Deborah, a wealthy American, and her Italian husband, Marcel, are honeymooning in Geneva when they meet Marcel's friend Philip, who belligerently informs them that Susan, Marcel's former ... See full summary »
Deborah, a wealthy American, and her Italian husband, Marcel, are honeymooning in Geneva when they meet Marcel's friend Philip, who belligerently informs them that Susan, Marcel's former fiancée, has committed suicide. The couple stop at Susan's deserted villa, where Marcel receives a death threat over the telephone. In Nice, he continues to receive menacing phone calls, and Deborah begins taking tranquilizers; one evening she accidentally takes too many and is revived by Robert, an artist who lives in the adjacent villa. Later, Philip attempts to murder her to avenge Susan's suicide, but Marcel appears, stabs Philip, and buries his body in the garden. The next morning, when Marcel leaves to buy two plane tickets to the United States, Philip and Susan suddenly appear; when the terror-stricken Deborah faints, the couple drug her, slash her wrists to make her death look like suicide, and drive away. Written by
THE SWEET BODY OF DEBORAH (Romolo Guerrieri, 1968) **
Carroll Baker made several excursions to Italy throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, notably a series of erotic gialli; this was the first of them and, though a rather inauspicious beginning, several that followed (even those made by other hands, such as Sergio Martino actually serving on the film under review as Production Manager!) can be seen to have adhered pretty closely to the formula unveiled here. Though contributing to the low rating was the atrocious sound quality which not only seemed to have inherent hiccups (whereby lines get repeated every so often) but the English dialogue track featured a few unaccountable 'intrusions' of Italian and French! the movie itself is a mainly listless affair which contrives to wake up only during the last 20 minutes (with the expected bevy of improbable twists and turns)!! To be fair, I was drawn to this principally by the notable cast which also includes Jean Sorel (who followed his career highpoint, Luis Bunuel's BELLE DE JOUR , with a number of gialli: for the record, he and director Guerrieri would subsequently collaborate on the infinitely more rewarding THE DOUBLE ) and, likewise all genre stalwarts, George Hilton (who eventually rose to protagonist status under Martino's guidance), Luigi Pistilli and Evelyn Stewart. To go back to the erotic theme at the core of these type of films (perhaps to make up for the frankly tedious plots), this first entry may have seemed pretty risqué at the time but certainly feels tame when compared to later examples (not necessarily those made by the group of people already mentioned).
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