Footprints on the Moon (1975) Poster

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4/10
Fascinating in places, but it's a slow-going experience
Leofwine_draca19 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A slim but occasionally thrilling giallo yarn with an offbeat plot that might be of interest to cult fans: the inclusion of a bizarre and spooky black and white science fiction film that makes repeated appearances throughout the movie, concerning an astronaut who finds himself abandoned on the lunar landscape after being deserted by his crew mates. What this has to do with the rest of the movie is unclear but it certainly makes things more interesting. Otherwise this is a character-focused mystery that falls under the definition of being a "giallo", although the main elements of the giallo - ie. the murders - are missing here, replaced by subtlety, atmosphere, and tons of mystery.

FOOTPRINTS ON THE MOON is a rather slow-going experience, tough to sit through due to the fact that absolutely nothing happens in the movie until the last ten minutes. Sure, lots of different characters are introduced and segments of the puzzle unearthed or remembered, but nothing in the way of action actually happens to further the plot in anyway. In fact, aside from the ending, the rest of the film chronicles Bolkan's attempt to discover what has happened in her past, events which are gradually uncovered in flashback. Despite being an uncomfortable viewing experience, there are numerous factors in this film's favour, not least the engaging turn from lead Florinda Bolkan, never better as the woman frustrated by her own identity. Although her amnesia is a done-to-the-death plot device, the formula still works in places and the heavy air of mystery and suspense makes things more bearable.

Numerous familiar faces pop up in the cast, including fellow giallo veteran Evelyn Stewart (aka Ida Galli), wasted in a nothing role. Annoying redhead child Nicoletta Elmi (who later grew up in DEMONS) proves pivotal in helping Bolkan uncover some of her secrets, whilst veteran performer John Carlsen (THE SHE BEAST) makes an almost cameo appearance. But it's Klaus Kinski who is the most memorable, in an extremely small but important part as another kooky weirdo, and the film makes excellent use of his presence. Another memorable factor is the strong score by Nicola Piovani, which helps add to the experience. The ending, which I refer to repeatedly throughout this review, is unsettling and deeply horrifying stuff, best resembling a nightmare from which the protagonist cannot awake, definitely the strongest moment the film has to offer. Sadly the rest of the movie just can't match it.
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5/10
The Mysterious Missing Days
claudio_carvalho11 April 2017
The translator Alice Cespi (Florinda Bolkan) has nightmares with an astronaut left alone on the moon and is addicted in sleeping pills. When she goes to work, she is fired since she missed three days without any justification. She returns home and finds a torn postcard of the Garma Hotel in Garma and decides to visit the seaside touristic place. She stumbles upon the weird girl Paola Bersel (Nicoletta Elmi), the stranger Harry (Peter McEnery) and other locals that believe she is a woman called Nicole. Along the days, Alice tries to unravel the mystery of her missing days.

"Le orme", a.k.a. "Footprints on the Moon", is a weird film with a dream-like atmosphere. The intriguing mystery is supported by magnificent performance of Florinda Bolkan and great cinematography. However the confused story disappoints the viewer that expects a conventional giallo with gore, murders and sex. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil):"Os Passos" ("The Steps")

Note: On 15 June 2020 I saw this film again.
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8/10
Offbeat and interesting sci-fi tinged giallo psychological thriller
Woodyanders24 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Translator Alice Cespi (an excellent performance by Florinda Bolkan) can't remember anything about the last few days. With only a torn photo of a seaside town to go on about the loss of her memory, Alice visits the community but doesn't find the answers she's looking for. Various folks in the town recognize her, but she has no clue who they are. Meanwhile, Alice is also haunted by dreams of a man being left on the moon to die. Director Luigi Bazzoni, who also co-wrote the quirky and compelling script with Mario Fanelli, relates the absorbing story at a hypnotic deliberate pace, makes fine use of the lovely coastal locations, ably creates and sustains an intriguing and atmospheric air of perplexing mystery, and tosses in a novel and inspired sci-fi angle that culminates in a genuinely startling surprise downbeat ending. Bolkan does a sterling job of carrying the picture with her exceptional acting; she receives sturdy support from Peter McEnery as the likable Henry, Nicoletta Elmi as enigmatic little girl Paola, and Lila Kedrova as the friendly Mrs. Helm. Klaus Kinski has a small, yet pivotal role as sinister scientist Professor Blackmann. Vittorio Storaro's sumptuous cinematography offers a wealth of stunning visuals. Nicola Piovani's spare brooding further enhances the overall eerie and ambiguous mood. An odd and engrossing giallo that's worth seeing for fans of this neat and uniquely Italian genre.
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2/10
That's one small step for man, one giant heap of bilge for giallo fans.
BA_Harrison20 April 2013
The American title for this film, Primal Impulse, makes it sound like a bad erotic thriller from the '90s. I wish that it had been: it would probably still have been more enjoyable than the pretentious and quite unfathomable Italian twaddle that it actually is.

Also known as 'Footprints on the Moon', the film stars Florinda Bolkan as Alice, a translator who wakes to find that she can remember nothing of the past few days. Her only clues as to what has happened are a torn up postcard from the town of Garma and a mysterious yellow dress in her wardrobe. Packing her bags, she heads for Garma hoping to find the answer to the mystery.

