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Archive for February, 2013|Monthly archive page

Il Diavolo a Sette Facce

In Paprika Chips, Somebody got murdered on February 28, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Title: Il Diavolo a Sette Facce (The Devil with 7 faces)
Production: Italy 1971
Director: Osvaldo Civirani
Cast: Carroll Baker, George Hilton, Stephen Boyd
Run Time: 87min
Circulation: PAL DVDr
Generation/Source: DVD Master
Language:  Italian, English, German
Subtitles: None

Custom DVD by pipipip, enhancing the Italian release with English and German audio tracks

il diavolo

“”The Devil has Seven Faces” isn’t a giallo, but admittedly it looks and sounds more like a giallo than most genuine gialli do. Now that was a weird sentence! Allow me to elaborate. The enticing title, the starring of George Hilton and Carroll Baker and the Stelvio Cipriani musical score have got written “GIALLO” all over it. Without even knowing what the plot is about, these elements are enough to convince all avid fans of Italian cult cinema that we’re dealing with a bona fide giallo here. The plot, however, is that of a crime-thriller/mystery movie. There are no heavily breathing perverts with black gloves massacring scantily dressed fashion models here. Instead, “The Devil has Seven Faces” is an overly convoluted diamond heist thriller full of double-crossing and untrustworthy characters. Beautiful businesswoman Julie Harrison’s life gets turned upside down when she suddenly receives threats, harassments and unwelcome visitors. It seems like her twin sister Mary stole a valuable diamond in London and vanished. Now the fellow jewel thieves that her sister double-crossed are mistaken Julie for Mary and terrorize her. She seeks help with a befriended lawyer Dave Barton and his hunky friend Tony Shane. Even though the men do everything to protect her, Julie’s life is increasing danger. “The Devil has Seven Faces” is a fairly adequate Italian thriller, but like so often the case with these films, the screenplay tries to be overly clever and misleading, resulting in one too many convoluted plot twists. The film is also too talkative, especially during the first hour, and contains only a handful memorable moments of action, including a shoddy car chase and a tense confrontation inside a windmill. Speaking of windmills, for some reason the majority of the film (or at least all the exterior sequences) are shot in The Netherlands. I have no idea what the added value of that was, because it’s weird to see all the road signs and newspaper clippings in Dutch. There are quite a number of shootouts and suggestive killings, but this definitely isn’t a gory film. It’s not even at all sleazy even though the cover image illustrates Carroll Baker in lingerie. Cipiriani’s music is sensual and very lounge-like as usual.” [imdb]

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Una ragazza piuttosto complicata

In Paprika Chips, Somebody got murdered on February 27, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Title: Una ragazza piuttosto complicata (A Rather Complicated Girl)
Production: Italy 1969
Director: Damiano Damiani
Cast: María Luisa Bavastro, Guglielmo Bogliani, Florinda Bolkan
Run Time: 100min
Circulation: PAL DVDr
Generation/Source: PAL  Master
Language:  Italian
Subtitles: Italian, English

A joespookhouse project, enhancing the Italian release with an English audio subtitle patch.

Una ragazza piuttosto complicata)

