So Sweet... So Perverse (1969) Poster

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Carroll Baker, excellent as ever
christopher-underwood23 March 2013
Great title and if not particularly appropriate for the film, no matter, for this is a fine film. Carroll Baker, excellent as ever, although she does keep herself fairly well covered here and not always in the most stunning of outfits, Jean-Louis Trintignant does pretty much what he always does, well and Erika Blanc puts in a very strong performance. Solid directing by Lenzi, might have been stylish but pan and scan print ensures it does not appear so, and for the first half we have a rather fun, colourful and bright story of an extramarital affair. Things change, however, just as we begin to wonder if all is as it seems things change very much indeed. Hardly any blood or bare skin for that matter but a most involving tale, exceedingly well told, that certainly starts to flip about towards the end. Indeed until the very end!
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Great Giallo! (I think)
lazarillo25 September 2004
This movie (not to be confused with another Carroll Baker vehicle "Kiss Me, Kill Me" aka "Baba Yagi--the Witch")is Umberto Lenzi's follow-up to his groundbreaking classic "Paranoia". It came out the same year as Dario Argento's "The Bird with Crystal Plumage" (the film which started the deluge of Italian gialli) and was produced by the Martino brothers, who later made a number of interesting giallo films (usually featuring Eugenio Martino's alluring mistress, Edwige Fenech). It stars Carroll Baker, demonstrating her acting chops here by playing a character that is the exact opposite of the naive victim she played in "Paranoia", and it also features two excellent, native European actors--Jean Loius Trintignant and the gorgeous Erica Blanc. The script is surprisingly well-written and full of suspense and genuine surprises. It is a clever variation on the classic French film "Diabolique" with a decadent, high-society husband (Tritignant), wife (Blanc), and mistress (Baker) all crossing and double-crossing each other. It cleverly plays with the viewers awareness of the earlier film before throwing in an unexpected curve.

It also seems to be very well filmed. (It's hard to believe that years later Lenzi would be making nauseating and inept cannibal films like "Cannibal Ferox" or just plain inept American slasher movies like "Hitcher in the Dark"). I say seems, however, because this film is only available on second or third generation copies of Greek videotapes that are not only panned-and-scanned, but are very badly panned-and-scanned so that the characters are often halfway off the screen. Trying to appreciate this movie is like trying to appreciate a beautiful painting that has both sides cropped off and is covered with really murky cellophane (and burnt-in Greek subtitles). If Lenzi's crap movies like "Ferox", "Hitcher", and even, god help us all,"Eaten Alive", can get the star DVD treatment, why can't "Paranoia" or this little gem?

Oh, but I almost forgot--despite the title there isn't too much perversity here. Baker has a lot more nude scenes in "Paranoia". There is some Blanc-related nudity (although, in my opinion, you can never have enough of that), but the lesbian relationship between the two of them is unfortunately only hinted at. Of course, it may just have been cropped out. . .
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One of Lenzi's best Giallo's!
The_Void11 August 2007
Umberto Lenzi Giallo's range in quality from sublime to trash, but his earlier genre entries tended to be the best; and So Sweet...So Perverse is certainly at the higher end of Lenzi's Giallo achievements. One of the trademarks of Giallo is a high dosage of sex scenes; but despite the fact that this film has the word 'perverse' in it's title; So Sweet...So Perverse is actually not all that perverse at all, especially not by Giallo standards. Rather, the film focuses more on the plot details than perversity, and it just about serves it well. Italian directors were famous for ripping of successful films from other countries, and the plot here is clearly lifted from the French classic 'Les Diaboliques'. We focus on a couple with marital problems; Jean and Danielle. When Jean hears a woman screaming in the upstairs apartment one day, he immediately decides to investigate. There he finds Nicole; a woman frightened of her boyfriend Klaus. The pair soon begin to fall in love, but it later transpires that this was just a trap set to snare Jean...

So Sweet...So Perverse is a classy little thriller and much unlike later Lenzi Giallo's such as Eyeball, almost everything about the film is well done. The film benefits from a good cast, which feature early Lenzi muse Carroll Baker in the central female. Baker's role here initially appears to be a lot like her role in the earlier 'Orgasmo', but she soon gets to switch to a more interesting character. Baker is joined by the sexy Erika Blanc, and like most Giallo's with two sexy leading women; the pair do get to get it on, although you shouldn't go in expecting a full blown lesbian sex scene. Jean-Louis Trintignant rounds off the cast, but isn't given as much to do as the ladies. The plot does get a bit slow at times, but the film never slows down to the point of becoming boring. The second half is much more exciting than the first as that is when the plot gets into full flow. When the twists start to come into play, So Sweet...So Perverse really is an intriguing thriller and unlike many Giallo's, this one also features an ending that wraps most of the plot up nicely. This film is highly recommended to Giallo fans!
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Not one of Lenzi's better pictures
Red-Barracuda26 June 2012
So Sweet...So Perverse is one of the late 60's gialli that Umberto Lenzi directed. It's an Italian variant on H.G. Clouzot's Les Diaboliques. It focuses on a couple with martial difficulties. The husband is lured into the arms of an upstairs neighbour who is being terrorised by a brutal boyfriend. But all is not what it seems.