Although almost unanimously praised here on IMDb (the film is described by most as either atmospheric, eerie, haunting or suspenseful), I found the whole thing extremely boring, a rather pointless and very slow tale in which the protagonist is probably a complete looney tune, the whole mystery being a figment of her addled imagination. Either that or she's actually part of an alien experiment masterminded by Klaus Kinski. I couldn't say for sure.

If you prefer your giallo (as this is often described) to pack a straight razor, black gloves, bloody kills and a cool score, avoid—this is not for you. If you like 'em a bit on the bizarre side (eg. Death Laid An Egg) you'll probably enjoy this a lot more than I did.
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8/10
The only Giallo, EVER, to feature a cosmic sub plot!
Coventry10 January 2008
"Footprints (on the Moon") is almost certainly the strangest, most convoluted and most atypical Giallo ever made. It may come as a restraint to some of the sub genre's fans, but this film doesn't feature many of the regular Giallo trademarks like bloody knife murders (preferably committed by a masked killer wearing black gloves), ravishing scantily dressed beauties and unpredictable red herrings. However, to compensate for all this – and much more – "Footprints" benefices from the most indescribably mysterious and non-stop compelling atmosphere I ever experienced in this type of film. The level of mystery in this movie is so high and unbearable it literally makes you feel uncomfortable and scared. Like the female protagonist Alice Cespi herself, you absolutely have no idea of what's happening or why, and this feeling of utter powerlessness is unquestionably the film's main strongpoint. As a viewer, you crave to help this poor woman understand the things that overcome her, but you simply can't. Alice has a successful career as an interpreter, but her quiet and peaceful life gets brutally interrupted when she wakes up one morning and slowly begins to realize she has absolutely no recollection of the previous three days. She finds a torn apart photograph of a hotel located on the holiday island Gama and decides to go there in order to investigate what happened. On the island several people including a lonely little girl seem to recognize Alice, only she used the fake name Nicole, wore a red-haired wig and acted like she came to the island to hide from an unknown danger. Meanwhile, even the poor girl's nights are restless as she has reoccurring dreams of astronauts hopping on the moon surface and an uncanny scientist called Dr. Blackman. The plot of "Footprints" is truly bizarre and slowly brooding, and particularly the cosmic sub plot is really difficult to link with the rest. Alice assumes they are just images from a Sci-Fi movie she saw long time ago, which sounds like a reasonable enough explanation, but you sense there's a deeper meaning and actual connection to all the other events. Fans of tension-driven and stylish Italian cinema can't afford themselves to miss this film, really. This is director's Luigi Bazzoni's psychological tour-de-force, with staggeringly beautiful photography and mind-altering music. In spite of the lack of violence (or maybe just because of it), the film is genuinely disturbing and the mental agony Alice goes through honestly affects the viewer emotionally as well. As it is sadly too often the case in Gialli-cinema, the climax suddenly comes rather abrupt and nearly doesn't give a waterproof explanation of all the awkward events you just witnessed for the last hour and a half. Still, the content of "Footprints" will keep you contemplating long after the film has finished and its powerful impact will only increase. Florinda Bolkan is sublime as the tormented leading lady and receives excellent feedback from the limited supportive cast, including the young Nicoletta Elmi. The eminent Euro-cult star Klaus Kinski receives top-billing as well, but his role is merely an extended cameo. This film is actually a lot better than director Bazzoni's more acclaimed (and much easier available) Giallo "The Fifth Cord", so here's to hoping "Footprints" will soon receive a fancy DVD-release as well.
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7/10
Pure strangeness
BandSAboutMovies29 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Alice Cespi (Florinda Bolkan, A Lizard in a Woman's Skin) watched a strange film in her childhood called "Footprints on the Moon," where astronauts were stranded on the moon's surface. Now, as an adult, the only sleep she gets is from tranquilizers and she starts missing days of her life. Get ready for a giallo that skips the fashion and outlandish murders while going straight for pure weirdness.

After losing her job as a translator, Alice find a torn postcard for a resort area called Garma. That's where she meets a little girl named Paula (Nicoletta Elmi, Demons, A Bay of Blood) who claims that Alice looks exactly like another woman she met named Nicole, who is also at the resort. Slowly but surely, our heroine starts to believe that a huge conspiracy is against her.

This is the last theatrical film of Luigi Bazzoni (he has directed some documentaries and wrote a few films since), who also directed The Fifth Cord. There are only two murders, but don't let that hold you back. There are also abrupt shifts in color and a slow doomy mood to the entire proceedings. It's unlike any other giallo I've seen and I mean that as a compliment.

Klaus Kinski also shows up as Blackman, the doctor who was behind the experiment that Alice saw as a child. He's only in the film for a minute or so, but he makes the most of his time, chewing up the scenery as only he can. And cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, beyond working on The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, also was the DP on films like Apocalypse Now, Reds, Last Tango in Paris and Dick Tracy.

Shameless Films, who are the folks to order this from, referred to it as "the loneliest, most haunting and beautiful giallo you will ever see." I have to agree - especially with its shocking ending. This isn't like any of the films that came in the wake of The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and it's a shame that its director didn't make more films in the genre.
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7/10
FOOTPRINTS (Luigi Bazzoni, 1975) ***
Bunuel19765 June 2008
I first heard of this one while searching the 'Net for reviews of another Italian giallo/horror effort, the contemporaneous THE PERFUME OF THE LADY IN BLACK (1974; whose R2 SE DVD from Raro Video, by the way, I recently acquired) – where it's referenced as being in a similar vein but also just as good. Having watched FOOTSTEPS for myself now, I can see where that reviewer was coming from – in that both films deal with the psychological meltdown of their female protagonist. Stylistically, however, this one owes far more to Art-house cinema than anything else – in particular, the work of Alain Resnais and Michelangelo Antonioni (and, specifically, LAST YEAR IN MARIENBAD [1961] and THE PASSENGER [1975] respectively); accordingly, some have accused it of being "deadly boring" – an epithet often attached to such 'pretentious' (read: cerebral) fare!

