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A triangle of friendship, love, sex, and, perhaps, murder. Minou is newly married to Peter, a businessman in debt as he works to bring a new product to market. They met through Dominique, sexually voracious, Minou's best friend, and Peter's former (and possibly still) lover. A stranger accosts Minou one night on the beach while Peter is away. He tells her that Peter has murdered a business associate and blackmails her into sleeping with him. He compounds the blackmail with photos taken of their tryst. To Minou's surprise, this same stranger is in a pornographic photo Dominique has imported from Denmark. Is this all a game, and if so, who's behind it? Written by
"The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion" is a good entry into the Giallo genre, with a plot (concocted by Ernesto Gastaldi and Mahnahen Velasco) that's actually pretty easy to follow. It does have some twists along the way, but never gets overly convoluted. Director Luciano Ercoli takes full advantage of the Techniscope aspect ratio (2.35:1) to fill the screen with colour and detail. Some devotees of the Giallo may not find it to be completely satisfying as it really isn't all that sleazy, and it certainly isn't ever gory. Mostly, Ercoli uses the film as a means of showcasing the charms of his dynamic and luscious actresses, Dagmar Lassander and Nieves Navarro (Ms. Navarro would become Ms. Ercoli two years later).
Lassander plays Minou, the bored wife of businessman Peter (Pier Paolo Capponi), who is accosted by a stranger (Simon Andreu) on a beach one night. It seems as if he intends to rape her (and indeed, this depraved man does have sex on the brain), but what he does is he warns Minou that her husband is a killer and is not to be trusted. Minou ends up caught in his blackmailing scheme, and when she tries later to convince people of what has been happening to her, there's no evidence to back up her claims.
Lassander is a pleasure to look at, and delivers a sympathetic performance as well; Navarro is a saucy delight as her friend Dominique. Capponi is engaging as Peter, and Andreu does look like he is having a good time playing the creepy blackmailer. Osvaldo Genazzani as the police inspector and Salvador Huguet as Peters' associate George round out the principal cast. These performers and filmmakers do a creditable job of holding your attention and interested in how things will develop, although some viewers might predict where it's going on prior to its resolution.
With outfits and music that strongly evoke this era (Ennio Morricone composes a nicely mellow score), this is worthy of viewing for lovers of the more exploitative side of Italian cinema.
Seven out of 10.
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