Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Le foto proibite di una signora per bene" (1970) d/ Luciano Ercoli

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There are a lot of reasons to get behind director Luciano Ercoli's Le foto proibite di una signora bene aka/ The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion (1970), the first of three genre films helmed by the Lazio-born filmmaker, the other two being La morte cammina con i talchi alti aka/ Death Walks in High Heels (1971) and La morte accarezza a mezzanote aka/ Death Walks at Midnight (1972). One reason is to gawk at the eye-strainingly gaudy seventies fashions he dresses his actors in, as they grace his frame here. There's a heavy duty dance sequence near the outset that may leave you doubled over with laughter, be forewarned. Prague beauty, Dagmar Lassander, of Bava and Fulci fame, is on board, as is Ercoli's former wife, Nieves Navarro, who appeared in several D'Amato vehicles later on in the decade, as well. Another reason to check his films out, is the female perspective he uses to tell his stories from, unique for the time period and especially effective when juxtaposed against a male populace comprised of cruel misogynists adrift upon a sea of blackmail, sex, and murder. There are plenty more, but you should experience them all for yourselves. Let's check it out...

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"You'll never get my funny bone from there, Butterfingers!"
Minou (Dagmar Lassander) is bored housewife to Peter (Pier Paolo Capponi), a businessman who may or may not groove on homicidal extracurriculars while away from the missus. She's delivered this tasty morsel of information by a sex minded would be-rapist/murderer who first assaults her on a lonely beach at night then convinces her to sleep with him, after which he successfully blackmails her with explicit photographs from their tryst for the notion of becoming his sex slave. I like the way this fellow thinks. In the meantime, she learns on the good word of her nymphomaniacal bestie, Dominique ( Nieves Navarro as Susan Scott), that a recently drowned man may have been actually murdered, and naturally, her husband may have indeed been the party responsible for speeding his late creditor from this wild and woolly existence of ours. 

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"Hey Q-Tip, what do you say I leave some pecker tracks on your powder blue polyester out on the floor..."
Of course, Peter's secretive business transactions seem increasingly squirrelly and suspicious to the sexually repressed, pill popping woman, who will apparently go to any masochistic length to keep her blackmailer's narrative as far from authoritarian ears as possible, even if that means freeing the sexuality that's been pent up inside her throughout her marriage, and in the clutches of a sadistic stranger, who's seemingly vanished without a trace. Even if Peter has designs of great ill will towards his spouse on the horizon or not, she's got a free-spirited though neutrally minded confidant in Dominique, who might just figure it all out while riding out any waves of pleasure that she might fancy along the way. I like the way this chick thinks.Buckle up for many twists, turns, and red herrings before this one's final reel plays out. See it! 

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" 'Fire walk with me'...what the hell's that supposed to mean??"
Though it lacks much of the splashy violence characteristic of other films of it's ilk, Forbidden boasts of some booze soaked Eurokink of the highest order; pills, flesh, intrigue, tension, sex, it's all present and set to an aptly groove-laden score by maestro Ennio Morricone. Lassander also appeared in Mario Bava's 1970 effort, Il rosso segno delle follia aka/ Hatchet For a Honeymoon, and later in Lucio Fulci's Il gatto nero aka/ The Black Cat and Quella villa accanto al cimitero aka/ House by the Cemetery (both 1981). She also shows up in Lamberto Bava's Shark: Rosso nell'oceano aka/ Devil Fish (1984). Besides her husband's other films, Navarro also appears in Massaccesi fare like Orgasmo nero (1980) and Emmanuelle e gli ultimi cannibali aka/ Emmanuelle and the Last Cannibals (1977). On the scale, Forbidden Photos receives a well earned four Wops for maintaining giallo excellence throughout, and comes with my highest (seriously, I've done enough painkillers and allergy medication to leave a buffalo drooling at this point) recommendation. Grab a copy immediately!

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"Our battle of outrageous outfits has ended in a draw!"
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