Anyway, the film involves the quest of a woman (Florinda Bolkan) to determine her movements in the preceding three days – of which she seems to have no recollection. Following a series of cryptic clues, she travels to the 'mythical' land of Garma (nearby locations, then, bear the equally fictitious names of Muda and Rheember) – where she encounters several people (including Lila Kedrova as an aristocratic regular of the resort) who ostensibly recall the heroine staying there during her 'blackout'! Most prominent, though, are a young man (Peter McEnery) and a little girl (Nicoletta Elmi, from Mario Bava's BARON BLOOD [1972]) – the former always seems to happen on the scene at propitious moments, while the latter apparently confuses Bolkan with another woman (sporting long red hair and a mean streak!).

While essentially a mood piece, this is nonetheless a gripping puzzle: inevitably, vague events transpire at a deliberate pace – and where much of the film's power derives from the remarkable central performance (which can be seen as an extension of Bolkan's role in the fine Lucio Fulci giallo A LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S SKIN [1971]). However, there's no denying the contribution of cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (who provides any number of sweeping camera moves and an effective color scheme – adopting orange/red/blue filters to create atmosphere and coming up with a saturated look for the disorientating, bizarre finale) and Nicola Piovani's fitting melancholy score (the composer is best-known nowadays for his Oscar-winning work on Roberto Benigni's Holocaust-themed tragi-comedy LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL [1997]).

With this in mind, it's worth discussing how FOOTSTEPS was presented in the version I watched: well, being apparently hard-to-get in its original form (I can't be sure whether it's uncut here or not, except to say that the film ran for 89 minutes while the IMDb – lists it at 96), this edition is culled from a fairly battered English-language VHS (the dubbing is surprisingly good, given the international cast) with burnt-in Swedish subtitles to boot (besides, the DivX copy froze for a few seconds at a crucial point in the story around the 82-minute mark)! Still, we do get a welcome bonus i.e. a 9-minute 'Highlights From The Soundtrack' in MP3 format.

I realize I haven't yet mentioned the moon mission subplot, to which Klaus Kinski's presence is restricted: incidentally, around this same time, he had a similarly brief but pivotal role in another good arty thriller with sci-fi leanings (and also set in a distinctive location) – namely, LIFESPAN (1974). As I lay watching the film, I couldn't fathom what possible connection this had with the central plot…except that Bolkan mentioned a recurring dream about a movie she had once seen, though not through to the end, called "Footsteps On The Moon" (a somewhat misleading alternate title for the film itself) – amusingly, she at first recalls the picture as being called BLOOD ON THE MOON (which, of course, is a classic 1948 Western noir with Robert Mitchum and directed by Robert Wise!). That said, I took this 'diversion' in stride as merely one more outlandish touch to the film (given also Bolkan's former employment as a translator at a conference discussing Earth's future) – and certainly didn't expect the astronauts to turn up on Garma's beach at the very end to pursue the female lead, where the sand then turns ominously into the moon's surface…!

The film's plot will probably make more sense on a second viewing – though, to be honest, this is best approached as a visual/aural experience and one shouldn't really expect it to deliver a narrative that's in any way clear-cut and easily rationalized! For the record, the only other Bazzoni effort I'd managed to catch prior to this one was the middling straight giallo THE FIFTH CORD (1971), starring Franco Nero (which I had recorded off late-night Italian TV); some time ago, I did get hold of his Spaghetti Western rendition of "Carmen" titled MAN, PRIDE AND VENGEANCE (1968) – also with Nero and Kinski – as a DivX (after I'd already missed a matinée broadcast of it)…but the conversion had somehow proved faulty and, consequently, the disc wouldn't play properly!
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5/10
Very strange film and its inclusion on my Alien invasion movie collection is even stranger.
Aaron137526 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This film seems to be rated rather highly here, for me it just did not pull it all together. I was intrigued by the the film for the most part as it had me wondering the whole time, "what is exactly going on?" Unfortunately, the ending came and it needed more. A film that seems to be racing to some sort of illuminating answer, just should not end in rather confusing fashion where I was left wondering, "what are they implying happened?" The film is based off a book, so perhaps the book ends a bit less vague, but that is what made me not care for the movie as much as I might have. The too vague ending.

The story starts out with this strange scene of astronauts dragging an unconscious astronaut along the surface of the moon, there he is abandoned. Then we meet Alice who seems to be suffering from extreme memory loss. She cannot seem to remember the past couple of days clearly at all. Well she is eventually led to a town called Garma, where it seems she may have been before, and strangely she seemed to take on the persona of another person as she called herself Nicole. A little girl seems to have known her, others as well. However, the truth just is not revealed as I kept expecting some sort of conclusion, instead it ended leaving one wondering if this was all a part of some sort of delusion or if it was really happening.

