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
Convoluted thriller that benefits from a brilliant twisted conclusion
Considering the talent on display, it really has to be said that The Sweet Body of Deborah is something of a disappointment. The script is penned by Sergio Martino's long-time collaborator Ernesto Gastaldi (who put pen to paper on classics of the genre such as The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh and The Case of the Scorpion's Tail), the director is Romolo Guerrieri, who also made the highly rated 'The Double', and it stars a trio of Giallo regulars; Carroll Baker (Lenzi's Kiss Me, Kill Me), George Hilton (The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh) and Jean Sorel (Fulci's One on Top of the Other). There's also a producer's credit for Sergio Martino's brother and workmate, Luciano Martino. The Sweet Body of Deborah is a rather early Giallo as it was released prior to the boom of the subgenre in the early seventies, and so it's something of a front runner; which somewhat explains why the film doesn't stand up to best that the genre has to offer, although many directors; such as Mario Bava and Umberto Lenzi has already made successful films prior to the release of this one.
The plot is one of the film's strongpoint's, as a seemingly chance encounter between the central couple and a man who claims Jean Sorel murdered his girlfriend opens up into a twisted and complex tale of lust and greed. The major problem with the film stems from the handling, as although the twists and turns are well worked; there isn't a lot of suspense in the plot, and the film boils down to snail pace far too often. Furthermore, despite coming from soon to be esteemed Giallo cast members, the ensemble is rather flat and no one gives a particularly strong performance. The director does have an eye for detail, however, as the locations are stunning and Carroll Baker gets to don some of Giallo's most outrageous outfits. The film is typical of Ernesto Gastaldi in that there are a lot of twists and no one is ever quite what they seem. The climax is highly improbable and far too convoluted, but it's carried off well and director Guerrieri does a good job of presenting a number of twists in quick succession to ensure that the movie ends on a high. Overall, this isn't a classic of the genre; and Giallo fans can feel free to skip it, but I love a good twisted film and the ending really made it for me.
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