Another solid giallo from the underrated Romolo Guerrieri
THE DOUBLE is a nicely plotted, fairly unconventional Italian thriller that should please fans of the giallo movement.
The film stars Jean Sorel, who had worked previously on director Guerrieri's terrific THE SWEET BODY OF DEBORAH (1968) as well as a number of other key gialli from the late '60s and early '70s (e.g. SHORT NIGHT OF GLASS DOLLS, PERVERSION STORY, A QUIET PLACE TO KILL, etc.). Sorel gives a fine performance here as a "loafer" (as his character puts it) who lives off his father's allowance and dreams of being an architect. He's married to a 19 year old sexpot (the always entertaining Ewa Aulin) who looks and acts like a childlike bimbo, but who will surprise everyone in the room with an eloquently worded summation of a given situation, usually with an acid tongue. The wife's mother comes to visit them in Morocco, where they're vacationing, and Sorel finds himself irresistibly drawn to his wife's mother and attempts a heated affair with her.
One key character is an American hippie who manages to charm Sorel's wife and her mother, and subsequently becomes a threat to Sorel's masculinity. He factors into the plot nicely. There's also a mysterious older man with glasses who appears continuously throughout, most noticeably in the first and final sequences. You won't be forgetting that guy any time soon.
It's exceptionally well shot and cleverly plotted, but what really sets it apart from other thrillers of its kind is that it's genuinely unpredictable and, like SHORT NIGHT OF GLASS DOLLS, contains an ever-present sense of dread throughout. It's not a particularly bloody affair, as director Guerrieri rarely utilized the red stuff in his work, but it's tense and involving and compelling from start to fade-out.
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