rakiriot

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]

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