This one has a pretty good cast. The husband is the brooding Jean-Louis Tritignant (Death Laid an Egg), the wife is Erika Blanc (Kill, Baby…Kill!), the mistress is played by Caroll Baker (Baba Yaga)) and the boyfriend is the sinister Horst Frank (The Cat o' Nine Tails). Unfortunately, the film itself isn't a great vehicle for these actors. The story itself is not too engaging and there was a distinct lack of thrills and suspense in this one. In fairness, though, a lot of my frustration came from the awful copy that seems to be available of it. It was a terrible pan and scan job, that not only cuts off the sides of the picture but the top and bottom too! It means that the framing is constantly out and most of the shots are close-ups of the actors. This really effected my enjoyment of this one. I would like to revisit it when/if it is given a half-decent transfer.
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"Klaus will always come between us."
radiobirdma7 May 2016
If you don't get Klaus Kinski, why not simply name the bad guy ... Klaus! After such a cunning production move – Klaus being played by German 60s scoundrel regular Horst Frank, flown in directly from the set of one of Jürgen Roland's stuffy St. Pauli whores-&-pimps flicks –, there's few directions to go but down, and neither pallid Frenchman J-L Trintignant nor "Baby Doll" Carroll Baker can provide the slightest bit of uplift. And in fact, it's not Klaus who's coming between them, but a) Riz Ortolani's annoying soundtrack, especially the ear-cancer inducing theme canzone, and b) the convoluted mess of the script by hackmeister Ernesto Gastaldi, a pseudo-clever double-crossing murder scheme stolen shamelessly from Les Diaboliques (for his version of Strangers on a Train, see the stunning densefest Lo strano vizio della Signora Wardh). As for Horst Frank, he's almost as smug as Tarantino favorite Christoph Waltz. Almost, and if legend is true, he also suggested a much more fitting title for this Euro stinker: Klaustrophobia.
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Diaboliques II
dbdumonteil21 April 2012
Caroll Baker :from Elia Kazan and John Ford to Umberto Lanzi:what a fall!to be fair,you must underline she played opposite Nicholson -quite well- in the overlooked "ironweed" ;this is not the kind of movie Jean Louis Trintignant must be very proud of !two years after Claude Chabrol's "Les Biches " in which he slept with two bisexual women too.

The first part recalls a poor man's Chabrol,depicting the luxury world of the bourgeoisie .Trintignant ,a very earnest thespian,seems ill at ease ,but the women often strip bare ,to the viewer's great enjoyment.

The second part is Lenzi trying to make his own "Diaboliques" :the heroine 's first name is Nicole ,like in Clouzot's classic ;it's almost absolute plagiarism -except for the mediocre ending- ,including the "clues" Baker scatters to frighten her mate and to make her believe that her dear husband might possibly be still alive .

Take Dario Argento's movies instead:their screenplays ,though influenced by Hitchcock ,are much more exciting and original.
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"He enjoys using me! It's sick!"
moonspinner5513 September 2015
Carroll Baker's second of four films with Italian director Umberto Lenzi (whose standard predilection for amusingly arty camera angles, lesbian flirtations and bare-breasted women did little to enhance his reputation as a filmmaker) is agonizingly slow and woefully overlong. A French businessman, unfaithful to the haughty wife he no longer loves, becomes infatuated with the American woman living in the apartment above his, the apparent victim of spousal abuse. The men in Lenzi's giallo productions are never required to strip below the waist, leaving his actresses looking vulnerable and used. Baker manages to stay covered most of the time, but the role doesn't require anything additional from her. Poorly-dubbed, blurry-romantic escapades among the decadent and doomed. * from ****
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check your brain at the door and enjoy the style
dopefishie24 December 2020
Check your brain at the door and enjoy the style

This film looks great, sounds great, and is well acted. However, the plot is full of holes and red herrings.

It's good for a single viewing, but the lack of cohesion with scenes that don't make sense given the overall story detracts from its rewatchability.
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Diaboliques cover
BandSAboutMovies15 June 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Umberto Lenzi's early giallo - before the Argento influenced Seven Blood Stained Orchids - feel more like film noir than the standard films of the genre. Speaking of that same movie, it would also use the J. Vincent Edward song "Why." And while we're discussing influences, this movie is definitely feeling all sorts of Les Diaboliques.

