A Black Veil for Lisa (1968) Poster

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An intricately-plotted giallo
Leofwine_draca24 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The director famous for his controversial giallo classic WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE?, Massimo Dallamano, also directed this earlier contribution to the giallo genre which focuses more on police procedure and investigation over the usual murder-mystery antics that the genre offers, although sex and violence are still main ingredients. This Italian thriller, however, is gripping stuff, especially due to an unforeseen and genuinely impressive twist which comes about halfway through.

A BLACK VEIL FOR LISA benefits hugely from the setting of '60s Hamburg, the decade reflected by a hummable and stylish soundtrack. The script is intelligent and the characters are particularly well-developed, especially John Mills' increasingly desperate Inspector Bulov whose life becomes more and more complicated throughout. Dallamano directs with the typical Italian flourish of having stylish camera angles and good, colourful photography which makes the film visually appealing. The plot twists and turns as layers of the story are constantly peeled off only to deepen the mystery and make the film more complex to watch (it's never confusing, either, often a flaw of these clever-clever mystery thrillers).

Mills is a familiar actor with considerably more fame than most gialli stars, and his appearance is definitely a departure from his more typically Hollywood roles. However, he copes admirably with the complex part and succeeds in creating a likable, believable character whom one can identify with despite all his flaws and mistakes. Robert Hoffmann is also very good as charismatic killer Max, and it's a mark of an actor's talent that he fits the role like a glove. The glorious Luciana Paluzzi, of THUNDERBALL fame, grabs an ultimate femme fatale role and is quietly brilliant at it. The supporting cast are uniformly good in their parts. A BLACK VEIL FOR LISA lacks the graphic violence of '70s Italian productions, but the combination of strong acting and an excellent plot make this movie worthwhile and a decent Italian spin on Hitchcockian themes.
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Character-driven Giallo masterpiece!
The_Void11 May 2006
A Black Veil for Lisa is one of the earlier films in the Giallo cycle, and has taken much of its influence from the film noir style of film-making. Directed by Massimo Dallamano, the man behind the unofficial 'Schoolgirls in Peril' trilogy, the film is often seen as trash; but personally, I couldn't disagree more. With this movie, Dallamano takes us on a roller-coaster of emotion and the director does an excellent job of setting out the characters, their situations and motives; which is a great benefit to a film that is very much character driven. The twisted plot emerges from the character's flaws, and follows the themes of jealousy, love and revenge. We follow Inspector Bulov; a man on the case of a murderer that is leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. He polices the streets and also his wife; the buxom and beautiful Lisa. Our leading man has a few years on his beautiful other half, and this combined with her character has lead him to relentlessly follow her every move, even to the point where it interferes with his work. And to say any more about the plot, would spoil the film!

A Black Veil for Lisa benefits from a trio of great central performances. John Mills gives it his all in the lead role, which sees him looking and acting the part of the jealous husband brilliantly. Mills also brings a distinct British style to the picture, which lends it a classy feel which is unlike other Giallo films. The title role is taken by former Bond girl Luciana Paluzzi, and while she isn't given too much time to shine acting wise; she looks the part and brilliantly offsets Mills' leading performance. Robert Hoffmann rounds off the central cast in the role of the murderer, and while he looks a bit too polished to viciously commit murder, his good looks serve him well after the first twist has been dealt out. This Giallo is unlike others in that there is no mystery surrounding the identity of the murderer; and the focus of the movie is always on the relationship between the central characters. The order of priority regarding this is shown brilliantly by the dubious way that the identity of the killer is revealed; it's not very realistic, but it does relate to the character - and this film is all about its characters. Overall, A Black Veil for Lisa is a great Giallo and one that I hope gets a decent DVD release soon so more people will be able to see it!
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From The Theme Song: "If Lisa Had A Heart She Never Let It Shooowww!"...
azathothpwiggins24 August 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Inspector Franz Bulon (John Mills) suspects his wife Lisa (Luciana Paluzzi) of sabotaging a big narcotics case he's working on. He also believes she's having an affair.

Meanwhile, a mysterious black-gloved killer is bumping off criminals before the police can question them. Bulon, driven by jealousy, tracks down the killer in order to see if he can help him with his marital problems.

