10 November 2017 | Bezenby
As far as I know this is Enzo Castellari's only venture into the giallo genre, and I'd also heard it wasn't that good. That's not true, and it's barely even a giallo, so maybe I should check my sources or just watch the film. Chocks away!
Sporting incredible sideburns, Gianni Garko is a posh solicitor who quite wisely spends his free time with strippers and hookers who on this occasion takes home an Italian lady. When I say home, I mean his rich uncle's home in a rich part of London. You know, the kind that has a butler in it and a driveway. The Italian lady is playing hard to get even though she's a hooker, and the discovery of the dead butler is a bad enough dampner on the proceedings, so sex totally goes out the window when a gun-toting cockney emerges from the gloom.
He's a kind of 'Alright Guvnor, knees ap Maaver Bhraaan' cockney type but his motivations are not quite clear. Adding to Gianni's woes is his uncle (Fernando Rey), who is a judge and keeps calling to harass him about case files. Fernando sends a policeman over to the house with some files, and while he's trying to whisper that he's being held hostage, the policeman punches him square in the face. Uh-oh! Looks like there's a doings-a-transpiring!
Turns out the copper is the head bad guy which isn't much of a surprise seeing as he's played by Frank Wolff. Frank's motivations aren't quite clear but he does mention quite early on that he's wired Fernando Rey's office to blow up the moment he opens his door, so now the game is on for Gianni to free himself and the hooker, get rid of Frank and his partner, and save Fernando in the nick of time. Either that or he can just have a lot of punch ups while the hooker plays mind games with the two of them.
As this is one of those films that could almost be a stage play in terms of limited set and characters, Enzo's usual hyperactivity makes sure that things don't get boring, so he throws in loads of jarring editing techniques, unusual camera angles (like filming Gianni through the bottom of a jug of icy water he's having his head forced into, or through those finger holes you used to get on telephones), loads of twists (even the cockney becomes unsure of Frank's motives), and an overly violent ending just to cap things off.
Although Fernando Rey shouts down the phone a lot and doesn't do much else, Frank and Gianni do well in their roles, with Frank constantly mocking Gianni's Eton and 'playing rugger', with Gianni alternating between snivelling wimp and stiff upper lip radge mentalness.
I've never seen an Enzo film I didn't like, so you might want to knock the praise in this review down a bit. Ennio Morricone's freeform jazz soundtrack is a winner too.