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Bearable but ultimately weak sleazoid thriller obscurity
Devoted fan of sleazy and violent obscurities that I am I sorely wish I could get behind this one more. The tale of a frayed and fragile erotic model plagued by nasty phone calls and a killer targeting her co workers, Knife Under The Throat packs sleazy nudity and a bit of fun violence, but never really comes together in a satisfactory fashion, despite some nice moments and a fairly solid finale. A good deal of the problem with it comes down to the too dark cinematography, during night scenes or simply darker ones this is difficult to make out, I assume that the version I saw was culled from an old French VHS and given fan subtitles but unless a remastered copy comes out or a better quality version is discovered for me to re-evaluate I have to say that the version around that fans are likely to come across isn't of terribly good quality. It's nice just to be able to see such a rare French sleaze film but still, this is completists only stuff. And the problem isn't just in the darker scenes, overall this suffers from being a good deal too short. The IMDb lists the runtime as 84 minutes, what I saw had the credits rolling at 75, with two and a half minutes of end credits and I can't see any scenes which appeared to be noticeably trimmed, editing seemed fairly coherent and judging on one or two of the seedier scenes (shots of female pubic hair during a rape for instance) I'd be surprised if other stuff was removed, especially since I'm not sure this one ever had a wider release that might have been cut in the first place (plus format speed issues and IMDb's occasional inaccuracies may well be in play). So worries about censorship aside, the upshot of the short run-time is that neither the characters, the plot or the erotic photography milieu are ever explored to an effective degree and suspense is a little sparse. On the plus side, this one never gets dull and the game performances keep it moving nicely. Florence Guerin is an affecting heroine, beautiful and sympathetic as a character unusually abused and undeservedly misunderstood, while Jean-Pierre Maurin ably chews the scenery as a slimeball photographer. Alexandre Sterling provides a measure of light as a helpful neighbour, while French erotic legend and Jean Rollin regular Brigitte Lahaie has a callous yet ultimately understandable and business like side role as the manager of the films photography business. There are also a couple of gnarly kills and modestly twisted sleaze for genre fans to chew on, so those that simply have to watch this won't be at a complete loss, though it isn't good enough to recommend hunting down unless you come across a version longer than mine. Watch it if you simply must see every available sexy thriller/horror out there, or if you happen to be a big fan of director Claude Mulot (this is his last film), best known for Pussy Talk but otherwise one to pass on I'd say.
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