A BLACK VEIL FOR LISA is a great giallo with several twists. Straying from the typical formula, we know what's going on ahead of time, we just don't know how it will play out. It does bog down a bit toward the end, but the finale redeems it...
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competent and engaging mystery
Not the wildest of gialli, if indeed, it really does qualify as one, but a most competent and engaging mystery. John Mills is surprisingly good as the ageing husband to the flirty Bond girl, Luciana Paluzzi and although the bad boy seems far too glamorous for the role, Robert Hoffman does well. Decent script, which always helps and what starts simply enough becomes far more involved as we progress. Indeed we quickly learn who the killer is but not why or just how many are involved. That Mills plays as an Englishman gives this a certain slant that helps make the film different from others of the time and though the music is somewhat flat, seems fitting enough for the drab location. I don't know where this was shot but it doesn't look like Italy so is perhaps Germany or even Austria. No stunning set pieces and the flashes of nudity seem added and likely to not be Paluzzi.
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"She let me in....so to speak"
Bezenby23 June 2017
Massimo Dallamano made the great Bandidos and the also great What Have You Done To You Daughters, but here takes things a bit too laid back and therefore we end up with an okay giallo that could have used a nice kick in the arse plot wise.

It's still interesting enough, mind you. You have a detective (the almost immortal John Mills) who is investigating a series of knife murders in Hamburg (this is where the black gloved killer comes in and this isn't the last giallo set in Hamburg either). The problem is, the detective has this young, hot, young, hot, sexy, young, mysterious, hot, young, tepid, young, hot, young wife who had possible links to a criminal past but the detective's totally over that and he's only phoning her a hundred times a day to see if she needs milk, right?

So we move from the giallo that has the 'who is the gloved killer?' plot to that other kind of giallo - the kind where you have no idea what everyone is up to until the last ten minutes. Most of the time those turn out to be the more entertaining giallo but we have just a bit too much in the old dialogue stakes here and less on the actual action.

Still, Dallamano's skills as a cinematographer shine through nice and bright, but for some reason the sleaze that sticks to his other films is missing here. It's still worth tracking down but isn't any lost classic or anything.
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Thriller with unlikely plot details and casting, but a decent effort nonetheless.
barnabyrudge5 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
If only I had a pound for every time a big British or American movie star lent their name to a European film venture. It was a common ploy in the 60's and 70's, designed to give films a certain appeal outside their country of origin. In this one, John Mills is the star in question and he is easily the best thing about this thriller, even if he is rather miscast. It is hard to believe Mills would be married to fiery red-headed femme fatale Luciana Paluzzi, and harder still to swallow the concept of him as a hard-edged cop who throws gangsters and drug dealers around his office like some 9-stone version of Dirty Harry. However, if one can forgive these unlikely contrivances, the film does have its share of intriguing moments.

Hamburg cop, Franz Bulon (John Mills) is trying to bring down a major drug syndicate in the city. However every time he gets close to a potential informant, the said person has a nasty knack of turning up dead. Bulon's superiors are concerned that his mind doesn't seem to be on the job, which is why he is being thwarted at every turn. And to a degree they're right – because Bulon is so preoccupied with keeping tabs on his wife Lisa (Luciana Paluzzi) that he isn't keeping on top of the rest of his work. He suspects that she is having an affair, and is plagued by thoughts of her with other men. When Bulon eventually tracks down Alex (Robert Hoffman), the assassin that has been picking off his informants, he decides not to charge him but instead hires him kill his wife…

A giallo thriller which tips its hat to the hard-boiled film noirs of the 40's and 50's, La Morte Non Ha Sesso is a perfectly watchable film throughout. The plot keeps you guessing, the music and photography create a suitably murky mood, and the film moves briskly enough to avoid taxing the patience, There have been a few notably scathing reviews of the film – the Radio Times claims it "hardly passes muster in any department", and castigates it as "one of John Mills's lowest career points". Such criticism is hardly warranted in all honesty. La Morte Non Ha Sesso is certainly no masterpiece but it is an intriguing minor thriller with flashes of style.
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deserves far greater plaudits, since its relative obscurity is wholly undeserved.
Weirdling_Wolf23 January 2014
Regarded by many cult cineastes as being somewhat of an unsung Giallo maestro, Massimo 'What Have They Done to Solange' (1972)Dallamano directed 'A Black Veil for Lisa' aka 'La Morte Non Ha Sesso' (1968) as a rather early-doors entry in the soon-to-be-blooming Gialli cycle, and it proved to not only be a worthy effort, but a tremendously engrossing, twist-headed thriller to boot! While this does utilize the prototypical Giallo motif of the darkly glistering, black gloved killer, the remarkably sedate film wisely eschews much of the hysteria of the playfully giddy genre and proposes a more sombre examination of sexual infidelity and the pursuant jealousies it inevitably engenders.

If anything 'A Black Veil for Lisa' follows a far more stolid, almost Krimi-like narrative; one where a shadowy hit-man nefariously employed by a vicious mob of drug dealers is blithely bumping off all those who cross their perfidious path; and when this murderous trail inevitably comes to the attention of reliably stoical Inspector Franz Bulon (John Mills) his valiant investigations ultimately proposes a logical but devastating solution to his murky, marital frustrations. John Mills is on truly excellent form as the paranoid cuckold inspector; blue-eyed Robert Hoffman is suitably suave and sinfully charming as the libidinous killer and preternaturally luscious Luciana Paluzzi makes for memorably luminous eye candy; while she does little more than pout around the gaff in a salacious serenade of sinfully skimpy outfits, this exquisite auburn-haired temptress does this with a most eye-catching élan!