Whoever made this film, I am guessing they were trying to leave things up to the viewers imagination. You could either say the lead female was crazy and that at the end her mind had totally snapped. Or, you can believe she was abducted and that she was going to be the next victim stranded on the moon. For me, the film seemed to be racing to some sort of conclusion, but the ending was inconclusive. However, for my money, I would have to say there is more evidence that she was simply crazy.

The film was not bad for me. It just was not good. I do not think it helped that it was on an alien invasion DVD which led me to believe it would have some sort of grand conspiracy at the end. I do enjoy films with towns with secrets and this one played out like a film that follows that format, it's just that the town was not really a factor in the end. It was interesting, but not entirely for me.
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7/10
Completely bizarre, but worthwhile Giallo
The_Void18 August 2007
Footprints certainly isn't your average run of the mill Giallo, and that's no bad thing. Unlike his previous effort, The Fifth Cord (which was your 'classic' Giallo) Luigi Bazzoni's film forsakes almost all of the Giallo trademarks and instead of murder; the focus is very on psychological mystery. It's obvious from the outset that this is going to be an entirely bizarre film as the film opens up with a scene set on the moon. Things don't get any clearer after that as the lunar sequence turns out to be the dream of Alice, a troubled woman. Alice is tormented by dreams of an astronaut stranded on the moon, which have apparently come from a viewing of a film called 'Footprints on the Moon'. After several things go wrong for her, Alice decides to go to a mostly deserted former tourist spot named Garma. Upon her arrival, she is surprised as the people she meets seem to already know her. Alice also meets a young red headed girl who also seems to already know her; the girl tells Alice she looks exactly like Nicole, except nicer and with shorter hair...

The fact that Footprints doesn't feature much in the way of sex, murder and other Giallo trademarks puts it somewhat on the back foot with it's primary audience from the beginning as most people going into this film aren't going to get what they were expecting (or, probably, wanted). But on the other hand, Footprints commands respect for the fact that it doesn't just follow on from what went before it. By 1975, the Giallo had started to lose it's popularity and many of the films coming out around this period (with a few very notable exceptions) were merely retreads of what came before, so Luigi Bazzoni would have been taking a big chance on this film. Florinda Bolkan gives a strong performance in the lead role; and the fact that she's not the prettiest Giallo heroine isn't really important. The mystery builds nicely throughout, and while it can become a little turgid at times; Footprints is, generally speaking, intriguing for the duration. It probably won't come as a surprise to many once they get there that the ending doesn't make much sense, and doesn't really clear anything up; but it nicely adds to the bizarre cult value of the film, and all in all; I give Footprints a thumbs up!
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"My Name Is Alice!"...
azathothpwiggins19 July 2021
In FOOTPRINTS ON THE MOON (aka: PRIMAL IMPULSE), Alice Cespi (Florinda Bolkan) is plagued by a dream involving an astronaut abandoned on the Moon. Alice also suffers from recent lapses in memory, and is unable to explain her 3 day absence from her job as a translator.

The only clues she has are the name of a town and a picture of a hotel. So, Alice heads off in search of answers. The more she seeks, the deeper the mystery seems to get.

This is a wonderfully suspenseful, puzzle of a film. It's also a showcase for Ms. Bolkan. She's as riveting as ever, and is in every scene!

Definitely, for lovers of bizarre Italian cinema...
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5/10
How to waste almost two hours in a senseless movie!!
elo-equipamentos10 June 2017
Hoping to see a good movie in Sci-fi and Giallo style, slowing the anxiety became in disappointment along the picture, senseless, the movie tries to survive but arrives in a dead end!! Florinda Bolkan has a good acting, even so wreck together with it, despite all this head mess the movie itself is well done in photography on a beautiful places in Turkey in special way some spots with ancient Roman Ruins, intriguing however no make sense!!

Resume:

First watch: 2017 / How many: 1 / Source: DVD / Rating: 5.5
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9/10
Incredibly Good, Suspenseful Mystery-Thriller
Rainey-Dawn12 November 2016
This film blew me away. It captured me right from the start of the movie. The longer you watch, the more is revealed but the more confusing and stranger it becomes... builds to a super climax into a bang up ending that will leave you wondering when the credits role.

Is Alice really Alice? If not, is she Nichole? What in the heck does Alice/Nichole's nightmares of astronauts have to do with it? Has Alice/Nichole gone mad? Is all this real? And many more questions will arise during the viewing of this film.

I acquired this film from the Sci-Fi Invasion 50-Pack. And this is most definitely one of the best films in the collection. The movie is worth watching if you like mystery-thrillers. I fell in-love with the movie the first time I watched it.

9/10
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8/10
A highly distinctive and left-field Italian thriller
Red-Barracuda4 January 2015
Footprints on the Moon is an example of what could be described as a bloodless giallo. These were entries from the Italian sub-genre that were more directly psychological in approach. After the success of Dario Argento's The Bird with the Crystal Plumage in 1970, these more subtle gialli became scarcer on the ground and a host of serial killer flicks were the norm. Footprints harks back to the older style but adds a dash of 70's paranoid thriller into the mix. The result is a somewhat surreal film which has a decidedly enigmatic tone and effect. It was directed by Luigi Bazzoni and shot by Vittorio Storaro, who also was cinematographer on Crystal Plumage as well as the later Hollywood film Apocalypse Now (1979). This duo also worked together on the earlier classic style giallo The Fifth Cord (1971). Both their movies display restraint in terms of salacious material, while both look beautiful due to Storaro's consummate skill. The lunar material looks wonderfully off-kilter, the widescreen compositions are consistently great and the use of black and white to recall strange memories and dreams works extremely well.

