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Taste of Excitement (1970)

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Title: Taste of Excitement (1970)

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Cast overview:
Eva Renzi ...
Jane Kerrell
David Buck ...
Paul Hedley
Inspector Malling
Paul Hubschmid ...
Herr Beiber
Sophie Hardy ...
Kay Walsh ...
Miss Barrow
Francis Matthews ...
Mr. Breese
George Pravda ...
Dr. Forla
Alan Rowe ...
French Inspector
Alan Barry ...
French Detective
Tom Kempinski ...
French Police Officer
Yves Brainville ...
Hotel Proprietor
Catherine Berg ...


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Release Date:

29 October 1970 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

Why Would Anyone Want to Kill a Nice Girl Like You?  »

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| (Westrex Recording System)


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Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! (2005) See more »

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A Taste OF EXCITEMENT (Don Sharp, 1970) **1/2
11 September 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Running virtually concurrently with the Italian Gialli were a handful of violent British thrillers, which often saw a female protagonist at the mercy of some maniac: titles in this cycle included TWISTED NERVE (1968), AND SOON THE DARKNESS (1970), ASSAULT (1971), BLIND TERROR (1971), FRIGHT (1971) and DEADLY STRANGERS (1974) – none of which I have watched at this stage, though I own all of them! The film under review is another one in this vein (and which I opted to check out now in view of the similarity in title to the recently-viewed TASTE OF FEAR {1961} – even if my copy actually sports the lengthy U.S. moniker WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO KILL A NICE GIRL LIKE YOU?!), but it differs from the formula in two notable aspects: firstly, there is precious little bloodshed throughout and these are mostly gun-shot wounds (usually, a more inventive weapon comes into play!) and, secondly, it incorporates an espionage subplot which suggests a more obvious link with the typical Hitchcockian suspenser (which, in this case, does not even bother to explain the nature of the "McGuffin", the object contended over by the two sides involved!).

With this in mind, the film is reasonably entertaining along the way, undeniably good-looking (though the full-frame, soft and worn-out VHS-sourced edition I acquired, complete with forced Dutch subtitles, is clearly nothing to write home about...and it is odd that this is still making the rounds when the movie has been available on R2 DVD for some time!) and definitely buoyed by a 'groovy' rock score from Keith Mansfield. Even so, despite co-writer/director Sharp's experience, he seems unsure as to how approach either style: this invariably leads to a general lack of logic (despite breaking into hysterical outbursts every fifteen minutes or so, heroine Eva Renzi is at the same time frequently shown clad in a bikini enjoying the sunshine which the South of France is renowned for!), not to mention a bafflingly tame resolution (though, interestingly, the man – Paul Hubschmid, star of Fritz Lang's "Indian Diptych" {1958-9} and Renzi's real-life spouse – whom the viewer had pinned down all along as the villain is revealed to be only a pawn in the spy game, with the real master criminal proving to be Kay Walsh – from Hitchcock's STAGE FRIGHT {1950} – as a dotty old lady{!}, only the former is actually eliminated…whereas the latter and her chief thug are merely cornered, and then the scene conveniently cuts away!).

Incidentally, another associate is a psychiatrist but his function is even less clear: since Renzi's Mini Cooper is continually being followed by a white Mercedes, coming twice within an inch of her life on a cliff-edge (the latter sequence emerging as perhaps the film's sole real 'taste of excitement'!), or otherwise nearly driven mad (to this end, even the deafening shriek of a gibbon will do apparently!), how would she then be able to supply her assailants with the vital information they are desperately seeking and which the girl is blatantly unaware of (typically, some agent had slipped her a note on a piece of paper upon feeling that his own days were numbered)! By the way, at the climax, there is a suggestion that Renzi may have been hypnotized to shoot the hero but, once more, the moment is rushed and indifferently handled! Aiding the girl, on the other hand, are a young painter (who, as it happens, is a client of the leading lady's would-be nemesis) played by David Buck, Police Inspector Peter Vaughan and Hammer alumnus Francis Matthews as an agent who gets his pretty quickly. Again, predictably, Buck's brashness more often than not thwarts the good guys' attempts to bring to book the spy ring (such as when he single-handedly saves Renzi from a kidnapping attempt outside a casino).

At the end of the day, it is essentially Renzi's appeal and more-than-fair performance (considering what she had to work with!) that make the film worthwhile; interestingly, that same year she would play a pivotal role in a top Giallo i.e. Dario Argento's striking debut THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE...

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