About a decade ago (has it been that long?!) I went on a giallo binge. I looked up lists online and tried to knock out the best of the best. I remembered watching this flick and not having my socks blown when I saw it. When I got the Blu it was great timing, I was in the mood for a giallo and I decided to give this one another spin.
A teacher (played by Italian fave Fabio Testi) is having an affair with one of his students. They’re on a canoe ride down a calm stream and he’s trying to convince her to do the deed. Sounds perilous I know but I admire Testi’s confidence. While said macking is going down a girl is murdered on a nearby bank. Testi’s student witnesses part of the murder and he doesn’t believe her. The mood killed, Testi goes back home to hang out with his severe German wife. He hears on the radio about the murder and realizes that his student was correct. He rushes to the seen only find out it’s another girl that goes to his school. Unbeknownst to him, he drops a pen at the scene. The police question him about the girl and find the pen realizing it’s his (apparently Testi’s pens are very exclusive, only he owns them). Now he has to work to clear his name while hiding his affair.
The setup to the film is a fairly typical giallo. You’ve got a hunky dude implicated in a murder of a pretty girl and he has to unravel the mystery before he’s thrown in the clink. Testi is good as always but for my money this isn’t is best. I know that this film is considered top tier if not the absolute best giallo by some aficionados so take it with a grain of salt when I say, I still don’t think this flick is great. The style is really lacking for one thing. When I think giallo, I think memorable music, beautiful women, elaborate kills and lots of garish colors. This one does have pretty girls and testi does drive a sweet sports car but the movie doesn’t ooze style. This is surprising as the director was the DP on several classic westerns (including A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More) so the man knew what he was doing behind the camera. The shocker of an ending isn’t predictable I’ll give it that but lord is it shocking. For my taste it was too brutal and that says a lot.
The Blu ray looks fantastic and again has some nice special features including a commentary track with Alan Jones and Kim Newman, a nice booklet with an essay about the film, cast interviews and more. If you love this flick, you should pick up the Blu. If you love gialli you should probably grab it too. If you’ve never seen one, there are other places (namely Argento’s output) that are better places to start.