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Glass Ceiling More at IMDbPro »El techo de cristal (original title)

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Superior Spanish giallo effort from the director of "Week of the Killer"

Author: lazarillo from Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile
3 May 2009

I actually would classify this as a Spanish giallo, even it doesn't slavishly imitate the stereotypical Italian model like some of the Paul Naschy efforts (i.e. "Seven Murders for Scotland Yard"). This film by Eloy de Inglesias and a couple films by the equally talented Spaniard Jose Maria Forque are superior to any of Naschy's attempts at a Spanish giallo and make for interesting variations on the standard giallo formula. Of course, this movie is also somewhat inspired by Hitchcocks's "Rear Window", the Hollywood paranoia classic "Gaslight", and the director's own "Week of the Killer" (released under the absurd and inappropriate English title "Cannibal Man").

Carmen Sevilla is an attractive wife living in an apartment building. After her husband leaves town on a business trip, she hears noises in the apartment above her and comes to believe the woman living there (Patty Shepherd) has murdered her own invalid husband. Adding to her suspicions, the woman keeps asking to put stuff in her fridge, even though her own fridge is clearly working, and someone is secretly feeding something to the landlord's dogs. Of course, there are other strange characters that might be involved, starting with the handsome bachelor landlord, who seems to another of the director's closeted gay protagonists since he rebuffs most of the beautiful women who throw themselves at him, but he also seems to have a stalker-ish thing for Sevilla's character. There's also a nubile young milkmaid (Emma Cohen)who keeps coming around with her jugs (and occasionally a few bottles of milk too).

It becomes increasingly unclear whether there really has been a murder, whether the protagonist is going crazy, or whether someone is trying to drive her crazy--and it might be more the one of these. The ending is different, although maybe a little too different for its own good. This movie doesn't seem to have quite the visual style of one of your better gialli (but it's kind of hard to tell given the substandard presentation of the bootleg I saw). It is generally a pretty effective film though, however, you want to categorize it.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Suspicion

10/10
Author: andrabem from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
17 June 2008

It's difficult to label "El techo de cristal" (The glass ceiling). Those who are looking for a giallo will be disappointed. A good example of a Spanish giallo can be given by "Los ojos azules de la muñeca rota" (The blue eyes of the broken doll). "The glass ceiling" is much more a psychological thriller.

The film takes place in the country. Pigs, cows, dogs and horses are part of the background of the film. Martha's husband goes out on a business trip. Martha (Carmen Sevilla) is left alone in the house and her imagination starts to work. She's got a neighbor, Julie (Patty Shepard), who lives in the apartment above her. Julie is also alone because her husband is out, presumably for business reasons. And there's Richard (Dean Selmier). He's a sculptor and passes most of his time in his studio working on his creations, but that doesn't stop him from being a down-to-earth man. And finally to complete the picture, there's Rosa (Emma Cohen). She delivers milk bottles for the people living there. These people will become entangled in a complex spider's web.

On the surface everything seems normal, but there's more to it than it meets the eye. Martha sometimes hears Julie's steps above her. She begins to suspect that Julie killed her own (Julie's) husband. Julie's explanation for the absence of her husband had not convinced Martha. Is this suspicion grounded in some reality or is this is just the overheated imagination of a woman left alone? Anyway right from the beginning, it's clear for us, the viewers, that someone is watching everything and taking pictures. Sometimes the image briefly freezes into a still and we hear the click of a camera. Martha has caught wind of something. But she hasn't got the whole picture and that's very dangerous.

"The glass ceiling" is a sensitive portrayal of rural life. It has a feeling of reality, but it's not a surface reality, it goes deeper than that - lyricism, subtle irony and suspense.

The camera work is free and creative, the acting overall is good and very natural, and particularly Carmen Sevilla (Martha), Patty Shepard (Julie), Dean Selmier (Richard) and Emma Cohen (Rosa) excel. The soundtrack is also very good and helps to stress the emotions of the characters and the beauty of the landscape.

