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A serial killer frightens Paris by phoning young ladies at night, telling them insults about their lives. Minos, as he calls himself, wants to prevent the world from free women and so he targets them. Commissaire Letellier is given the investigation and has a hard time with the maniac. Written by
Frederic Villemin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
What we have here is a crime thriller that includes most of the clichés of the genre, but does it in such a way that it feels original due to the execution. Henri Verneuil's film is really not what I was expecting it to be at all; it's actually a lot more than just a film about cops hunting a vicious psychopath and while not everything about the film works, what does work works brilliantly and this is certainly among the best European crime thrillers of the 1970's. The film is a French and Italian co-production, and while it's clear that the film is much more French than Italian; we still get some trademarks of Italian cinema thrown in and the film has elements of both the Polizi and Giallo genres. The plot simply focuses on an unknown serial killer that targets loose women in Paris by way of phone calls and later murder. Commissioner Jean Letellier and Inspector Moissac are put on the case and have to go through the Parisian underworld before coming close to catching the killer and discovering his insane reason for murdering the women of Paris.
The thing that really makes this film stand out is the leading performances courtesy of Jean-Paul Belmondo and Charles Denner. The pair fit into their roles excellently individually and have a great chemistry also, which director Henri Verneuil is keen to exploit as much as possible as the two actors provide the film with most of its best moments and also deliver some comedy. The film is not overly gory and the focus is never on the murders; although there are a few featured and the way that the director focuses on the killer's black gloves is a nice nod towards Giallo. The film features many of the crime film staples such as car chases and shootouts; a sequence that sees the main protagonist chase the killer in the middle of the film is excellently staged and very thrilling. The film changes pace many times throughout but the director always manages to keep things interesting. Adalberto Maria Merli's portrayal of the villain is suitably demented and detestable and the way that the film boils down towards the conclusion is well done and completely unexpected. Overall, this is an excellent film that doesn't deserve to be forgotten about and therefore comes highly recommended!
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