The Case of the Scorpion's Tail begins with the mysterious death of a millionaire and spirals into the murder of his suddenly rich wife, which draws the attention of a dogged investigator, who follows a trail of blood to the bitter end.
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Pier Paolo Capponi
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A plane explodes; one passenger is a London businessman who's insured for $1 million. His unfaithful wife is the beneficiary. The insurance agency arranges to pay, but also assigns their top investigator, Peter Lynch, to sniff out irregularities. The widow goes to Greece for the payout; Peter follows her, introducing himself. He becomes her protector and her companion, but the relationship is short lived. She has decided to take the money in cash and plans an immediate trip to Tokyo. Is she guilty of her husband's murder, and if so, who's her accomplice? An Athenian police inspector, an Interpol agent, and a French photojournalist join Lynch in the investigation. Written by
Director Sergio Martino was a regular Itailan Giallo director, who brought us "They're Coming To Get You/ All The Colors Of Darkness/ Day Of The Maniac", "Next!/ The Strange Vice Of Madam Wardh", and "Torso/ The Corpses Show Evidence Of Rape (though I'm not sure why this title is relevent, because I don't remember any moments of rape from the killer?)" and a slew of other nasty little numbers. But I found "The Case Of The Scorpion's Tail" to be his most accomplished work (outside of the silly model Airplane explosion in the beginning!). The rather perplexing story weaves so many red herrings, that when the killer finally does become unmasked, you are a little surprised! Keep in mind that not all that you see, is what you may have really seen. Keeping with Giallo tradition, this film has a little nod to Michelangelo Antonioni's "Blow Up" (Dario Argento's "The Bird With The Crystal Plumage" would be the first of "Blow Up" immitators, which loved to have "I thought I saw something...if only I could recall what it was!" moments in it.) with even a moment where the investigators "blow up" a photo to find a clue in the picture. This film contains (can you believe?) actual tense moments in it. The scene where Anita Strindberg is assaulted even had me biting at my finger nails. There are two parts to this film, the first is centered on Ida Galli (Evelyn Stewart) and then a third of the way switching to Cleo Dupont (Anita Strindberg) in a "Psycho" style switch of heroines.
Both leads (genre female regulars) are interesting to follow (and sensually alluring to look at) and the film moves at an even and fast pace, keeping the viewer inticed. I have to say that after watching this film though, it was really George Hilton who won me over, and made me an instant fan. Though like the female leads, he's a genre regular, I found this to be his best role. Always smarmy and shifty, George Hilton personifies the Giallo male to perfection! I won't describe the story in any great detail, because I think it should be viewed with a virgin state of mind (also I'm too lazy to describe this convoluted story), but it does contain the usual block gloved assassin (always super human in ability) and the gratuitous killing of female characters. I can't honestly say that it's healthy to enjoy such misogynistic dementia or condone objectification of women, but Giallo Cinema is more interesting then the predictable Hollywood road that bulldozes us with the same exact car everytime. My girlfriend would accuse Giallo Cinema of a one make car as well... but for some of us...it's a Jaguar! Highly recommended (for some)!!!!
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