“Since it combines so many elements I love, I was primed to like A RATHER COMPLICATED GIRL. Alas, it’s underwhelming. I love all of Alberto Moravia’s highly pessimistic writing, and Jean Sorel starred in my favorite all-time adaptation of Moravia: FROM A ROMAN BALCONY. But here we have Sorel with beard looking like Franco Nero and playing a rotter -not my cup of tea. Heroine Catherine Spaak was practically #1 in Europe during this period (since forgotten alas), having made her obligatory Hollywood debut starring in HOTEL and her biggest hit THE LIBERTINE about to become one of the biggest imports on the U.S. circuit. But she too is disappointing, given a very unbecoming short wig to wear throughout, and cavorting in rather tiresome Swinging Sixties fashion. Even director Damiano Damiani had an off day. He had made one of his central works DAY OF THE OWL, starring Nero, and was really getting his groove on. But the “grooviness” of COMPLICATED GIRL is instantly dated, a relic of the ’60s. Film’s opening is certainly stylish -after we watch Sorel do some experimental wine making, he is on the phone imagining a bevy of beautiful topless women. This certainly gets the juices flowing, but unfortunately star Spaak teases the viewer for the rest of the film, leaving nudity to the extras. She’s introduced on a motorbike, the stereotypical ’60s free spirit. With mod and pop art settings throughout, the film visually falls neatly into the category typified by Tinto Brass’s DEADLY SWEET and Giuilio Questi’s DEATH LAID AN EGG. But what happens here is not as far out. Instead we watch Sorel and Spaak in a rather tedious romance, whose ups and downs are fairly predictable. Hedonism is the theme and a certain nastiness creeps in, as in Nero’s constant Super 8mm shooting of pretty girls and his put-downs of a cute Ewa Aulin type who briefly catches his fancy. Film belatedly picks up interest when Florinda Bolkan enters the scene, looking at her most beautiful. This was her screen debut and she steals all her scenes, exuding a sexual sophistication. … Technically this is a well-made production, with snazzy musical score by Fabio Fabor (a 1-shot, perhaps a pseudonym?) and lush lensing by the always reliable Roberto Gerardi. It just doesn’t add up to much, a victim of that wonderful era of OVER-production, when stars like Sorel and Spaak were working non-stop, batting out five films a year, rain or shine.” [imdb]

 

Un posto ideale per uccidere

In Paprika Chips, Somebody got murdered on February 27, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Title: Un posto ideale per uccidere (Oasis of Fear)
Production: Italy 1971
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Cast: Irene Papas, Ray Lovelock, Ornella Muti
Run Time: 85min
Circulation: PAL DVDr
Generation/Source: VHS  Master
Language:  German
Subtitles: None

A kuenfist rip of the German uncut VHS release.

Un posto ideale per uccidere

“It’s ironic sometimes how a film doesn’t turn out quite like its director intended, but the end result still outshines much of his other work; Lenzi reportedly wanted to make something akin to EASY RIDER (1969) but producer Carlo Ponti requested “the usual giallo” – besides, the drug-trafficking angle was changed to an even more lurid (and commercial) one involving pornographic material (hence, the alternate title DIRTY PICTURES)! Anyway, this is an atypical {sic} – thus interesting – effort from the genre’s heyday: for once, too, the tone isn’t overly glum (Bruno Lauzi’s score, in fact, is infectiously upbeat most of the time) while being, as ever, a very stylish film.

The plot concerns two English kids (Ray Lovelock and under-aged Ornella Muti) traveling through Catholic Italy selling uncommon ‘brochures’ (Muti is perhaps too Mediterranean-looking to convince as an English girl, but she’s sexy and generally delightful all the same). Being reckless, they never save what little money they make – when it’s not stolen by those who ‘befriend’ them along the way (including a real-life motor-cycle dare-devil, dubbed “Crazy Tony”, popular at the time!) – so the couple are forced to keep up the act…until they’re betrayed to the Police by a potential customer who run them out of town. However, on the way, their car (stolen, of course) runs out of gas and the only nearby ‘oasis’ is a secluded villa they at first believe to be uninhabited; it transpires that rich American(!) Irene Papas (a curious presence in this type of film which, to my mind, definitely works in its favor) is inside and she catches them in the garage just as they’re transferring petrol from one of the cars within into their own vehicle.