It starts fantastically well with a startling opening segment set on the moon, where we see astronauts drag an unconscious compatriot and then abandon him. It turns out a female translator is dreaming about this, when she wakes she discovers she has no memory of the last three days. She recalls a film she saw many years earlier called 'Footprints on the Moon', a film that recalls her dream, where a scientific experiment is carried out where astronauts are left stranded on the moon to test them. She discovers a torn postcard addressed to her of a place she is sure she knows but does not know why, she travels to this off-season tourist area and meets several people who know her but whom she does not know herself.

This one is typified by a sustained atmosphere of dread and it really delves into the fragile psychology of the protagonist, who is very well played by Florinda Bolkan, who was one of the most talented of the performers to regularly appear in gialli. This role is a fairly complex one and benefits a lot from Bolkan's subtle skills. There is also an appearance from another giallo regular, Nicoletta Elmi, the little red headed girl who played oddball children in several films from the time. In this film, she is given a bit more to do and is a little more integral to the plot. Evelyn Stewart and Klaus Kinski appear briefly, the former as Bolkan's friend in Italy and the latter as the mad scientist Blackmann from the film-within-a-film. The location where most of the action occurs is the resort of Garma which is an otherworldly dream-like place, with a vaguely Arabic feel and ruins; it feels like a dying place. The film feels like a combination of dreams, reality and movies. The science fiction film-within-a-film is a strong idea and the image of the abandoned astronaut is a peculiar and compelling one. This sci-fi thread blends into the fabric of the main story and that by the unforgettable final moments it has encroached entirely into Bolkan's reality. It's a memorably surreal way to end one of the most distinctive films in the giallo sub-genre.
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Footprints traveled
chaos-rampant26 October 2011
I consider this a missed opportunity. I have very fond memories of the filmmaker's debut, an interesting psychosexual oddity called La Donna Del Lago, and watching this I'm inclined to think that earlier film worked so well because the giallo had not been mapped down yet; so he was free to travel where it was novel at the time. Polanski got there that same year, but he was already a name and had Deneuve with him and so made the bigger splash. Film history has noted Repulsion.

This could have been even better. He has brought ambitious imagination with him, a visual palette of bright golden hues and relaxing blues, a sense of place and folded mysterious time with memory from Marienbad. He has Vittorio Storaro's eye behind the lens.

The opening is more than promising. A woman wakes up with no memory of three days past. She has just seen a dream, a feverish vision of astronauts staggering on blasted moonscapes, which she remembers is from a movie called the same as the one we're watching; but a movie she left without watching the ending. She goes to Italy to investigate, in an effort to bring these images into focus.

There it falls apart, in Italy incidentally. In the ten years since that first film that was in some ways a giallo ancestor the genre had come and was already on its way out. Between these two films Bazzoni had worked where it was the trend in the Italian industry, making a western and another giallo called The Fifth Chord. So when the more ambitious material for this came together, there were already footsteps he was expected to walk and had been trained to. The circumstances of a commercial movie industry were just so.

So for the middle part of the film we get a giallo worked from convention. The convoluted plot where each character withholds crucial information until the time is right, and the protagonist has to cobble together a puzzle from clues and red herrings. Much ado.

It comes full circle in the finale; the agents which she has imagined to be controlling her illusion return to pull her back into the fiction of the dream. It happens with extraordinary images of a stretch of empty cosmic beachside.

Bazzoni never made another film after this. In the meantime, Polanski had rocketed into Hollywood orbit and was already on his way out. I reckon that Bazzoni was one of our sad losses, but alas he never made it to France where money didn't always expect to fill a double-bill.
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6/10
Just avoid stepping on the rocks
kapelusznik184 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
****SPOILERS**** Uncharacteristically almost bloodless Giallo Italian movie that has to do with this 33 year old translator Alice Cespi, Florinda Bolkan, who's been freaking out as of late in her having dreams about an astronaut being abandoned on the moon and left to die. This gets even crazier when she finds a post card ripped up in her trash can that comes from this out of the way town in Northen Italy called Garma a place she never was at or even heard about! Taking off from her job and getting a flight to Garma Alice soon finds out that even though she never was there everyone seems to not only remember her there but her being the hit or life of the party when she was there at the fancy Garma Hotel.

It takes a while for things to register in Alice's confused mind in what exactly is going on but it's the local handsome young tennis pro Harry, Peter McEnery, or Henry as he's called in the films credits who fill her in to who she is and why she ended up being there. There's also the cute little red headed girl Paula, Nicoletta Elmi, who recognizes her as the person who was her next door or room neighbor at the hotel who at times slapped her around when she asked her too many questions about what she was doing there.

***SPOILERS*** What soon comes out is that Alice is being used as a guinea pig by this crazy scientist, who works for the US space program, Blackmann, Kalus Kinski, an obvious ex-Nazi who's needed by the military for his expertise in rocket propulsion. it's also very obvious that Blackmann was given immunity from prosecution by the US Government in wiping his record clean of war crimes during WWII. It's when Alice finally finds out what's been happening to her she makes a run for it on on the beach and is pursued by these two men wearing heavy duty space suits dispatched by Blackmann to reel her in. We soon find out that Alice is being used as some kind of experiment by Blackmann and the US government to see how much stress a human being can suffer in outer space before he or she finally cracks up.