Jean (Jean-Louis Trintignant, Amour) is a rich socialite who has come to the aid of Nicole (Carroll Baker!), a gorgeous woman mixed up with Klaus (Horst Frank, The Dead Are Alive). Sure, Jean is married, but that doesn't stop him from falling for her, even when he learns that she's been paid to kill him. Of course, his wife Danielle (Erika Blanc!) is mixed up in this, but Nicole is smarter than she seems. Beryl Cunningham (The Salamanders) is also in this as a dancer and Helga Line (Nightmare Castle) is on hand as well.

This was produced by Sergio Martino and has a screenplay by Ernesto Gastaldi, the writer of The Whip and the Body, The Possessed, The Sweet Body of Deborah and All the Colors of the Dark. And check out that Riz Ortolani score!
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About one half dull, one half good
jadavix3 March 2019
"So Sweet, So Perverse" is an early giallo produced and directed by the double team of Sergio Martino, of the black-glove classic "Torso", and Umberto Lenzi, who is best known for his notorious "Cannibal Ferox", but worked in virtually all the popular Italian exploitation genres.

I'm not really sure what to make of it. It takes half the run-time for anything to really happen: first, an old man almost kills a younger guy shooting clay pigeons, the gun going off and barely missing him. Then we are introduced to a beautiful black girl (called "the latest acquisition" by the sophisticated types gialli are always about) who strips, showing her breasts, at a party.

The movie seems to be about tensions between an older gent, his beautiful young wife, and a younger man who enters the picture.

One of the guys ends up dead, though this is unseen, and then two women think they're going to be next.

It becomes a bit like "I Know What You Did Last Summer", with messages written on windows by a killer. The only difference is, they're the only one who knows: I missed whatever these two women are supposed to have done. Obviously they are responsible for the death of one of the guys. But I don't understand how.

The movie actually culminates in some fairly exciting scenes, so I'll still give it a moderately positive review. Just the first half of the movie is dead weight.
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Plodding early giallo from Umberto Lenzi
tomgillespie200220 March 2019
The giallo may have been pioneered by the great Mario Bava and spectacularly refined by Dario Argento, but Umberto Lenzi was developing the techniques and stylings we now know and love from the mid-1960s. Before he became known for schlocky horror trash like Eaten Alive!, Nightmare City and Cannibal Ferox, Lenzi was toying with rich socialites and exploring pulpy, dime-store stories that often involved ridiculous, labyrinthine plots, psychedelic interiors, and beautiful, untrustworthy women. These are all ingredients of the giallo, and some of these early Lenzi efforts hint at a director with an eye for kitschy visuals, something that certainly doesn't come to mind when you watch a native tribesman scalp a poor traveller in the despicable Cannibal Ferox. These eye-catching visuals are certainly present in his 1969 film So Sweet... So Perverse, but there isn't much else to hold the attention in this plodding soap opera.

Handsome, jet-setting socialite Jean Reynaud (Jean-Louis Trintignant) enjoys a lavish lifestyle of cocktail parties and shooting ranges, but he has grown bored and frustrated with the lack of passion in his marriage to the beautiful Danielle (Erika Blanc). To counter this, Jean sleeps with anybody who happens to catch his eye, including his friend Helene (Helga Line), and his head is turned by the woman who has just moved upstairs, Nicole (Carroll Baker). When he hears screams coming from above, he rushes to Nicole's aid, learning that she is stuck in an abusive sexual relationship with her husband Klaus (Horst Frank). As they spend more time together, the couple inevitably fall in love, yet whenever they escape for a weekend, Klaus always manages to track them down. After a night of passion, Nicole reveals that she and Klaus have actually been paid a hefty sum to lure in and eventually kill Jean, but that the one doing the hiring has not yet revealed themselves.

With such a cool-sounding title (yet another famous trait of the gialli), there is nothing sweet and little perverse about the film itself. Argento eventually set a high standard for story-telling and the slow-building of tension within a vital set-piece, and the likes of Lucio Fulci and Sergio Martino added gory violence and a graceful style into the mix, but So Sweet... So Perverse is frustratingly tame, failing to ignite much interest in the plot or generate any excitement when events take a more sinister tone. Where Lenzi ultimately excels is in the glossy cinematography and dazzling interiors, which are garish enough to amusingly satirise the world of these detached characters and their materialistic lifestyles. Images of sun-drenched locations, expensive suits and beautiful, provocative women add a sleazy glamour and seductive glaze to the film, a hedonistic way-of-life Lenzi is happy to indulge as he shrewdly condemns it. It isn't quite enough to prevent So Sweet... So Perverse from becoming little more than a curious cinematic artefact, that ultimately paved the way for better directors to come along and take this new genre by the scruff.
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good strangeness but overall could have been better
eyesofsociety17 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
this movie had some interesting strangeness to it but it could have been better.