The woman’s first reaction is to send the kids away, but she soon changes her mind and they’re invited to feed and even stay the night. The couple’s freewheeling antics seem to liberate the stiff lady of the house, too, and before the night is out, the trio are having themselves a party (cue some crazy zooms on the dancing participants – something I forgot to mention, by the way, in my review of Lenzi’s A QUIET PLACE TO KILL [1970]) for which Muti also contrives to dress up in exotic fashion. Papas and Lovelock spend the night together but not before she’s sent him to the garage to fetch her some cigarettes: looking in the glove compartment of her car, he finds a gun and instinctively picks it up. This, as it turns out, was a deliberate move on her part as the young man now has his fingerprints on the weapon – when the kids first arrived, Papas had been acting strangely and we soon discover why: her husband’s body (whom she herself shot, being in cahoots with a lawyer who’s intermittently seen trying to make contact with her) is stashed in the boot of the car! To add more conviction to her fabricated story – that the kids assaulted the household – Papas feigns an attempted rape…

Typically, the picture is filled with solid suspense touches and clever narrative twists: when the Police finally arrive, as Papas had predicted, it’s her they believe; the kids, thinking otherwise (having drugged the woman and ‘planted’ the gun in her hands) take it easy as they’re reaching the border, even deciding to go for an impromptu swim. However, as they’re departing once again, the Police bars their way and, as was the case in the afore-mentioned Lenzi film (which I watched on the very same day as this one), it all ends with the kids running the car off the road and tumbling to their death – still, the director gives the whole a cynical conclusion this time around (accentuated by the reprise of the jaunty theme tune) as there’s no redeeming last-minute stroke of irony here!

By the way, this too emerged to have the dual audio syndrome I encountered during my recent viewing of some of the “Euro-Cult” titles I’ve been going through. At first, I was disappointed that the Italian-language track was missing from this copy but, actually, it makes perfect sense here – since all three protagonists are foreigners anyway; then again, many of the Italian supporting characters do speak in their native tongue. Even so, some of the dubbing is unintelligible (particularly Umberto Raho’s Police Inspector, who only appears towards the end) while, for about five straight minutes around the one-hour mark, the dialogue reverts completely to Italian for a scene which presumably was cut from the U.S. version of the film!” [imdb]

Viol, la grande peur

In Lose the skin, Paprika Chips on February 27, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Title: Viol, la grande peur (Rape)
Production: France 1978
Director: Pierre Chevalier
Cast: Monique Gérard
Run Time: 94min
Circulation: PAL DVDr
Generation/Source: VHS  Master
Language:  English
Subtitles: Dutch (hardcoded)

A kuenfist rip of the Dutch VHS release.

viol

“Episodic film centred around a newspaper office where it is decided to make more of the many rape stories that come in and create some discussion, try to change the climate of opinion (and sell more papers). This is a blatant case of ‘having your cake and eat it’ where the film makers hold up the ‘awfulness’ of rape and how women get blamed instead of men and then going to great lengths to re-enact these ‘awful’ acts for our viewing pleasure. Interestingly, of course the legal position has changed around since the 70’s and it is now very much a case of the ‘poor’ guy having to prove that he didn’t rape his girlfriend. The film opens with some guy running around Paris asking people what they think of rape (how fatuous is that) moves on to a trial scene where the judge is clearly of a mind that ‘she must have been asking for it’ and we end with a pious group of journalists suggesting they may have changed the world. In between we get rape sequence after rape sequence, well shot, voyeuristic and not unsexy. The scenes are varied and regular with a stand out one featuring a young Brigitte Lahaie and two truckers who get their comeuppance from this ‘anatomy student’, but it is all a bit too two faced and one is left doubting very much if there ever was any thought in the film makers mind other than bums on seats. Not for everybody, obviously, but a watchable and interesting curio from, for good or bad, a unique period in modern times.

Strange, sleazy semi-mondo about a bunch of reportes trying to “blow the lid” on rape, of course resulting in a lot flashbacks with lots of nudity and rape in them. Very un-PC stuff – not that it (thankfully)  takes the stand FOR rape, but just the fact that the cheap ass exploitation makers at Eurociné did a film on rape with lots of nudity in it makes it dubious to the max.” [CG]

Il était une fois le diable

In House of the Ju-Ju Queen, Paprika Chips on February 27, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Title: Il était une fois le diable (Devil Story)
Production: France 1985
Director: Bernard Launois
Cast: Véronique Renaud, Marcel Portier, Catherine Day
Run Time: 73min
Circulation: PAL DVDr
Generation/Source: DVD  Master
Language:  French, English
Subtitles: English

A NickTheCreep project, enhancing the French release with English audio.

