A beautiful but poor young girl finds all the money and material goods she never had when she becomes the girlfriend of a crime boss, but soon learns that there is a price to be paid for that kind of life.
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Michele Massimo Tarantini
Anna is quiet, living with her parents, cashiering at a café bar in Bergamo. She meets and falls for Guido, a Milanese gangster in town to lie low. He pursues her, but also warns her that he's no good. She goes to Milan with him anyway. When she witnesses a Mob hit, Guido's boss wants her compromised so she will never testify against them: Guido pushes her into prostitution. When she becomes pregnant and Guido wants her to have an abortion, she rebels. Can she escape "the life," or is death the only alternative? What about the child? Written by
Although director Giuliano Carnimeo and European sex symbol Edwige Fenech had teamed up to make one of the pulpiest Italian thrillers of all time, "The Case of the Bloody Iris," in 1972, their next collaboration, 1973's "Secrets of a Call Girl," is hardly a giallo at all. Rather, I would categorize it more as a romantic crime melodrama, in which Edwige gets to show that she's more than just a pretty face (oops...I guess I'm damning with faint praise; make that "incredibly beautiful face"). Her role here as Anna, an innocent coffee shop cashier who falls for the brutish charms of a Mafia thug, really gives her a chance to show the world what all the giallo fans knew before: that she is also an intelligent, subtle and highly skilled actress, as well. Her Anna is soon forced by the Mob to run drugs and turn tricks, but amazingly, she retains her stunning looks even after repeated beatings from her man Guido. Anyway, this film is extremely fast moving (almost too much so for its own good), covering a lot of ground in just 95 minutes, and ultimately gets a tad soapy in its final 1/3, when Anna gets involved with the surgeon who saves her son's life. Carnimeo's direction is surprisingly flashier here than in his previous giallo effort, and composer Luciano Michelini's lovely title tune should have become a standard on the order of "Doctor Zhivago"'s "Lara's Theme." Another treat for me in this film is the presence of one of my favorite actors, Richard Conte, here playing another Don Barzini-type role as the Mafia headman. Whotta class act! My heartiest thanks again to the fine folks at No Shame for another great DVD of a lost Italian classic, with nice subtitling and interesting extras. Keep 'em coming, guys!
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