogspot.com/2012/0 ... gento.html

Here's a great perspective on how sound is used in Argento's movies (he and I see a lot of similar things--check out my review of Cat O' Nine Tails [1971]:
viewtopic.php?p=100178#p100178 ):

http://giallo-fever.blogspot.com/2012/0 ... isual.html



I think we are slowly reaching a point where this genre is beginning to garner some recognition from "serious" authors and reviewers (take that as you will). While I have nothing against a lighter approach, it has been difficult for me to find any printed material for years and what is available often spends more time on the exploitation end than any of the deeper themes, or questions that come out of some of these movies. One thinks of how Vertigo (1958) and Psycho (1960) were initially slammed by the critics, only to be embraced by the same people a few years later.

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Re: Giallo

Postby CineMaven » October 7th, 2012, 10:19 am

When I return from my foray into the world of Bond today, I'm going to check out what you just posted.

As for the book on the serious critical themes GIALLO explores...hmmmmmm....I see a book with YOUR name on it Mr. A.


LOVE your Karloff avatar!!!
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Re: Giallo

Postby Mr. Arkadin » October 21st, 2012, 11:14 pm

Apparently two rare titles are being released by a company named Camera Obscura Films.

Spirits of the Dead AKA A White Veil for Mariale and Tropic of Cancer AKA Death in Haiti (both 1972) have never been released in America to my knowledge. The prints have supposedly been cleaned up and restored, although they are only showing older trailer clips on youtube.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vhKDb0rkec&feature=plcp[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nooDn4WMOb0&feature=plcp[/youtube]

There are also a couple of multi-packs making the rounds. No idea if these are legit or what the print quality might be, but some of the films: The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (1972), Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I have the Key (1972), and Death Laid an Egg (1968) have been OOP for years. All of the films in these packages are good and if the print quality is watchable, it would be a great introduction to the genre for a very small outlay of cash. Here's a thread on the movies from Love Lock and Load:

http://www.lovelockandload.net/forum/in ... pic=5088.0

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Giallo: MY BLOODY SMORGASBORD

Postby CineMaven » October 25th, 2012, 9:17 pm

Autumn is here...and winter not far behind here in NYC. Cold - cold weather, rain - snow. No one'll be hanging out. All my friends and I will be hibernating. I can't go out and play.

(( Sigh! ))

But this autumnal/winter solstice has been saved. I received a smorgasbord of Giallo films.

ImageImage ImageImageImageImageImage

I look forward to checking these out!
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Re: Giallo

Postby Mr. Arkadin » October 26th, 2012, 1:15 am

Have fun with those. Here's some reviews, clips, and thoughts, from the thread of various ones:

viewtopic.php?p=103204#p103204

viewtopic.php?p=102036#p102036

viewtopic.php?p=100519#p100519

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Re: Giallo

Postby Mr. Arkadin » November 5th, 2012, 11:01 am

An interesting series of articles on Lucio Fulci and his films. Personally, I find Fulci's work in Giallo superior to Bava and Argento. Is he more talented? No, if anything his films are much cruder and hang together by the barest of threads, but there is always a underlying perspective in all his work, and unlike Argento, it's not the same theme regurgitated over and over. While Fulci takes chances and is not above alienating his audience to get his point across, this naturally results in a high level of failure, as many of his movies fall into one of two piles--trash or treasure. However, his best work is the stuff that dreams are made of: Haunting themes of good and evil, social perspectives, and wide ranging philisophical ideals that--although they might have origins in a simple genre framework--expand far beyond them.

Overview of the man and his films:

http://badzero.blogspot.com/2006/11/lucio-fulci.html

http://badzero.blogspot.com/2006/11/disenchanter.html

Don't Torture a Duckling:

http://badzero.blogspot.com/2006/11/don ... -duck.html

Recommended viewing:
Massacre Time (1966)
Beatrice Cenci (1969)
Lizard in a Woman's Skin (1971)
Don't Torture a Duckling (1972)
White Fang (1973)
Return of White Fang (1974)
Four of the Apocalypse (1974)
Seven Notes in Black AKA The Psychic (1977)
Silver Saddle (1978)
Contraband (1980)
House by the Cemetery (1981)
The New York Ripper (1982)
The Devil's Honey (1986)

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Re: Giallo

Postby CineMaven » November 15th, 2012, 4:57 pm

Image

Since I was going to be a captive audience on Amtrak the other day, I figured I’d bring along my dvd player for the train ride and watch a movie. Holy Casque of Amontillado!! Tripped up by Giallo, again and thwacked right in the jaw.

