11 March 2005 | lazarillo
Not for everybody, but I liked it.
This movie is not for everybody. Fans of the director Umberto Lenzi's cannibal films might be disappointed that no one is eaten alive, no women are hung up by their breasts via ridiculous-looking special effects, and no innocent animals were slaughtered in real life for their amusement. Instead you have a clever suspense movie that is well-photographed, well-acted, directed with panache, and, dare I say, even a little bit classy. Others may find actress Carroll Baker a bit on the voluptuous side compared to the poster children for anorexia and bulimia that pass for actresses today (and you may very well be blinded by her tan lines). But this is THE Carroll Baker, for christsake! The sex and nude scenes are pretty are tame by today's standards, but were very risqué for the time. This was a groundbreaking film that helped usher in both the Italian gialli and the free-spirited European sex films of the 70's.
The plot of this movie is somewhat similar to the recent film "Swimming Pool". A somewhat older, recently-widowed woman (Baker) is staying alone in an isolated Italian villa owned by her sleazy lawyer when she is seduced by a local gigolo and his "sister". At first, the diabolical pair just get her to loosen up and enjoy life again, but then they start to blackmail her and torture her (and possibly the viewer) by playing the same song over and over again until she starts to go crazy.
I liked almost everything about the movie (even the strangely catchy song), but the America version has this ridiculous deus ex machina ending-- because, of course, the evil-doers MUST be punished. Maybe if this is ever released on legitimate DVD, someone will dig up the European version (maybe put both on the same DVD like they did with "Delerium"). Oh well, whatever, check it out.