Il était une fois le diable

“After watching this I wondered if the director had actually ever seen a film before. Because this seems to ignore any and all of the conventions of film making we’ve come to expect. Plot, character development, subtext, all are dashed against the rocks of chaos here. The movie starts with a mutant dressed in Nazi attire madly tearing his way out of a tent. We then have a prolonged shot of the victim of the mutant bleeding on the ground. Then as the mutant storms of into the woods to kill some one else his foot gets caught on the tent rope and he scuffles with it. Was that intentional? I don’t know but they left it in. That question “Was that intentional?” is something I found myself asking a lot throughout the entire movie. This is one of those film that has to be seen to be believed. There’s a demonic cat that lives in the mountains. There’s an old witch that controls the Nazi mutant. There’s an old man with a shotgun that seems to have an endless supply of bullets. There’s an Egyptian mummy that comes out of an old galleon which is magically drawn from the inside of a mountain by a devil horse. I Liked it. Despite hearing myself sighing throughout I would definitely watch it again.” [imdb]

La Portiera Nuda

In Lose the skin, Paprika Chips on February 27, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Title: La Portiera Nuda
Production: Italy 1976
Director: Luigi Cozzi
Cast: Erika Blanc
Run Time: 83min
Circulation: PAL DVDr
Generation/Source: VHS  Master
Language:  Italian
Subtitles: None

portiera

An Audient project about which he says:
“Luigi Cozzi calls this his worst movie, but it possesses some notoreity as the screen debut of American actress Irene Miracle (“Midnight Express”, “Inferno”), who spends a good deal of her screen time undressing and undressed. Miracle comes to Italy to work as a concierge in a Roman apartment building, where she falls into the amorous clutches of various tenants and shopworkers, regardless of their age or sex. An attentive lesbian tenant is played by none other than Erika Blanc. The movie’s title which translates as “The Nude Porter” is a spoof on Liliana Cavani’s “The Night Porter,” while the plot is somewhat indebted to Roman Polanski’s then-contemporary “What” (which owed its own debt to Will Elder and Harvey Kurtzman’s “Little Annie Fannie”). There’s also a psychedelic drug party where Miracle gets groped. This film is not listed on the IMDb as her first movie, but it was made before Aldo Lado’s “The Night Train Murders” and then shelved for a couple of years until her Golden Globe win as Best Screen Newcomer in “Midnight Express” gave it a brief window of exploitability. To the best of my knowledge, “La Portiera Nuda” has been released on video only once, as an Italian VHS tape from General Video. This hard-matted, non-anamorphic 1.85:1 copy is in Italian with no subtitles.

Agenten kennen keine Tränen

In Paprika Chips, Save European Home on February 27, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Title: Agenten kennen keine Tränen (The Uranium Conspiracy)
Production: Germany/Israel/Italy 1978
Director: Gianfranco Baldanello, Menahem Golan
Cast: Fabio Testi, Janet Agren, Assi Dayan
Run Time: 95min
Circulation: PAL DVDr
Generation/Source: VHS  Master
Language:  German, English
Subtitles: None

A pipipip project, that adds an English audio track to mimamo’s rip of the German retail VHS release.

agenten

“This is another movie that was just put up on YouTube that I decided to watch. This film, whose English title is The Uranium Conspiracy, is the first time I’ve watched a Yoram Globus-Menahem Golan production directed by Golan in its entirety. As a spy thriller involving nuclear weapons, this was quite an exciting flick especially during the boat and car chase scenes. Filmed in many European locations and some sea locales, there were many intrigues that got me hooked throughout the picture. Fabio Testi is the Italian agent Renzo who does assignments for Israeli Dan (Assi or Assaf Dayan) for a price. Despite that, they’re actually friends. Helga (Janet Agren) is the Swedish woman who works for a German company that makes nuclear weapons. She falls for Renzo.” [imdb]