Eloy de la Iglesia shows himself to be a director with a strong personality. Though "El techo de cristal" is a sensual film (it features three beautiful women - Patty Shepard, Carmen Sevilla and Emma Cohen), it hasn't the sleaze or gore factors existent in other films of the genre. For me, this is not a drawback (even if I like sleaze and gore). Highly recommended.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Spanish thriller!

9/10
Author: udar55 from Williamsburg, VA
10 June 2005

This is the second Eloy de la Iglesia film I have seen (the first being CANNIBAL MAN) and I found it to be an excellent thriller. Lonely housewife Carmen Sevilla begins to let her imagination get the best of her when she hears a man's footsteps in the apartment above her late at night. Her upstairs neighbor (Patty Shepard) insists it was her husband who had returned from business, but Sevilla doesn't believe her and begins to investigate. This is a great film, with lots of nice twists along the way and an incredible dream sequence. The final revelation is one that will have you thinking for hours afterwards. I enjoyed this much more than the straight forward CANNIBAL MAN.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Misleading Title for a Terror Classic

10/10
Author: babycarrot67 from Columbus, Ohio
14 September 2004

"The Glass Ceiling" is a relatively obscure Spanish horror film that I enjoyed tremendously the first time I saw it (in 2000), and I have watched it many times since and it only gets more frightening. I have lent my copy to several acquaintances, but none of them have liked it. Director de le Iglesia's style may be an acquired taste. A quick plot synopsis: A housewife (Carmen Sevilla) is frequently left alone by her husband in their apartment, as his business requires him to travel. The woman who lives upstairs (Patty Shepard) is also minus her husband, but Sevilla begins to catch occasional lies and half-truths from her upstairs neighbor, which leads Sevilla to think that Shepard has murdered her husband. Sevilla can't quite keep her mouth shut about the matter, however, and despite the fact that her friends think her imagination is running wild, she does not really begin to suspect the danger until it is too late.

Probably the most interesting aspect of this film is the casting of Sevilla and Shepard in the leads. Their roles are flip-flopped this time around: Sevilla often played flashy, whorish-type women while Shepard always played the victim. Here, the two actresses get to reverse themselves and both make the most of a good situation. In fact, this is probably the most substantial role horror starlet Patty Shepard ever had and is certainly one of her finest performances. Director de la Iglesia's usual themes of voyeurism, socialism, and homoeroticism are in abundance, and what Sevilla thinks has happened to her neighbor's body is not that far off from the theme that de la Iglesia would explore in "The Cannibal Man" the following year.

"The Glass Ceiling" is slightly better than "Cannibal Man", however. A very good script, excellent direction, and flawless performances by the entire cast -- and don't overlook Emma Cohen and Dean Selmier -- and a very odd, minimalist music score, at times sounding like church music, all come together to make this film a four-star frightfest, but since it is rooted in reality, and will probably make you wonder what your neighbors are up to, it is all the more interesting and frightening.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

THE GLASS CEILING (Eloy De La Iglesia, 1971) ***

Author: MARIO GAUCI (marrod@melita.com) from Naxxar, Malta
2 November 2011

Another excellent offering from De La Iglesia, this is even more of a slow-burning thriller than THE CANNIBAL MAN (1972) but the scenario it conveys of place, characters and situations holds one's attention, even if there is a definite slackening during the last act (picking things up again with a stunning climax that not only marries the REAR WINDOW {1954}-inspired proceedings up to that point to a STRANGERS ON A TRAIN {1951}-type twist but also takes care to produce one additional ace for the finale!) and which now seems to be something of a directorial trait.

The GLASS CEILING, in fact, is confidently Hitchcockian but also presenting concerns that obviously interested the film-maker, such as what sort of mischief may be going on within the walls of a house (which, in this case, is amplified by making the central setting a condominium). However, the script merely uses fanciful conjecture as a means to an end, which is another character study of a lonely figure (here leading lady Carmen Sevilla, and for which performance she won the Cinema Writers Circle award) whose grip on reality is quickly fading (depicted via a notable dream sequence) and how the people she comes into contact with react to this (there is even a disturbing subtext, which one hopes is not quite true, of landowning studs and horny errand-boys preying on such abandoned wives!). Still, unlike THE CANNIBAL MAN, the protagonist is now a victim who soon finds that she cannot really trust anyone, not even family, preferring to keep company with her amiable white cat (which, unfortunately, comes to a sticky end).