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FLORIANA: “Tell me, is it true you slept with your mother...when you were grown up?”

OLIVIERO: “Is it true you are a two-bit tart?!”

FLORIANA: “Well it could be two-bits well spent.”


What the h -- What's going on here?!

...Well, we’re off to the races as uncle and niece square off in the intriguely titled: “YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY.”

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CALLING MR. GREENJEANS! CALLING MR. GREENJEANS!

One bit of the plot giveaway is the black cat. But the movie's twist was a complete pay off for my 80 minutes of silent screams at my monitor for the women in this movie to jog, run, crawl, flee away from this villa. “Your Vice Is A Locked Room...” is one of those 70’s films where the rich and idle throw caution ( and clothes ) to the wind at debauched parties. You know, the kind that has free love, free drinks and enough food to feed a couple of nations. There’s naked dancing on the dinner table. Woe to those who sat behind me in Amtrak’s club car ‘cuz a whole lotta stuff was going on in this film; they got an eyeful. If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium and if it’s giallo one must be naked. “Your Vice...” is as sick and twisted a tale as I’ve seen and I’ve only scratched the surface of this genre.

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Our protagonist Oliviero ( LUIGI PISTILLI ) is a rich failed writer with an extreme case of writer’s block. Pure and simple he’s a sexually sadistic S.0.B. with a severe Oedipus Complex. Norman Btates ain’t got nuthin’ on him.

His wife Irina ( ANITA STRINDBERG ) is frazzled beyond her wits’ end, never getting a good night’s sleep what with that pesky black cat, Satan, scaring her and her husband pouncing on her sexually or to kill her. Or both...simultaneously.

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The girl is so tormented that I’m thinking he’s trying to “Gaslight” her. I hate psychological torture.

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Is that a knife in my hand, my husband...

She's going out of her mind.

Oliviero also molests his maid Brenda ( ANGELA LaVORGNA )

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“I like white coffee in my bed.”

Wha'?! :shock: Nothing unblocks writer’s block like sexually harassing the Help. He treats her like a human party favor, putting her on display for his free-loading guests. She’s another inmate unable to escape the decadent asylum. Instead of laying in bed looking at a girlie magazine, she should pretend she has to go to market and get the heck out of there. Staying will the death of her. And it is.

Our writer who doesn’t write and can only perform when he thinks of his mother finds that a wife and maid are not enough for our selfish alcoholic Mama’s boy. Oliviero has a mistress. She is now a bookstore clerk, who he’s had an off and on affair with since she was his student in high school. What in the name of Ennio Morricone is going on here- - - Oliviero is a hot mess!

Why each of these ladies hangs with him is a mystery to me. Bumps in the night, free-loading guests, killer’s p.o.v., what’s going on? I kept going back and forth between Irena and Oliviero. The police suspect Oliviero, and so do I. I’m watching him.

I smile with recognition to see Ivan Rassimov.

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I remember him from “The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh.” In fact in that movie, Edwige Fenech finds a note that says “your vice is a locked room and only I have the key.” A little self-referential meta something? But he’s just popped up in this movie. What's he doing here. And speaking of Edwige Fenech...where in the world is the Queen of Giallo?

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Oh fine. Here she is playing Floriana. She is Oliviero’s niece. She’s pretty. She's sane. And if we follow her we’ll get to the bottom of things. Fat chance, this is giallo. Floriana’s on the sick twisted end of the family tree. She sees her aunt is at the end of her rope. So she makes love to her. And to her uncle.

Image

Sleeping with the enemy?

Okay. Okay. Stop the presses. Hold on. I had to stop the DVD and process what the hell I’m seeing:

* A dead maid - ( cheaper than minimum wage )

* A dead mistress - ( see the mess that General Petraeus is in )

* A dead starlet - ( hey, since she stepped off the train into this giallo, she takes her chances like everyone else )

So I got it allllll figured it out. Floriana is not really Oliviero's niece. They're lovers in cohoots to drive Irena bonkers and get her money; like I said "Gaslight." Is the maid really dead...perhaps this is like "Diabolique" where the maid and the niece is in cohoots to get rid of the wife and get the money. Where the starlet comes in, I'll never know. Maybe I'm closer to solving this than the detective on the case. But then there's Floriana getting involved with a handsome motocross rider. Are there any cahoots left? I think I'm out of cahoots. I just know Floriana's in on something. And so is "that darned cat!" They keep showing him.

