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.
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
I'm really tempted to reward "The Case of the Scorpion's Tail" with a solid 10 out of 10 rating, but that would largely be because I think Italian horror cinema of the 1970's is SO much better than the cheesy crap I usually watch. But even without an extra point for nostalgia, this is STILL a genuine masterwork and earning a high rating for its excellently convoluted story, uncanny atmosphere, blood-soaked killing sequences and superb casting choices. In my humble opinion this is actually Sergio Martino's finest giallo, and that has got to mean something, as "The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh", "All the Colors of the Dark", "Torso" and "Your Vice is a Locked Room and only I have the Key" are all top-notch genre achievements as well. But this film is just a tad bit superior with its ultra-compelling plot revolving on an insurance fraud gone madly out of control. Following her husband's peculiar death in a plane explosion (!), Lisa Baumer promptly becomes the suspicious owner of one million dollars and she's eager to leave the country as soon as possible. Due to the bizarre circumstances, the insurance company puts their best investigator Peter Lynch on the case and he follows her to Greece. There, Lisa becomes the target of many assaults and the case's mysteriousness increases when it turns out several people are hunting for the money. I'm always overly anxious when briefly summarizing gialli because I don't want to risk giving away essential plot elements. In "The Case of the Scorpion's Tail", the events take an abrupt and totally unexpected turn before the story is even halfway, and I certainly don't want to ruin this for you. Many red herrings follow after that, but Sergio Martino always succeeds to stay one step ahead of you and, even though not a 100% satisfying, the denouement is at least surprising. It's also a very stylish film, with imaginative camera-work and excellent music by Bruno Nicolai. Everyone' s favorite giallo muse Edwige Fenech oddly didn't make it to this cast (she stars in no less than 3 other supreme Martino gialli), but Anita Strindberg ("Lizard in a Woman's Skin", "Who Saw Her Die?") is a more than worthy replacement for her. The charismatic and hunky George Hilton is reliable as always in his role of insurance investigator and duh ladies' man deluxe. If you're a fan of giallo, don't wait as long as I did to WATCH THIS FILM!!!!
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