Once again, the cast includes lovely Emma Cohen: at first, I thought she would have an even lesser role than in CANNIBAL, since her name is much further down the cast list this time around, but also because she plays the unflattering part of a farmer's daughter delivering milk to the various tenants – however, enamored of the landlord, she also frequently pays him visits at the condominium's back-yard, where he conducts his extracurricular activity of sculpting. Though he certainly does not discourage her attentions (even accepting to be fed – and playfully sprayed in – milk by her directly from a cow's teat!), the man really favors Sevilla (to the point of taking the latter horse-riding in order to alleviate her ennui), so that Cohen is cross when a sculpture he has made of her luscious body (voyeuristically caught by camera while the girl is sleeping in the nude, one more of the landlord's hobbies, which he also directs at Sevilla and another pivotal female character, thus linking the film to the remarkable "Cannibal" flick I watched at the very start of this "Halloween Challenge", WELCOME TO ARROW BEACH {1974}) actually sports SevIlla's head!

However, Cohen's character still vanishes from the proceedings well before the end – which serves to put at center-stage an attractive neighbor of Sevilla's, whom the latter suspects all through the picture of having committed foul play upon her invalid husband (whose body the heroine frantically suspects of being stashed either in the back-yard or the couple's own fridge!), even contriving to periodically check with the bus depot whether he was seen leaving town as his spouse claims.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

I found this very slow

5/10
Author: christopher-underwood from Greenwich - London
28 March 2013

I thought I was going to enjoy this much more, having very much enjoyed the same director's later, Cannibal Man, many years ago. I became slightly concerned during the credits when the camera repeatedly panned an outer building and it may have been my print, the dubbing or my lack of attention but I found this very slow and largely lacking in atmosphere. I'm assuming a low budget accounted for some of the darkness and repetitions for the characters are well formed and introduced well. We begin to get a good picture of a small community living in each others pockets and a smouldering sexuality between this one and that but as the main character begins to theorise her feeling that there has been a murder in the flat above, the fact that she is talking to her cat is not great. The ending is astonishing and if I had been more in touch with what was going on I would have enjoyed it all the more.

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Not terrible, but could have been a lot better

6/10
Author: The_Void from Beverley Hills, England
4 January 2007

Well, given all I'd heard about this Spanish thriller, I have to say that I went into it expecting more. The only film I'd seen from director Eloy de la Iglesia prior to seeing this one was the Video Nasty Cannibal Man, which doubles up as one of the best films on the Video Nasty list, as well as a damn fine exploitation flick in its own right. This made my expectations rise, and since the plot works from a premise that certainly appeals to me (being a big fan of Giallo), I'm really, really disappointed with what I got. The film focuses on Martha; a lonely housewife who has been left alone in her apartment as her husband is away on one of his frequent business trips. Her upstairs neighbour is a woman named Julie, and she finds herself in a similar situation as her husband too is away a lot, and he happens to be away this time as well. Our lonely housewife soon begins to hear footsteps upstairs and after overhearing a few things, some true...some not quite true, she jumps to the conclusion that the upstairs neighbour has, in fact, killed her husband. Women, eh?

The film is disappointing because of the way that the director handles it. The plot pacing is very sluggish, and the film feels like it doesn't have quite enough plot to keep things interesting for the duration. The central location; an apartment block is good and well used, and Iglesia makes it work with the plot as it's creepy and gritty. The central plot thread is too thin to be stretched too much, and the director does implement several other plot threads into the mix to bulk things out. These aren't all that interesting, however, and since it never feels like the lead character is in any danger until the end, the film also lacks tension and suspense. The two central actresses; Carmen Sevilla and Patty Shepard do their best with what they have, and are a definite credit to the film, despite the awful dubbing on the copy I saw. There's a lack of anything resembling sleaze, which I think a plot line like this needs...although in fairness, I am more used to watching Italian thrillers. Overall, I'm sure there are elements here that people will enjoy - but I can't recommend The Glass Ceiling as I simply didn't find it interesting.

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