--possible spoiler--

some of the things i favored about the movie was the creative way it showed that the bondage woman was the person causing all the mischief. however, it doesn't really explain why. there is really no explanation why the main character photographer was possessed by a witch.

some other thing that caught my eye was the symbolism in her dreams... perhaps showing her guilt for causing things to happen (in the dream for instance, she punches out her friend in a boxing rink). some of the scenes reminds me of something David lynch would put into his movie.

furthermore, some things are left unexplained like the hole and the nazis. maybe the hole symbolizing PLOT holes in the movie? hah.

--end spoiler--

but all in all, the movie had little substance. it's basically just a movie about a pretty woman photographer that gets possessed by a witch (and we do not know why the witch is doing that) and they add some strange symbolism to explain her feelings.

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Fun and enjoyable thriller effort
kannibalcorpsegrinder20 November 2020
Trying to keep their marriage afloat, a man begins to be slowly drawn to his new upstairs neighbor and begins to woe her even though she claims to be in danger, and when it proves true as he becomes a stranger's target tries to get to the bottom of her stories to be able to save her.

This was a rather solid and enjoyable outing. Among its best features comes from the strong build-up to the overall thriller aspects here. As this one generates some intriguing elements here with the strained, loveless marriage fueled by his unfaithfulness, the potential intrigue of a new relationship with the upstairs neighbor and the baggage she brings featuring the troubled relationship involving the strange man following him around creates an engaging setup. As everything gets equal timing to where his womanizing matters interfere with their marriage and their new burgeoning romance at the expense of his time around his wife gives everything a nice clarity. There's also quite a lot to like as the series of games that emerge from this setup. As the idea of the stranger following them is also planning to kill him by using her as bait in the orchestrated plan, there's a fine intrigue at play here with the change in loyalty involving who she's really playing for as the constant claims of his mistreatment towards her contradicting her claims of what she's doing it for. The exceptional twist about their game gets played off masterfully about the necessary steps to carry it out which is a logical plan to think through in how this thoughtfully changes everyone's allegiances when all the pieces get revealed. As this setup gives the film a lot to like regarding the sleaze elements on display, there's quite a lot to like with this one. There are some issues to be had here. One of the main problems is the somewhat sluggish first half that doesn't develop much in the way of a thriller setup. Since it focuses on his cheating and romancing the neighbor in such a lazy manner, this doesn't offer much in the way of excitement as there's nothing about why he does. Despite being incredibly attractive, there's nothing given here about why he goes for her as deep as he does as quickly after meeting, overall making this feel somewhat underwhelming. The other real issue is a somewhat problematic factor in the second half where the twists are revealed and the hysterical screaming doesn't seem realistic to the setup since everything's gone to plan but instead this just feels highly unrealistic about the purpose for it. While none of these are truly detrimental, they do lower this slightly.

Rated Unrated/R: Nudity, Sex Scenes, Language and Mild Violence.
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A film that runs out of twists
Bezenby15 July 2017
It seems that prior to Dario Argento's The Bird With The Crystal Plumage that normal template for gialli was the 'mystery amongst devious people' rather than the 'loads of babes being sliced up'. This is yet another one of those films, with a rather low body count (two!).

Jean (he's a fanny rat, but hard to like, because he's French), is a rich playboy who is not getting any of his wife (Erika Blanc - she looks like David Bowie), so looks for other avenues to explore. When the film opens, he's banging his mate's wife, but soon he discovers a new blonde has moved into the apartment above his.

There's something strange going with this new blonde too, because Jean is hearing the scraping of furniture and what sounds like someone being slapped around, but when he goes to the front door of his new neighbour, no one answers. When he does finally get to meet her she claims that her boyfriend Klaus loves beating her up and stuff.

Soon the two fall in love (queue montage!) much to the dismay of Blanc and the delight of Klaus, and it's roughly about the halfway mark that the twists start happening so I'll stop there. Needless to say that one character goes from being vulnerable to evil, allegiances changes again and again and the hippy vibe of the late sixties shines through loud and clear.

However, Lenzi seems to have had a vision of the state of Italian film ten years later and injected the film with scenes that make no sense whatsoever, for instance the credits sequence. Jean drives about with a rifle in his car and we get flashes of one of his lovers but this has nothing to do with the rest of the film. Plus, Carrol Baker has a velvet lined cabinet in her apartment full of instruments of torture. This has nothing to do with anything either.

On the other side, Lenzi also injects an amazingly high amount of style into the film too, what with an early example of the use of primary colours (soon to be a trend in the gialli) - there's one scene that's stands out when Jean is forced to snog Carrol Baker while someone keeps changing the lighting to various colours, Nicely done.
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