In the title credits of the German Version, Riccardo Freda is credited as "Richard Freda", making the Director's first name sounding more German as Freda wasn't very well known in West Germany. See more »
Nudity removed for US television screenings not restored to video. Rerelease in France had new sex footage featuring Alice Arno added. See more »
I fell in love with this movie from its first frame. Or, at any rate, the first BOOM-BANG-CRASH-WALLOP of its fabulously over-the-top piano soundtrack - as if Liberace were stationed just off camera, with blazing gold candelabra and rhinestone-studded Steinway grand. Its visuals are, if possible, lusher than its score. Crystal vases weep rose petals over the photo of a murdered woman. Venetian glass mirrors reflect the elegantly chiselled face of Klaus Kinski - glowering at us seductively over a polka-dotted silk cravat.
If you are used to Kinski hamming it up in a Herzog epic, his role here is a revelation. As a London millionaire who may or may not have murdered his lesbian wife, he is so subtle and ambiguous, so - dare I say it? - restrained that he keeps us guessing right up until the last few seconds. Seeing her 'come back to life' in a porno film (shot after her death) Kinski's face takes on a haunted look that outdoes all his raving, eye-rolling and tooth-gnashing in more famous roles.
Proof, if proof were needed, that director Riccardo Freda was not just a great unsung visual stylist, but a maestro of mood and suspense. Imagine a Chabrol or Hitchcock with the eye of a Renaissance painter, and you come close to the splendours of this film. So exquisite in its visual detail that its minor flaws - i.e. blatantly fake model car wrecks; continuity howlers such as Kinski walking bareheaded through Soho, then sitting in a nightclub with his hat on - simply evaporate before our eyes.
Oh, and I even like the tacky Italian pop ballad that keeps recurring as a 'clue' - to oddly chilling effect. So perhaps I'm just a sucker for this type of film.
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