Saturday, October 29, 2011

Amuck! (1972)

One of my favourite ways of storytelling is putting a bunch of people in a secluded area and make things happen. I adore good writing, and because of the setting and very few actors, the writer has to make it interesting during at least 90 minutes. Amuck is one of those movies, even if it has some scenes set in more populated areas, but most of the time it's just three actors playing a mind game with each other on a small island, motherf**king wow what a good little movie this is!

The lovely Barbara Bouchet plays Greta, a secretary hired by the wealthy author Richard Stuart (Farley Granger). He lives with his wife Eleanora (Rosalba Neri) on an island with just a few locals living on the other side. A perfect place for an author who needs peace and quiet to write his masterpieces. But Greta is not only there because she needs a job, her best friend Sally (Patrizia Viotti) worked for Richard earlier, but has now disappeared without a trace and Greta wants to find out what's happen to her. She slowly realizes that Richard and Eleanora lives a special life, a very "open-minded" sexual life, and when she sees Sally in an home made porno she understands that something has happen on the island, but who is behind the crime?

Amuck is a perfect example of a simple yet very effective storyline. With the concept director and writer Silvio Amadio gets the opportunity to show us an effective chamber play with everything from mysterious flashbacks, home made sex movies, the always reliable idea of what's fact and what's fiction, murder and paranoia. It's not a bloody movie by any means and the body count is very low, but the impact of the story is so good that it's impossible to stop watching it. Intelligent use of red herrings makes the movie good and not absurd and in the end it unfolds in a very satisfying way.

Former American movie star Farley Granger had a nice career going for him in Europe during this time, and gets here a chance to play a complex character in a very rewarding on-screen relationship with the talented Bouchet and Neri. You never know where you have him and the idea of him and his wife having such an open relationship feels actually very fresh and modern, with no visible jealousy. Another excellent idea is that the flashbacks is told like Richard is writing a book, with maybe not that realistic re-enactments of what could have happen - so basically the flashbacks is the imagination of Greta's mind!

Teo Usuelli composed the music and this is the first time I've noticed his work, but what a fantastic score it is! Erotic, atmospheric, almost dreamlike, often with the same tones pulsating heavily in the background, almost like it's something from behind the walls - like the neighbours is having an orgy or something.

Amuck (or Amuck!) is out on a bootleg from the since long dead company Eurovista. It's a fullscreen VHS-rip, but the quality is OK - especially the sound, and except a few damages on the tape it looks fine. I hope this Giallo will get a good release sometime, because it's worth reaching a wider audience.

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