The secretary of a writer and his wife investigates the disappearance of her lover - who was her employers' previous secretary - and finds herself the target of the couple's erotic desires a... Read allThe secretary of a writer and his wife investigates the disappearance of her lover - who was her employers' previous secretary - and finds herself the target of the couple's erotic desires and a murder plot.The secretary of a writer and his wife investigates the disappearance of her lover - who was her employers' previous secretary - and finds herself the target of the couple's erotic desires and a murder plot.
AMUCK! (Silvio Amadio, 1972) ***
This is one of the better-known giallo titles, if mainly for the presence of two of the more luscious "Euro-Cult" starlets – blonde Barbara Bouchet (whom I saw, still looking good, quite a few times at the Italian B-movie retrospective held during the 2004 Venice Film Festival!) and brunette Rosalba Neri – in perhaps their role of greatest significance; it goes without saying, then, that the film's piece de resistance is their celebrated slow-motion love scene (which actually occurs very early into the proceedings)! With a generic if definitely attention-grabbing moniker that has no direct bearing on the plot, the movie has been given many an alternate title – such as MURDER MANSION and HOT BED OF SEX, depending on which aspect the respective distributors chose to spotlight (for the record, the Italian original translates to IN THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE); incidentally, the English-dubbed and regrettably panned-and-scanned VHS-sourced copy (as a result proving soft and occasionally battered) I watched boasted no credits apart from the names of the picture itself, Bouchet and leading man Farley Granger! By the way, the film marked the second of three giallos the American star appeared in back-to-back (I watched the others, which I quite liked, only a few days ago) but, though I felt he delivered surprisingly committed performances in all of them, once again this one afforded him the meatiest characterization. Having said that, it makes for a good transition between SOMETHING CREEPING IN THE DARK (1971) and SO SWEET, SO DEAD (1972) – featuring elements from each, specifically the old dark house setting and a high sleaze factor respectively! The premise is simple enough, with heroine Bouchet insinuating herself into the Venetian household of renowned novelist Granger and his much younger wife Neri, in order (unbeknownst to them) to probe into the disappearance of their secretary – her colleague/flatmate/lover!; it transpires that the outwardly respectable wealthy couple leads a libertine existence, given to stag parties fuelled by drug-taking and the exhibition of snuff movies: starting to involve a dim-witted brute in their exploits, one day things turn sour and it is the secretary who gets the short end of the stick (no pun intended)! The local Police are aware of Bouchet's undercover 'mission' but, soon enough, she realizes that her employer is too – since the plot of his new novel begins to parallel the events that had taken place in the house and, more importantly, indicate what her own fate will be (a blackmailing servant is similarly gotten out of the way)! To further muddle the waters, Granger pretends to fall for Bouchet (thus getting a piece of the action himself for once!) – in fact, two of the film's highlights involve the depictions (via flashback confessions) of the former secretary's death and the disposing of the body; another – this time around a recollection by Bouchet – is a skinny-dipping episode (which goes a bit beyond that) involving her and the murdered girl, and yet one memorable sequence is the climax (planned to be a reprise of the secretary's unlucky demise, the tables are smoothly turned on the perpetrators: Bouchet had met the couple's unwitting associate during a chance but cringe-inducing encounter where he, a fisherman, had nonchalantly flayed a live eel in front of her and she even treated his injured finger!). As was often the case with the "Euro-Cult" style, one of the lasting ingredients here is Teo Usuelli's score which is versatile enough to suit the film's many changes of mood.
- Feb 20, 2010
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