Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Door into Darkness (1973)

It took me several months to watch Door into Darkness. The problem was the first episode, The Neighbour, which started in such a boring way that I lost interest. But a day after a party, like yesterday, felt like a great day to continue and I quickly watched all four parts - which I'm happy I did finally.

"The Neighbour"
This wasn't Luigi Cozzis first directing-job (it was the obscure Tunnel under the World in 1969), but it didn't start good. The fifteen minutes are really painful to watch, with a lot of pacing-problems. It didn't help that the style was uneven, the visuals very cheap and the script didn't seem to have been so carefully constructed. But when finally something happen, a discovery of a murder, it didn't stop. It's basically a version of Rear Window, with Mimmo Palmara as an excellent substitute to Raymond Burr. But it's still the weakest episode, but a competent official debute of our dear Mr Cozzi.

"The Tram"
Argento is back behind the camera in this episode, one many considers is is best. A girl is discovered stabbed to death in a tram and Inspector Giordani (a great Enzo Cerusico - why haven't I noticed this actor before?) tries to figure out who a girl could have been killed in front of six-seven people without anyone noticing it. It's not a spectacular story, but it's a solid proof that Argento is a genius (yeah, he still is). The acting is the best in the series, and the mystery is not fantastic but has some wonderful and simple ideas that belongs to the best in giallo-tradition. 

It's said to have been directed by Roberto Pariante, but rumour says both Cozzi and Argento did extensive reshoots for this very effective thriller. A woman, Roberta (Marilù Tolo), almost hits a woman with her car during a dark night on a distant forest-road. The woman is shot and dies in front of her, and at the same time the killer (dressed in a black coat and hat) comes out from the darkness and want's to kill her. When the police comes, there's no proof of a murder and Roberta think's she's going insane. Classic story with a lot of tension, but maybe a bit predictable. The ending wasn't a surprise, but still... not a bad episode.

"The Doll"
The last episode is directed by Mario Foglietti is a very uneven project which suffer most from being a bit drawn out. The story is good, but it's not enough for one hour storytelling. A patient is escaping from a psychiatric clinic, shown thru nice and eerie POV-shots. A man is coming to a city and starting to following a red-head girl, she get's killed and he's starting to follow another red-head, saves her from a shoplifting accident and forces himself into her apartment... of course there's a mystery with everything, and once again: you can sense it, but still works. 

So, it was worth the wait to finally watch Door into Darkness. The first and last episode is the weakest, but still good. Argentos episode is of high class, an original idea and has touches of what the audience later saw in Deep Red. The Mya release has their masters taken from the Rai tv-masters, which is mediocre, but of okey quality. The original negatives are long since gone, and this is the only way to see this nice entry in italian television. 

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