Virtual Seduction

In Cheese Doodles on February 27, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Title: Virtual Seduction
Production: USA 1995
Director: Paul Ziller
Cast: Jeff Fahey, Ami Dolenz, Carrie Genzel
Run Time: 89min
Circulation: PAL DVDr
Generation/Source: DVD Master
Language:  Italian, English
Subtitles: None

Custom of the Italian DVD release by pif65. Adds an English audio track.

virtual

“A man becomes obsessed with a virtual reality game that can ressurect his murdered girlfriend in cyberspace.” [imdb]

Le amorose notti di Ali Baba

In Lose the skin, Paprika Chips on February 27, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Title: Le amorose notti di Ali Baba
Production: Italy 1973
Director: Luigi Latini de Marchi
Cast: Alan Barker, Krista Nell, Pierre Mirat
Run Time: 81min
Circulation: PAL DVDr
Generation/Source: VHS Master
Language:  German
Subtitles: None

German tape rip by Mimano

Le amorose notti di Ali Baba

“This Arabian Nights classic is really not for kids. Very rare and hard to find. I’ve only seen this movie in German (no subtitles),but it contains loads of steamy scenes…surely not for kids or under 18s. Don’t know the story because I can’t read or understand German but you can tell its a very interesting film. I’m dying to grab hold of one with subtitles. If there’s anyone out there with such a copy, i’ll be willing to buy it at a price. I rated this movie 7 out of 10 because of the fabulous costumes, exotic scenes, escapades and hot and steamy scenes. To be true..i don’t know which is the most erotic between this Ali Baba and Sheherazade 1982. You have to see them to judge between the two.” [imdb]

Quel ficcanaso dell’ispettore Lawrence

In Paprika Chips, Somebody got murdered on February 27, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Title: Quel ficcanaso dell’ispettore Lawrence (The Killer with a Thousand Eyes)
Production: Italy/Spain 1974
Director: Juan Bosch
Cast: Anthony Steffen, Antonio Pica, María Kosty
Run Time: 83min
Circulation: PAL DVDr
Generation/Source: VHS Master
Language:  Italian
Subtitles: None

Italian tape rip by Nikko

Quel ficcanaso dell'ispettore Lawrence

“The Killer with a Thousand Eyes is a Giallo of the extremely rare variety – amazingly I could find almost no literature whatsoever about it on the internet and it seems almost like the film doesn’t exist. In my time of tracking down seemingly non-existent films, I’ve realised that there’s often a good reason for the anonymity; but this Giallo is actually rather good and a step up from director Juan Bosch’s better known ‘The Killer Wore Gloves’. The director is not particularly well known for his originality; his other Giallo basically took the genre’s best elements and fashioned a derivative story out of it, and that’s basically what we have here too. Our main character is a special detective who has been deployed to Lisbon in order to investigate a series of murders. After looking into the murders, our hero realises that they are somehow linked to an illegal drug smuggling operation and so sets about looking into that in order to solve the murders and stop the smuggling from taking place. This film boasts what is undoubtedly one of the coolest titles in the entire Giallo genre (which is really saying something) but sadly it bears no relevance to the plot and in fact that murder story takes a back seat to the police investigation. This is actually not a bad thing, however, as Juan Bosch keeps things ticking over nicely and the film is made exciting with a constant stream of events to further the plot. There’s only a handful of murders in the film, and unfortunately they don’t represent a strong point for the film as they’re all bloodless and it seems like the director wanted to get them over and done with as quickly as possible; which is likely to disappoint a lot of viewers. By 1974, the Polizi genre was gaining popularity and that seems to have had an effect on this film; as there’s plenty of police procedure as well as a handful of fist fights. The director manages to keep things together for the ending, and while it’s not especially exciting; things are wrapped up nicely. Overall, this is not great or a must see Giallo; but it’s a nice genre entry and has more going for it than The Killer Wore Gloves. Worth a look if you can find it.” [imdb]