Not much of a story in what can be described as a Giallo Sci-Fi flick, very probably the only one ever made, but the breathtaking photography by it's director Luigi Bazzioni and the excellent acting by Florinda Bolkan, brilliantly playing a woman who lost her mind, makes this confusing and nonsensical film well worth sitting through.
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Highly recommended
lazarillo16 July 2006
This is why I love Italian gialli. Despite the somewhat true but nevertheless very tiresome claims that the Italian filmmakers are just rip-off artists, this one loose genre that only really had its heyday for a few years in the early 70's displays more originality and creativity than mainstream Hollywood films have in the last 20 years. (And some American fanboy directors like Quentin Tarantino have largely made their career by ripping THEM off).This film is not only unlike any other gialli; it's unlike any other movie I've seen. A woman (Florinda Bolkan) is haunted in her dreams by a long ago television show she saw of astronauts being left stranded on the moon. To relax she goes to an eerily deserted seaside resort town where she thinks she's never been , but where everyone seems to remember her visiting the week before. She gets more and more paranoid and confused. Meanwhile strange men in astronaut suits keep appearing. . .

Unlike the typically hysterical-from-the-get-go gialli, this movie gradually creates a sense of paranoia and unease. It mixes dream, reality, memory, and the media (television) to the point where the viewer is left as disoriented as the troubled protagonist. The end is bound to be a little disappointing after the build-up, but it's pretty memorable too.

While most gialli have an overabundance of characters, this movie is largely carried by Bolkan. Fortunately, she is more than up to the task. Bolkan was a Brazilian actress who, like Austrian beauty Marissa Mell, had a career that was often overshadowed by her personal life (and she probably didn't help this with her lesbian affairs and public claims of having been JFK's last lover). Unlike Mell though she was much more than just a pretty face and her talent can readily be seen in movies like this, Fulci's "A Lizard in Women's Skin", and the nunsploitation classic "Flavia, the Heretic". Klaus Kinski and the Ida Galli also put in brief cameos in the movie, and unfortunately so does young Nicoletta Elmi (who was kind of the Dakota Fanning of 70's Italian films--not a terrible actress but one that appeared in so many films you start to look forward to seeing her on the back of a milk carton).

Director Luigi Bazzoni's first giallo "The Fifth Cord" just came out on DVD. Hopefully, this one won't be far behind. Snap it up if you like gialli or if just enjoy unique, well-made movies. Highly Recommended.
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8/10
W-w-what's happening?
Bezenby14 June 2018
When is a giallo not a giallo, but is a giallo anyway? When it features virtually no blood, no boobs, but still looks gorgeous and has you wondering what's going on right up until the end of the film. Klaus Kinski certainly makes easy money in this one, barely appearing as a strange scientist conducting experiments on astronauts on the moon and never interacting with anyone in the actual main plotline. In fact, he might just be a guy in a scenario dreamt up by Florinda Bolkan, because that's the impression we're given when she wakes up from dreaming about an astronaut abandoned on the moon.

Florinda work and lives in the EUR, Rome's neo-classical business district, as a translator and after she sparks up a Dunhill and heads for work, she discovers to her bafflement that somehow she's blacked out and missed a few days of work without telling anyone. After confiding in her friend Ida Galli (don't get attached to her because she's in this for about two minutes), Florinda heads home and finds a torn-up postcard in her bin, showing a hotel in a place called Garma.

Seemingly fired from her job due to vanishing, Florinda heads to Garma and things get even stranger. She meets up with a little girl (Nicoletta Elmi) who insists that she was there a couple of days ago, although she had red hair and called herself Nicole. Other people on the island seem to think the same thing, which causes Florinda to dig deeper, and she may not like what she finds. Meanwhile, Kinski appears now again in black and white, eerie sequences experimenting on astronauts on the moon...

That's enough plot, seeing as the whole thing revolves around Florinda wandering around the island. There's a whole load of atmosphere in this one, and the whole film, give or take, has almost been bled of colour on purpose, just to emphasise Florinda's isolation (or maybe to reflect her blank memory of the past few days). If you've watched Bazzoni's Fifth Cord (you should) you'll get more of the same lush cinematography here, only here the introduction of colour here and there, for example a yellow dress, really stands out. I wonder if this is why the start of the film is set in the EUR, which is also a place strangely bled of colour. Dario Argento would do the same for his later giallo Tenebrae.

Of course, watching someone wandering around an island and shouting at people would get boring really quickly, but Florinda Bolkan's the kind of actress who can carry a film on her own. She really does look troubled as the evidence piles up that she was at the island a few days before, or at least someone who really looked like her.

This is a mild film (rated 12 in the UK) but shouldn't be missed. It's a shame this was Bazzoni's last film. I'll have to track to down his Spaghetti Western version of the opera Carmen
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6/10
A decent descent
jadavix22 April 2016
Alice, or Nicole, is fired from her job at an aeronautical conference after a mishap she can't entirely remember. Haunted by strange dreams of astronauts taking their helmets off on the moon, and even more strangely, by the very German Klaus Kinski dubbed with a ridiculous American accent, she takes off for the town of Garma.

She hasn't ever been there, but everyone she meets seems to know her, and have had interactions with her she can't remember. A little girl tells her she looks like a woman named Nicole she met a few days before, but she had long red hair, and Alice's hair is short and brown. Then she discovers a red wig...