I am soooo totally wrong about all of this as I am to see shortly.

Image

We get a bit of "The Shining" thrown in ( redrum redrum redrum ) that freaks me out. But it ain't over. And it still ain't over. And as the plot plays itself out, and the onion is peeled back and the truth is revealed...and the cat is out of the bag, I am shaking my head in disbelief...and laughter at how clever Sergio Martino is. I didn't see it coming.

And the next Amtrak train stop will be mine.
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Re: Giallo

Postby Mr. Arkadin » November 17th, 2012, 2:24 am

Sergio Martino was often considered "second tier" among giallo directors (the top three being Bava, Fulci, and Argento, who actually created and shaped the genre), but from what I've been seeing and reading, his work is being reassessed.

Part of this is obviously due to his connection with Edwige Fenech. They made three films together and much of her reputation and early success is built on these works. There is also his visual style, which I personally find more complex and understated than Argento or Bava, who often shot scenes for visual impact alone, whereas Martino's stylization is always part of his story and often hold hints or clues that deepen his films.

Although Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key can be viewed as a modern reworking of the Edgar Allan Poe tale, The Black Cat, Martino infuses many different undercurrents to make the story his own. As with his earlier gialli The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971) and All the Colors of the Dark (1972) there is a connection with eroticism and madness (also found in Poe's work), where it seems that desire can enslave not only the body, but the mind as well. We see this in Oliviero's relationship with his mother, which extends to her cat Satan and a dress she once wore, both implying that her spirit still dominates the family like a haunting, or generational curse. The dress brings out the lust of each of its wearers and all of them find death as the final ecstasy.

Image

As Oliviero says when he finds Brenda's corpse: "We have to clean it, really clean it.". Although the dress is cleaned and beautiful once again, it still corrupts the nature of those inside it. It is a master fetish that suggests that we can never "be clean", while Satan, like the his namesake, is an accuser, always lurking to cause trouble, acting as a guilty reminder of man's nature.

Perhaps one of the most striking things about this movie is how Martino changes the trademark appearances of several of the characters, as if to say These are not the same people you know from other films--they are my own creation. We see them as different, but are they? Or is it all a ruse? Strindberg, a beautiful Swedish actress, is made harsh by changing her hairstyle to a red dye uplift and accentuating her high cheekbones and angular features. Sometimes he frames her face with a headscarf to contrast her pale white skin, which causes her to project an entirely different mood.

Strindberg as she is usually photographed:

Image

Edwige is given a Lulu bob and much like the protagonist from Pandora's Box (1929) she is a destroyer of men (and women). Fenech has commented that this was indeed her first "bad girl" role and something quite different for her, but you'd never know it seeing this movie.

There is also Martino's amazing use of visual space. Notice how the villa is claustrophobic, with areas of light and darkness where he creates little atmospheres for his players, as they move between the rooms (another Poe allusion to perhaps Masque of Red Death?), while Strindberg's lover Rassimov (who also looks different) is murdered in a wide expanse under a beautiful blue sky. There's also the incredible scene where the killer muses over her crimes while driving back to the villa. The hedges frame the screen, indicating the entrapment she finds at the end of the drive.

Finally, there is a great screenplay and story which works more off implication and ambiguity rather than spelling out everything for us. At the end of the film, we can reflect on all the clues and how we deciphered them rightly or wrongly, but understanding it all might take more than a few hours on the couch of your local shrink.

Next stop: All the Colors of the Dark.

Here's an amusing review:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYDMRSRRsn0[/youtube]
Last edited by Mr. Arkadin on November 17th, 2012, 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Giallo

Postby CineMaven » November 17th, 2012, 3:26 pm

Since I’m still new to exploring the genre I don’t have any pre-conceived notions of Sergio Martino or his talent. I can say I liked what I saw of his helming “Your Vice...” So there was Hitchcock & Grace, von Sternberg & Dietrich, Cukor & Kate, Capra & Stanwyck...and Martino & Fenech.

MR. ARKADIN wrote:The dress brings out the lust of each of its wearers and all of them find death as the final ecstasy.”

Don't the French call 'it' “Le petit mort”? That dress did have a hold on its wearer. OR did those gals know the power the dress had on Oliviero and purposely wore it for that reason? I don't know which comes first in giallo, the chicken or the egg...that death lays.

