The 1971 Italian/Spanish coproduction "Cold Eyes of Fear" is hardly a giallo (at least in the sense that I understand the term) and not even a horror movie; rather, it is a fairly tense hostage thriller with the bare minimum of nudity and bloodshed. In it, an ex-con named Arthur Welt (well named, as he sure is good at inflicting welts on others!), along with a Cockney goon named Quill, breaks into judge Fernando Rey's swank London mansion, holding the judge's solicitor nephew and his luscious Italian whore of the evening prisoners whilst they carry on their agenda. What ensues is an increasingly suspenseful and violent battle of wits and brawn between the four, leading to some surprises for the viewer as Welt's intentions become clear. In the role of Welt, Frank Wolff, who many may recall as the horny paterfamilias from the previous year's "Lickerish Quartet," is excellent, by turns urbane and a frothing madman. Julian Mateos as Quill is convincingly menacing, Giovanni Ralli as the feisty hooker is very fine, Gianni Garko as the young nephew is spot on, and Fernando Rey...well, he literally phones his role in. The picture has been terribly dubbed and features numerous scenes of unconvincing fisticuffs. The initial 20 minutes are pretty slow going, and will likely leave most viewers wondering just where this darn thing is going. Fortunately, the film does pick up nicely once the brutish Quill makes his initial appearance, and a discordant jazz score by the maestro, Ennio Morricone, helps us get over some of the duller patches. Director Enzo G. Castellari's work is pretty flashy here, and the film has been shot and edited for a fair amount of disorientation...including a few trippy fantasy sequences. In all, a reasonably gripping entertainment, and nicely presented on this Image DVD.
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