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Alberto De Martino
Slow-Paced, But Interesting Enough Italian Crime Effort
Roberto Bianchi Montero's "L'Occhio Del Ragno" ("Eye of the Spider") of 1971 is an Italian crime film that might primarily seem interesting to my fellow genre fans for the great Klaus Kinksi at first. However, Kinski's villainous role here is rather small (as in many of his films). Regular leading man Antonio Sabato plays Paul, a criminal who has spent some time in prison in Austria, after being left behind by his associates in a heist. Paul is helped to escape by Professor Krueger (Van Johnson), who needs him in order to carry out another heist. Assisted by Kruger's sexy girlfriend Gloria (Lucretia Love), Paul is to blackmail (his rightful) money from his former associates, which he is then to share with the Professor. However, Paul is more interested in vengeance than in money, primarily against his former boss (Klaus Kinski)...
"L'Occhio Del Ragno" is not your typical Italian Crime flick. It has its share of violent outbursts, but lacks nastiness in comparison to the most famous and most typical Italian crime films, such as the masterpieces by Umberto Lenzi and Fernando Di Leo. Then again, one must say that this film was made in 1971, which was before the heyday of gritty Italian Poliziotteschi starting around 1972. The film is also very slow-paced, often resembling contemporary French crime films rather than Italian ones. Especially in the beginning, I was about to become impatient with the film's slow pace; it began to catch up soon thereafter, however.
The plot itself is interesting, though the execution is not always perfect. The film has some laughable flaws, such as Sabato's makeup in the beginning. Before undergoing plastic surgery, Sabato's character has a very fake-looking fake nose, a very fake-looking fake blond beard, and even more ridiculous fake blond eyebrows. However, the film also has many qualities, being uncompromising and gritty as Eurohorror should be. The brilliant Klaus Kinski is, of course, sinister and great as always. The score by Carlo Savina is great; it is rather jazzy and not as adrenaline-evoking as other Eurocrime scores, which, in this case, fits the film (which neither is as action-packed and adrenaline-evoking as many other Eurocrime films).
Potential viewers should try to watch the Italian language version. My DVD only includes the German and English language versions, both of which aren't the best. In the German version, Kinski is dubbed by another actor, and his character is named 'The Polack' and given a dreadfully fake Polish accent (while at the same time being named Hans Fischer, a very German or Austrian name). For me as an Austrian it is kinda fun however, that many actors were obviously dubbed by Austrians. "L'Occhio Del Ragno" is so far the only Eurocrime effort (partly) set in Austria that I've seen, and it is also an Italian/Austrian co-production.
So far, "L'occhio del Ragno" was only my second (and lesser) venture into the cinematic world of director Roberto Bianchi Montero, the other being the phenomenally sleazy Giallo "Rivelazioni Di Un Maniaco Sessuale Al Capo Della Squadra Mobile" ("So Sweet, So Dead") of 1972, which every Italian Cult fan should see. Bianchi Montero, who was the father of sleaze-director Mario Bianchi (and presumably also related to sleaze-director Andrea Bianchi), had also directed several Mondo Sex-Documentaries in the 60s, non of which I have seen so far. "L'Occhio Del Ragno" is by no means a must see, but worth a look for my fellow Eurocult fans.
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