Friday, November 20, 2009

En Röst i Mörkret (1968)

Il dolce corpo di Deborah is a more fancy title, but because this is the first DVD ever (I think) of this italian thriller, I will stick with the swedish title. Fin De Siècle Media is back again after a long wait and delivers a laidback giallo which belongs more to the Roald Dahl tradition of storytelling than a typical fanboy-version of what they expect a giallo to be.

Romolo Guerrieri directs a story of love, sex and revenge, and it begins in Geneva. Jean Sorel is a hunky italian, Marcel, who are on a honeymoon trip with his wealthy American wife Deborah, played by the great Caroll Baker. In Geneva they run in to Philip (Luigi Pistilli), and old friend of Marcel but he claims that Marcel is the reason that Suzanne (Ida Galli) killed herself a couple of years back. Marcel haven't told Deborah about this before, but explains everything to her. Before they leave Geneva, Marcel notices that Deborah have met Philip at a nearby restaurant, but she says it was because she wanted to talk about it and make Philip stop it. They continue the trip to Nice, but something is wrong, and is Philip still following them...? Or is everything just the imagination of Deborah? Or Marcel?

I've heard that Lenzi directed a similar movie the same year, with the same actors, but I haven't seen it so I can't say if that one is better than this - but I guess that's is the case. Lenzi is a more stylish director than Guerrieri, and has a stronger fascination for sadism and violence. But this is far from a bad movie. The plot is good and it's never boring, but a bit slow. But when nothing's happen, there's always a fun disco-scene or something else to be entertained by. And by "something else", I mean a trippy two-person game of Twister! Probably the weirdest (and out-of-place) scene in the whole movie.

Jean Sorel is an old favourite of mine, both handsome and a good actor, and Caroll Baker is convincing as Deborah, though the character is a bit underwritten. The character reacts in a strange way, and her supposed descent into a nervous breakdown (she takes pills for her nerves), but it's built up too fast and never seem to belong in the storyline. Ida Galli is cool and beautiful in the flashbacks and Luigi Pistill is a good bad guy - and with that look it's almost like he was born to be a bad guy!

Fin De Siècle Media has releases, with the help of distributors Njuta Film, an anamorphic DVD. It has an english language track and forced swedish subtitles. The print is uneven. Some parts are darker and grainer, while most of it looks quite good. The sound is clear, but at once point a word is missing from the track, which I don't know is a technical problem or just that the english dub is different than the italian one. There's some scratches, especially in the beginning of the movie. For me this doesn't mean anything really, because it's a fairly obscure movie and it looks way much better than the old Skåne Video-release I owned once.

This is a story driven giallo without any bloody murders or to nasty sexual situations, but don't be scared. It's a good movie with some nice twists and cool actors. A must in the collection. So, Fin De Siècle Media, bring on the next release! I'm ready!


Vandervenus said...

I've literally just finishes watching this one (the dvd arrived yesterday, fresh from Sweden). Totally agree with your review. I think the Lenzi-flick you're referring to is called "a quiet place to kill". I liked that one better, but this is still an entertaining flick with a good story and a great cast.

candela said...

Also watched it over the weekend, but you fail to mention the absolutely afwul English dubbing, especially Caroll Baker's voice. I wish they had included the italian or german track (since they seemed to have found a lot of german artwork for the gallery). Also Fin de Siecle needs to stop with forced subs. I have a hacked Panasonic player at home to circumvent such things but I took my dvd to a friend's house to watch. I love subtitles but subtitles you can't understand are very annoying.

Fred said...

I didn't react so much regarding the dubbing. I heard much much worse in a lot of other movies.

Fin de siècle can't just stop with forced subtitles. It's a part of the deal with the owner. The copyright holder of course want to sell the movie to other parts of the world, and forced subtitles here in Sweden makes it easier to sell the rights to English language countries. The same thing with the dub track.

Everything costs money.

Anonymous said...

Re the forced subtitles: I started to watch this DVD the other day but was interrupted for some reason and stopped it. Tonight, when I re-inserted, I pushed stop twice to start back at the beginning. Curiously, when I hit play, the movie began and played with NO subtitles. I don't know if this works on all players, however, I was very pleased. So, FYI for all who are annoyed by the subtitles. My player is a Philips for which I must enter a code to select the region.

I love this movie, and Carroll Baker looks like a million bucks in it. There is one scene near the beginning that has a lot of grain, but otherwise the picture is very good. Great clothes, great music, swoony camera...and plenty to tickle the funny bone (especially the pastoral lovers' roll in the leaves). What's not to like?