6.7/10
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Short Night of Glass Dolls (1971)

La corta notte delle bambole di vetro (original title)
Not Rated | | Horror, Mystery | 30 May 1972 (West Germany)
An American journalist temporarily stationed in Central Europe searches for his new girlfriend, who has suddenly disappeared.

Director:

Aldo Lado

Writers:

Aldo Lado, Rüdiger von Spies (additional dialogue) (as Ruediger von Spiehs)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ingrid Thulin ... Jessica
Jean Sorel ... Gregory Moore
Mario Adorf ... Jacques Versain
Barbara Bach ... Mira Svoboda
Fabijan Sovagovic Fabijan Sovagovic ... Professor Karting (as Fabian Sovagovic)
José Quaglio ... Valinski
Relja Basic ... Ivan
Piero Vida ... Kommissar Kierkoff
Daniele Dublino ... Doctor
Sven Lasta Sven Lasta ... Pravski - Blind Man
Luciano Catenacci ... Morgue Employee
Michaela Martin Michaela Martin ... Girl with Jacques (as Micaela Martin)
Vjenceslav Kapural Vjenceslav Kapural ... Librarian
Jürgen Drews Jürgen Drews ... Street Singer
Semka Sokolovic-Bertok Semka Sokolovic-Bertok ... Nastassja - Gregory's Neighbor (as Semka Sokolovic)
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Storyline

Greg Moore, an American journalist visiting Prague with his girlfriend Mira is found dead. However, he's actually only temporarily paralyzed, but the coroner fails to realize this and proceeds to prepare him for the autopsy. While Moore awaits his doom, he tries to recollect what has happened to him. It all starts when his girl disappears. He asks his friend, a local journalist, for help. They discover that this was just the latest in a series of disappearances of young pretty girls in the area. Their investigation leads them to a strange high profile private club, whose affluent members practice odd ritualistic orgies and bizarre dark rites.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When things are not what they seem...

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Position of a blind man changes from two continuous shots, when Gregory comes into his house. In the first shot he is standing by the door, in the next one he is closer to him. See more »

Quotes

Gregory Moore: [we hear his unspoken thoughts while he is waiting to be taken to the morgue] Dead? I'm dead? Can't be. I'm alive. Can't you tell I'm alive? I've got to make them see. You! Listen to me! Look at me! Can't you hear me? Maybe it's a nightmare. I'll try to wake up. I've got to move. Yeah, a finger. Ca' Can't! I must! Don't leave me like this. Help me! HELP ME!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

The Short Night of the Butterflies
Sung by Jürgen Drews
See more »

User Reviews

 
Transcends the the typical giallo, a stunning classic
17 July 2002 | by hippiedjSee all my reviews

Aldo Lado's directorial debut known by its English title Short Night Of Glass Dolls is a unique, cerebral experience. For those in the United States that have been searching, in 2002 was first released on DVD by Anchor Bay -- I got mine as part of a four-disc "Giallo Collection" that also contains Lado's second feature Who Saw Her Die? Currently in 2018 it's on Blu-ray from Twilight Time and 88 Films.

Short Night Of Glass Dolls was originally titled Short Night Of The Butterfly (also a song in the film), but right before its release another film came out with with the word butterfly in its title, thus the retitling of this one. Malastrana is a title Lado was originally going to call this film but at the insistence of others involved, it was then on to Short Night Of The Butterfly. Too bad Short Night Of Glass Dolls was the main choice, as the Butterfly title would have made much more sense to the story.

Jean Sorel stars as an American reporter found allegedly dead, and yet we hear his thoughts as he is examined in a morgue. His memories take us back to the beginning where he tries to find out the reason for his girlfriend's disappearance (played by a very young Barbara Bach). What follows is not your typical giallo, but a very thought provoking mystical mystery. It evokes the tone of films like Suspiria and The Tenant, and was made years before those. It really does transcend the typical Italian giallo -- most are just murder mysteries with a cast of characters that all have skeletons in the closet and you have to sort through their hangups to see if they have relevance as to "who done it." Here, there is much more going on amidst political unrest and metaphors for "power being fed by the blood of the young." I usually yawn at heavy political stuff the likes of Lina Wertmuller, but Aldo Lado's take is a nicely blended comment as well as visually stunning storytelling.

I really enjoy films from that period of time, as the actors are not so "GQ" looking, nor are they too young for the parts they're playing. The moustached Jean Sorel is nicely cast and easy to sympathize with, you'll find yourself really hoping he solves the mystery and gets out alive. The locations are used well and extremely scenic (another reason I love giallos from the early 1970s). Add to that a really well-written story along with a wonderful Ennio Morricone score and it just couldn't get any better than that! Even the famous "group" scene is handled so well that it does not come across as gratuitous nor cheap.

Short Night Of Glass Dolls is very accomplished filmmaking, and now that it has been restored and looking better than ever on DVD, those with a hunger for something very unique will be quite satisfied.


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Details

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

30 May 1972 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Short Night of the Butterflies See more »

Filming Locations:

Ljubljana, Slovenia See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor) (Techniscope)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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