WAIT UNTIL DARK meets THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE ... sort of
In London, an amnesiac is abducted and beaten by a stranger who calls him a "dirty son of a double-crosser." When a sniper's bullet kills his attacker, the amnesiac flees the country with airline tickets provided by a wife he never knew he had. Arriving in Portofino, the amnesiac is called a "dirty rotten bastard" by his wife, and threatened by another stranger to return a million dollars in uncut heroin - or die. Duccio Tessari's stylish L'UOMO SENZA MEMORIA/MAN WITHOUT A MEMORY, aka PUZZLE (1974), tears a page or two from Terence Young's WAIT UNTIL DARK, substituting for sightlessness a memory loss that seems self-willed. The more the amnesiac (Luc Merenda) learns of his past, the more he wants to forget (Hal Hartley's indie AMATEUR mined similar territory twenty years later). Tessari (A PISTOL FOR RINGO, DEATH OCCURRED LAST NIGHT, THE BLOODSTAINED BUTTERFLY) and scenarist Ernesto Gastaldi (WEREWOLF IN A GIRL'S DORMITORY, TORSO) make the principal characters surprisingly likeable for giallo pawns and the derivativeness of the narrative is offset by a series of nicely staged setpieces (a razor slashing predates Angie Dickinson's postcoital comeuppance in Brian DePalma's DRESSED TO KILL by more than half a decade). Senta Berger proves an above average heroine, and even gets to brandish a chainsaw in the film's tense conclusion. This film won't convert any new fans to the giallo genre, but should provide an invigorating diversion to those familiar with the rules of the game.
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