5 November 2007 | ferbs54
Much More Than Just Another Pretty Face
Although director Giuliano Carnimeo and European sex symbol Edwige Fenech had teamed up to make one of the pulpiest Italian thrillers of all time, "The Case of the Bloody Iris," in 1972, their next collaboration, 1973's "Secrets of a Call Girl," is hardly a giallo at all. Rather, I would categorize it more as a romantic crime melodrama, in which Edwige gets to show that she's more than just a pretty face (oops...I guess I'm damning with faint praise; make that "incredibly beautiful face"). Her role here as Anna, an innocent coffee shop cashier who falls for the brutish charms of a Mafia thug, really gives her a chance to show the world what all the giallo fans knew before: that she is also an intelligent, subtle and highly skilled actress, as well. Her Anna is soon forced by the Mob to run drugs and turn tricks, but amazingly, she retains her stunning looks even after repeated beatings from her man Guido. Anyway, this film is extremely fast moving (almost too much so for its own good), covering a lot of ground in just 95 minutes, and ultimately gets a tad soapy in its final 1/3, when Anna gets involved with the surgeon who saves her son's life. Carnimeo's direction is surprisingly flashier here than in his previous giallo effort, and composer Luciano Michelini's lovely title tune should have become a standard on the order of "Doctor Zhivago"'s "Lara's Theme." Another treat for me in this film is the presence of one of my favorite actors, Richard Conte, here playing another Don Barzini-type role as the Mafia headman. Whotta class act! My heartiest thanks again to the fine folks at No Shame for another great DVD of a lost Italian classic, with nice subtitling and interesting extras. Keep 'em coming, guys!