As Oliviero says when he finds Brenda's corpse: "We have to clean it, really clean it." Although the dress is cleaned and beautiful once again, it still corrupts the nature of those inside it. It is a master fetish that suggests that we can never ‘be clean’...”

This makes me think of Lady MacBeth’s “out, out damned spot.” One can never get clean what’s in one's mind.

Perhaps one of the most striking things about this movie is how Martino changes the trademark appearances of several of the characters, as if to say ‘These are not the same people you know from other films--they are my own creation.’ We see them as different, but are they? Or is it all a ruse?

Would we even know this unless we’ve seen these actors elsewhere? ( Strindberg’s pouffy hair was distracting. :shock: ) Fenech made me think of Linda Thorson in “The Avengers.” She was good as a baaaaad girl. I like bad girls in the movies. This brings to mind Most directors have that Pygmalion aspect, no? Welles + Rita =“The Lady From Shanghai.”

Isn’t all giallo implication & ambiguity and hiding in plain sight? I didn’t think “Your Vice...” standing out more in this regard than any other giallo. I definitely want to watch it again...

I'll watch “All the Colors of the Dark.” ( Then I'll check out the review. ) These giallo film titles are wonderful.

Image - CineMaven.

Quick question, are these giallo films:

“THE DARK IS DEATH’S FRIEND”
“THE SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF A MINOR”
“THE DARK IS DEATH’S FRIEND”:
“THE SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF A MINOR”:
“THE RED QUEEN KILLS 7 TIMES”:
“THE LORELEY’S GASP”:
“THE FOLDS OF THE FLESH”
“THE KILLERS ARE OUR GUESTS”
?

...and would you consider Richard Burton’s BLUEBEARD” giallo?
"You build my gallows high, baby."

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Re: Giallo

Postby Mr. Arkadin » November 18th, 2012, 12:53 am

CineMaven wrote:
Perhaps one of the most striking things about this movie is how Martino changes the trademark appearances of several of the characters, as if to say ‘These are not the same people you know from other films--they are my own creation.’ We see them as different, but are they? Or is it all a ruse?

Would we even know this unless we’ve seen these actors elsewhere? ( Strindberg’s pouffy hair was distracting. :shock: ) Fenech made me think of Linda Thorson in “The Avengers.” She was good as a baaaaad girl. I like bad girls in the movies. This brings to mind Most directors have that Pygmalion aspect, no? Welles + Rita =“The Lady From Shanghai.”

Isn’t all giallo implication & ambiguity and hiding in plain sight? I didn’t think “Your Vice...” standing out more in this regard than any other giallo. I definitely want to watch it again...


Many of these films were sold on the basis of star quality. Fenech got her start in sex comedy and giallo and developed a distinct look, as did Strindberg (whose first film was the sexy neighbor in the previous year's Lizard in a Woman's Skin), who quickly made six other films in 71-72 and had established herself as a pin up siren. Your comparison with The Lady from Shanghai is an apt one and it's very possible Martino took a cue from Welles. The Italians love American films and reference them at every opportunity.

CineMaven wrote:I'll watch “All the Colors of the Dark.” ( Then I'll check out the review. ) These giallo film titles are wonderful.


The review of All the Colors of the Dark contains no spoilers, so it won't ruin your enjoyment of the movie, but I understand if you like to go in with no expectations or premises.

Incidentally, Sergio Martino directed Mannja--A Man Called Blade (1977), one of the last great spaghetti westerns. He also worked again with Edwige, directing a four part mini-series called Private Crimes in the early nineties, where she plays a newspaper reporter who tracks her daughter's killer. Although it sounds great and had a lot of top line talent, the results were rather ho hum. Of his other work in giallo that does not include Fenech, the most interesting that I've seen is Torso (1973), starring Suzi Kendall from Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1969). I don't think it reaches the heights of his other three knockouts, but it's an interesting film. The Case of the Scorpion's Tail (1971) is best forgotten.

CineMaven wrote:Image - CineMaven.

Quick question, are these giallo films:

“THE DARK IS DEATH’S FRIEND”
“THE SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF A MINOR”
“THE DARK IS DEATH’S FRIEND”:
“THE SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF A MINOR”:
“THE RED QUEEN KILLS 7 TIMES”:
“THE LORELEY’S GASP”:
“THE FOLDS OF THE FLESH”
“THE KILLERS ARE OUR GUESTS”
?

...and would you consider Richard Burton’s BLUEBEARD” giallo?