"Le Orme", or "Footsteps on the Moon", does a good job of documenting a woman's descent into madness, mostly due to the central performance by Florinda Bolkan. It doesn't come to much, however, with a truncated and disappointing finale and little emotional resolution.
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6/10
Sadly somewhat disappointing
Stevieboy66625 March 2019
Le Orme. A Portuguese translator living in Italy finds herself drawn to the island of Garma in a bid to solve mysteries and nightmares that are haunting her. Despite a picture of astronauts on the DVD cover this is not science fiction. Neither would I call it horror or giallo. Psychological thriller best describes it. There is no gratuitous nudity or violence so often seen in Italian movies from this period. Furthermore it is a slow burn so those wanting fast thrills go elsewhere. Footprints does boast some superb cinematography and beautiful locations. Despite obvious dubbing it is also well acted. Sadly, however, Klaus Kinski has only a very minor role. For sure it is bizarre and surreal but my problem with Footprints is that it becomes very hard to follow what is going on and has one of those endings that had me trying to figure out actually happened. A second viewing may make more sense, but as it is pretty slow I'm not sure I'd want to sit through it again, despite some visual delights.
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7/10
Unique, classy and surreal mystery-thriller
runamokprods7 December 2011
Interesting and entertaining 'mind game', dream-like, moody mystery, as a woman can't account for several lost days of her life, or why so many people at a resort she's never visited seem to know her.

She's also haunted by very odd black and white dreams where an astronaut is betrayed and left to die alone on the moon.

The film is slow in parts, and some of the big twists are easy to see coming, but it is beautifully photographed by Vittorio Storraro, and eschews the gratuitous violence and awkward sex of most of the Italian thrillers of the era.

This doesn't feel like its trapped by any formula or rules. And the acting is pretty good for a dubbed film.

Not in the class of films like 'Don't Look Now" or "Vertigo", but gets points for trying to be and doing so in a classy way. I'll be interested to see this again.
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6/10
Intriguing, but could have done with more Kinski!
parry_na30 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I was first moved to watch this because it been described as a giallo in several articles, and stars the fearsome Klaus Kinski. I came away from it deciding it is definitely not a giallo, and that Kinski's involvement was far too brief.

There's no black gloved killer, no nudity, no gore and no rousing soundtrack. What was interesting to me that I spotted that heroine Alice's short hairstyle was in fact a wig (the join was given away in a close-up early on), and her longer hair - a wig in the film - seems actually to be actress Florinda Bolkan's real hair.

That moment of self-congratulation aside, I found this to be an intriguing, rather artily-shot thriller. Luckily the moon shots are brief in total, leaving us more time to enjoy the elegant architecture and beautifully shot (this was director Luigi Bazzoni's last film) locations in Rome and Turkey. In her bid to reclaim her memory, Alice runs into a little girl with piercing eyes, who looked familiar to me. Turns out little Nicoletta Elmi had also starred in 'A Bay of Blood', 'Who Saw her Die?', 'Flesh for Frankenstein' and 'Deep Red' (among others) by this time - not a bad resume for an 11 year old.

As for everything else, the occasionally muggy story is undoubtedly lifted by the acting. Bolkan is extremely good, and she is good company. Peter McEnery as Henry is also very good, never quite letting us fully believe in him as either a hero or villain.
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7/10
original and atmospheric
myriamlenys3 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
A beautiful and independent woman works as a translator and interpreter. When she arrives at the office in order to hand in some written notes, she gets a frosty reception : she is accused not only of exceeding the deadline, but also of disappearing in a sudden (and highly inconvenient) manner. Defensive at first, the poor woman discovers that she can't account for her whereabouts during the last week or so. About the only clue consists of a photograph of a large, striking building in a Moorish or Oriental style...

"Le orme" can be described as a psychological thriller, a metaphysical horror movie, or both. Whatever it is, it is a trippy, eerie, discombobulating movie with a highly original plot and style. I'm not sure that the plot, once unravelled, makes complete sense in a (chrono)logical way - which is the reason why I'm awarding 7 stars instead of 8 or 9 - but it certainly makes sense in a poetic, emotional way. "Le orme" also contains some very imaginative metaphors, and even some kind of movie-within-a-movie.

Florinda Bolkan gives an excellent performance. She is also a very beautiful woman, a fact which is highlighted by some superbly flattering costumes. In fact, "Le orme" as a whole is an aesthetic delight. The wonderfully shot sets, locations and scenery are so beautiful that I would like to visit them in the flesh. (Am I right in thinking that the movie was filmed in Italy, Greece and Turkey ?) Those shimmering peacock windows alone would be sufficient reason to travel to a far-off destination.

Last but not least the movie boasts a fine musical score.
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7/10
The dark side of the moon
ulicknormanowen7 March 2021
A slow-moving film which retains a certain cult ; it seems it's all in a dream ,or a nightmare more like ; few special effects,no gore, but a great sense of mystery,with an open ending which will make all viewers interpreting the meaning of this bewildering story according to their own sensitivity .

