This is something of interest for sure. Not only is it a very early Italian talkie but also a really old example of the Italian giallo tradition. I have seen loads of 30's American mysteries from the Poverty Row studios and, in the main I haven't exactly been too impressed. Most of them rely on lame comedy characters and seem to revolve around a large group of people inhabiting old dark houses with secret passageways and sometimes men in monkey suits. They are pretty interminable on the whole. So it came as a pleasant surprise to discover that this Italian 30's low budgeter didn't play things quite so inanely. Don't get me wrong, it still has the sort of plot-line that you could imagine the Poverty Row studios making a dozen quickies with but it is done with less stupid humour and contrivances.
The story is about a woman who discovers evidence that suggests that her husband murdered his previous wife. Her and one of his associates a man who is in love with her then start to suspect that they are next in line to be killed.
It is very interesting to see that the giallo tradition went back considerably further than the early 60's when Mario Bava kicked things off with his Hitchcock influenced The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963). But before fans of the sub-genre get too excited it is worth pointing out that, as was previously thought, Bava's film actually is the first giallo movie proper. This film merely shows that the literary roots of the giallo went back much earlier in the 20th century. Giallo (1934) is a product of this; it doesn't have the stylistic features that typify the screen variant of the genre. Nevertheless, it's an extremely early indicator of the Italian fascination in low budget thrillers based on those famous yellow books, one which would go into hyper-drive over forty years later. The film itself is held together with some decent performances from Assia Noris as the fearful wife Henriette and Sandro Ruffini as her husband. It still has a light feel, which only goes with the time period and it isn't really very suspenseful to be honest but neither is it tiresome like so many of its American counterparts. Its Italian presentation definitely gives it something different and it is a very fascinating rarity that is definitely worth catching up with.
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