Most of the films on your list I consider giallo and have listed here under other titles. Dark is Death's Friend AKA The Killer Must Kill Again (1975) is Cozzi's best film and can be seen as a giallo version of Dial M for Murder (1954). The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (1972) is a really interesting film that has gothic overtones, but is set in modern times. This one has been OOP for some time, but I have it. In the Folds of the Flesh (1973) is a very bizarre movie. Yes, I consider it giallo, but I don't rank it in the top fifty I've seen. I should probably revisit it. Suspicious Death of a Minor is a Martino film I have not seen. Same goes for The Killers are Our Guests--I have this one, but have not gotten to it yet. I have seen Bluebeard (own the disc actually) and was not too enthused about it. It does not really seem like giallo to me, but exploitation--not that there's anything wrong with that.

The Loreley's Gasp falls into the horror category for me. Almost all gialli deal with killers that are human and do not have supernatural powers. One notable exception would be Bava's Kill Baby Kill (1966), a giallo/gothic/horror hybrid, which many people find difficult to label. However, in some cases the protagonist might have the power of second sight, or prophetic vision, which helps them to find the murderer, or simply gets them killed because they misinterpret what they see. An example of this, which might be a good companion film to Your Vice... is Lucio Fulci's The Psychic AKA Seven Notes in Black (1977), where a woman sees a murder in a vision, but cannot tell if it occurred in the past or future. Fulci uses the same Poe story, but the results are completely different and just as good as Martino's interpretation.

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Re: Giallo

Postby CineMaven » November 18th, 2012, 2:26 am

Hey there Mr. A. Burning the midnight oil?

Image
( click photo to see review )

I watched "ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK" and what an unnerving movie. I almost wished for Fenech to be killed just to put her ( and me ) out of our misery. :shock:

I know...I know, that's a horrible thing to say, but understand I don't mean it like it sounds. It's just that she was put under such pressure in the movie that I felt bad for her; and I could never relax!! Her husband kept saying: "I'll be right back," leaving her alone all the time ( sheesh!! ) - then she's in a room with two dead bodies of the caretaker and his wife. Her psychiatrist gets killed. Her neighbor ( whom I never trusted ) was killed. Her Sister was killed. Then there was that orgy where Fenech is the doorprize. Yeeeeeikes!!!!

Image
( If you see THESE ol' blue eyes comin'....it's already too late for you )


Ya got dogs chasing her, she's running down stairs, a descending elevator seems like the most ominous thing since "Jaws." She's nude...she's running...she's scared...she's nude...more running...and falling; She's screaming...she's jumping in cabs and cars ( though not nude ) and Ivan Rassimov startingly shows up everywhere. His face I almost never want to see again.

Image
( One of the rare times Fenech is clothed )

Fenech was good. She held the picture together. In fact, she carried the whole movie. I admit she only had one emotion to tap into TERROR!! I kept trying to think outside the box in an effort to out-think the movie. ( "Where is this movie taking me...other than a nudist camp?" ) I just followed the bread crumbs. There were no real twists and turns; pretty linear. It's interesting that the murderer left money in his will for her, but the plot was not too intricate.

"The Suspicious Death of a Minor":

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fURj-QaIyM&feature=relmfu[/youtube]
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Re: Giallo

Postby Mr. Arkadin » November 19th, 2012, 11:17 pm

I think the best word to describe All the Colors of the Dark is dreamlike. The film teeters between nightmare and reality, and Edwige's Jane (and we) is unsure where one ends and the other begins.

The movie begins with a dream, which includes Rassimov plunging a stiletto into a victim, after which, she begins to see him everywhere she goes. But is he real? Is the cult real (Jane wakes up in her bed after being assaulted)? Does the cult really hold power over her? These questions are answered in the film:

A) Rassimov is a real person.

B) The cult is real.

C) The cult has no supernatural power over Jane. They are working in tandem with Jane's sister to steal her inheritance.

In fact, it is Jane who wields an ability to see into the future. By experiencing a forewarning vision where she witnesses her husband being murdered (which plays in real time with no warning to the viewer, much like Joan Crawford's delusion in Possessed [1947]), she instinctively knows how to rescue him when he is attacked minutes later in reality. Her dream with Rassimov can now be put in perspective as a glimpse into her future. Unlike Crawford in Possessed, Jane is not insane, but a seer--which frightens her perhaps more than madness.
Last edited by Mr. Arkadin on November 20th, 2012, 8:00 am, edited 1 time in total.


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