With its deja vu feeling, its bizarre characters (Lila Kedrova) , its strange experiments on the moon , one can wonder whether the heroine is losing her mind, or is it a recurrent nightmare ? Its atmosphere sometimes recall "carnival of souls" ,probably the first important indie in the history of cinema .The beauty of Florinda Bolkan and the threatening face of Klaus Kinski add to the fascinating and deadly charm of this offbeat work.
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7/10
Highly Bizarre, Mysterious and Unusual Giallo Warning: Spoilers
Luigi Bazzoni's "Le Orme" aka. "Footprints on the Moon" (1975) is possibly the most atypical film that can be attributed to the Giallo (sub-)genre. Director Bazzoni, who had previously directed a more typical, but less interesting Giallo with "Giornata Nera Per L'Ariete" ("The Fifth Cord", 1975), leaves out almost all the trademark elements of the traditional Giallo here, the most obvious being that (almost) no gory murders are taking place. Instead, "Le Orme", which, in its mystery character may nonetheless be called a Giallo, is a slow-paced, surreal, eerie and extremely convoluted and complex psychological mystery. The level of mystery is even higher than usual for Gialli, to a degree where the viewer often has no clue whatsoever what is going on. "Le Orme" is furthermore doubtlessly the only Giallo to feature an extraterrestrial sub-plot (as the English title suggests, the moon plays a role).

The wonderful Florinda Bolkan stars as Alice Crespi, a protagonist whose persona alone leaves many mysteries. Alice, a Portuguese translator living in Rome, who is tormented by a recurring nightmare, wakes up one day with no recollection of the foregoing three days. When she finds a photograph of a hotel on the Turkish island Garma, she decides to go there and investigate. Strangely, even though she has never been there, several people on the island seem to recognize Alice or confuse her with another woman...

It is almost impossible to give a proper plot description of "Le Orme" since the film relies strongly on atmosphere. Alice gets involved deeper and deeper in a mystery she has no clue how to solve; and neither do the viewers. Stylistically, the film is perfect: Stunningly beautiful Turkish sceneries are captured by a fantastic photography, (cinematographer Vittorio Storano also did the cinematography for "Apolcalypse Now" as well as Dario Argento's brilliant debut "L'Uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo" and Bernardo Bertolucci's "Novecento"), and the atmosphere is intensified by a wonderful classical score. The beautiful Florinda Bolkan is a great actress, and she is fantastic in the leading role here. Bolkan always had a talent to play women on the edge of sanity (e.g. in Lucio Fulci's great Gialli "Don't Torture A Duckling" and "Lizzard in a Woman's Skin", and, in a different manner, in Gianfranco Mingozzi's "Flavia the Heretic"), and her performance is particularly involving here (not least because we don't know whether she is is going insane, or the victim of a conspiracy). The rest of the cast includes Italian Horror's greatest child star, the always fantastic Nicoletta Elmi (Argento's "Profondo Rosso", Bava's "Baron Blood" and "Bay of Blood", etc.), and, in the dream-like sequences, none other than the incomparable Klaus Kinski as a sinister scientist.

If you are looking for the typical Giallo in which an insane killer targets ravishing beauty-queens, with gory murders and tons of sleaze, you better look elsewhere. What "Le Orme" provides, is mystery and suspense in a different, but highly involving and unsettling manner. Those who aren't familiar with the Giallo genre are well advised to watch a variety of other genre films (such as "The Red Queen Kills 7 Times", "What Have You Done To Solange", "Don't Torture A Duckling" or any of the Gialli by Sergio Martino and Dario Argento) before this one. However, it is a top recommendation for the more experienced Giallo-fans, especially those who are not deterred by the lack of action and appreciate a bizarre storyline. Definitely one of a kind. 7.5/10
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5/10
Not so bad psychological thriller
rosscinema19 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This film is known under several different titles like "Footprints" and "Footprints On The Moon" but I saw it as "Primal Impulse" and if you can get by the awful dubbing than you might see this as a not-so-bad mystery. Story is about a woman named Alice (Florinda Bolkan) and her last name is either Cespi or Campos (Depending on your source) and she wakes up without any knowledge of what has happened to her in the last three days. She remembers a dream involving science experiments on the moon with a mad doctor named Blackmann (Klaus Kinski) and she also finds a postcard and a torn photo from a resort on a Turkish isle called Garma. She travels there to try and find out what has happened and she first meets a man named Harry (Peter McEnery).

*****SPOILER ALERT*****

Alice checks into the hotel and meets a young girl named Paula (Nicoletta Elmi) who tells her that she looks like another person named Nicole but she was a bad person. Others also mistake Alice for Nicole and she finally figures out that it was indeed her that was there a few days ago but she cannot figure out why she can't remember it. Alice finally comes to the conclusion that her dream is real and that agents from space are going to come and get her. Or are they?

This film was directed by Luigi Bazzoni and someone named Mario Fanelli is credited as co-director but together they have made a very slow moving but a fairly interesting film. The concept of the story (I think) is that we at first think she might be the victim of a strange experiment but as the film progresses it seems that poor Alice is probably suffering from amnesia and schizophrenia. I certainly hope that this is what this is about because if it isn't than this is an incredibly disjointed film. Bolkan who plays the lead is very good and a solid actress and I think her performance is enhanced by the excellent cinematography by Academy Award winner Vittorio Storaro who helps create these scenes of incredible spaciousness and loneliness. The production values are low and of course the dubbing is terrible but this is not just a low grade Euro-shocker. Kinski is barely in the film and this is one of many small roles he took just for the money and he has no scenes with Bolkan. This film may be a tad confusing for some but the slowness in the way it tells it's story is it's biggest handicap. Not bad but it will test your patience.
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