Maestro Dallamano rigorously directs this delightfully engaging Giallo with real cinematic verve, and the garotte taut narrative coils its inexorable way to a genuinely desperate, nerve-flayingly anxious conclusion. 'A Black Veil for Lisa' is refined late-night entertainment, a stiletto cool, full-throttle thriller with credible dramatic performances and a palpably joyous filmic fluency, its somewhat incongruent obscurity belies a truly immersive, beauteous-looking, late-60s, Martini-age Giallo classic!
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Quality character drive giallo
Prof-Hieronymos-Grost19 July 2007
Inspector Franz Bulon (Sir John Mills) is a veteran Hamburg police detective in charge of a drugs investigation, but is finding it hard to break the case, his mind is elsewhere…on his beautiful young wife Lisa (Luciana Paluzzi) that is, a former criminal herself, though never convicted, a fact that Bulon's colleagues never let him forget, Bulon's problem is that he suspects Lisa of cheating on him a fact he can't quite prove, until one day he thinks he has caught her out and sets about hiring a local killer Max Lindt,(Robert Hoffman) the man behind the killings of witnesses in his drugs investigation, to kill his wife in return for him hiding the evidence building against him.

A Black Veil for Lisa deviates from normal giallo practice by telling us who the killer is, much like Luigi Cozzi's The Killer must kill again. The story is driven by the man (Bulov) who hires the killer to do his dirty work, as a result, Dallamano replaces the lack of mystery with some decent character development, Mills is excellent and portrays well Bulov's obsessiveness with his wife's cheating, which ultimately leads to his own self destruction.
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Builds up to a predictable finale
dopefishie12 November 2021
Builds up to a predictable finale.

First, this film lacks important giallo qualities. Most importantly, there is no mystery about who the killer is. It's a relatively bloodless film with little cat-and-mouse/stalking shenanigans to speak of.

On the plus side, there are some good characters here. They are well-written and well-acted. However, after the build up of suspense around tulips and around the police report in the envelope, there is no payoff. Things play out to their natural conclusion. There are no surprises to be had here.
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'Gilda' Goes Giallo!
dwingrove23 February 2004
So few Euro directors have done more to exile themselves from the arthouse pantheon than Massimo Dallamano. His work is slick, trashy and stylish in the manner of a fashion supplement in one of the cheaper Sunday newspapers. Yet at least three of his films are compelling studies in morbid sexuality and erotic obsession. A Black Veil for Lisa is nowhere near as famous as Venus in Furs or Dorian Gray, but it's still an intriguing brew. Imagine a giallo version of Proust's La Prisonniere with sex, drugs and serial killings thrown into the mix.

Like the other two films, it has a protagonist whose physical beauty and sexual magnetism leave her immune to the qualms of everyday good behaviour. Lisa is played by Luciana Paluzzi - a voluptuous, flame-haired tigress who's best remembered as the bad girl in Thunderball. Like almost every Bond girl since Ursula Andress, she somehow failed to become a great star. Bitterly unjust, as Paluzzi in this film is a femme fatale to rival Rita Hayworth in Gilda. We can well understand the anxieties of her drab and dreary husband (John Mills) who obsessively polices her every move.

The mystery, of course, is why Lisa married this old dolt in the first place. Suspecting his wife of sleeping around, Mills commits a grave breach of professional ethics (he's a police inspector, no less) and blackmails a hunky hitman (Robert Hoffmann) to kill her. Naturally, Lisa and said hitman fall in love...and there are plenty more twists where that came from. A Black Veil for Lisa could never be mistaken for Art. Still, it's a potent reminder that Trash is often more fun!
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Exceptional Giallo with Great Cast
info-627-6644399 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The 1968 film, "A Black Veil for Lisa" ("La Morte Non Ha Sesso") starring John Mills, Luciana Paluzzi and Robert Hoffman was directed by Massimo Dallamano in Eastmancolor and Widescreen. Dallamano also directed "The Secret of Dorian Gray" (1970) starring Helmut Berger and "What Have You Done to Solange?" (1972). I have never seen Luciana with a better part or one more substantial and John Mills is excellent in a role he could be considered "miscast" but it is really more a departure for him and becomes one more wonderful facet of a rewarding career. He played a similarly obsessed top brass to the point of question to his sanity with his award-winning role in "Tunes of Glory." Although the film is not as well known, Dallamano's direction is wonderfully realized. The music is exceptional by Gianfranco Reverberi with cinematography by Angelo Lotti.
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