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Agatha Christie mysteries and Italian gialli may have some things in common, but they're also very different. First off, gialli are really "mass-murder mysteries", whereas only a few Agatha Christie mysteries really fit that description(the most famous being her seminal "Ten Little Indians"). Moreover, Agatha Christie mysteries are very mannered and British while Italian gialli are very over-the-top and usually chock-full of lurid sex and violence. This movie is impressive, therefore, because it manages to successfully combine the two styles (much like Mario Bava's "Five Dolls for an August Moon"). It has a typical Agatha Christie set-up with various grasping relatives gathered at a remote country estate to hear a will, but like a giallo, it's also full of ridiculously shifty characters, sexual perversity, OTT crash-zooms, and overly dramatic music.
Perhaps, even more impressive, it's one of the few gialli to successfully incorporate (completely intentional) black comedy. It really plays with the conventions of the mystery genre--the first person killed is the butler (so he didn't do it), and the Scotland Yard detective (Lance Percival) turns out to be an inept bumbler while the thick-looking local bobby (Gaston Moschin) turns out to be quite clever. Being a giallo though, it also has certain stock "giallo-esque" characters like an impotent, virginal mama's boy (Chris Chittel) who likes fake bloody suicides and a black woman(Beryl Cunningham)who is married to one of the family members and (naturally) is the most sexually predatory of the characters--with the possible exception of the saucy maid (Orchidea DeSantis).
This has a great cast including Eveline Stewart, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, and American Peter Baldwin who were in any number of 60's and 70's Italian films. Gaston Moschin (who is GREAT here) was usually in Italian crime thrillers, but also had an important part in the "The Godfather 2". The sexy Beryl Cunningham was in "Crimes of the Black Cat", and the even sexier Orchidea DeSantis played all kinds of sexy roles in all kinds of sexy Italian movies. Even the English actors are familiar--Lance Percival was a big comedy actor in Britain at the time and Christopher Chittel was in another movie very much like this called "Erotic Inferno", except that it was a softcore porn movie with Mary Millington! (VERY few actors have ever appeared in both Italian giallo thrillers AND Mary Millington sex comedies). This has just received a superior release by Code Red. I would definitely check it out.
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