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  • A delightfully playful giallo starring the beautiful Carole Bouquet as Mystere,a high class call girl who becomes the target for a couple of assassins.

    On its initial release Mystere seemed rather twee,especially when compared to Argento's Tenebrae, but the years have been very kind to this excellent little film, and although it is now a little difficult to track down, it is well worth the effort John Steiner as the ruthless hit man,Ivanov,gives one of his best performances of the eighties. Looking slick and menacing as the leather suited killer,Steiner glides through his scenes with ease and flair. Peter Berling turns up as a sleazy old man, and Janet Agren is nice as Mystere's friend. The only drawback is the tiresome Phillip Coccioletti as a mouthy policeman.

    A great showcase for Bouquets undeniable beauty, director Vanzina captures the actress at her most alluring. Splendid stuff.
  • Mystère is kind of what James Bond would be like if it were made by a sleazy Italian cast and crew. The film just about qualifies as a Giallo, although the spy elements are far more prominent in the plot. Mystère was released in 1983, well after the Giallo heyday, so I'm thinking that writer-director Carlo Vanzina (who went on to direct the more Giallo-like Nothing Underneath two years later) wanted to inject some new life into the genre, and he's almost succeeded in doing that. It's true that Mystère is more than a little bit silly, sometimes even bordering on out and out ridiculousness; but it makes for fun viewing, and that's the important thing. The story is conveyed episodically, and the prologue shows a German photographer accidentally snapping off shots of a political killing. He also gets a shot of the murderer, and before long Russian spies decide that they want the negatives. The photographer hides them in a lighter and proceeds to hire prostitutes Pamela and Mystère, one of which is light-fingered. Pamela and the photographer are killed by an unknown assailant, and Mystère ends up with the lighter in her possession.

    The film doesn't live up to other genre films in terms of gore; despite the fact that the murders are committed by a man carrying a cane with a blade on the end, we get to see very little blood and the only fairly nasty sequence in the film isn't a murder. There's a few car chases and clever spy stuff thrown in, however, and while this may not necessarily be what a Giallo fan wants; it is fairly entertaining, and at times provides a nice diversion from the common murder-fuelled Giallo plot lines. One of the things that stands out most about this film is Carole Bouquet - the lead actress provides an interesting lead performance, and she's backed up by cult regular John Steiner, who despite being British plays a Russian agent and Phil Coccioletti, who is actually American despite his Italian-sounding name. The music is fairly catchy, but doesn't really provide much in the way of atmosphere. Carlo Vanzina's cinematography isn't particularly stunning either, but it's not too important since this is more of a spy thriller anyway. Overall, this is an interesting film at least; and while I can certainly understand why it hasn't been remembered along with the best of the genre, I'd say it's just about worth tracking down.
  • Most enjoyable oddity. This starts off as a cracking giallo and probably continues as such beyond halfway when it begins to turn into a Euro spy film. So far, so good but finally it goes to far with its Bond parody and the final segment is pretty laughable and rather spoils the taste of the bulk of the film. Carole Bouquet gives a great performance, she who starred in Bunuel's last film when she was 20 (her first movie) and amongst many others, 'For Your Eyes Only', only a couple of years before. This may be the reason this was given the alternative title for mine is 'Mystere'. It is such a shame that this veers away from the giallo genre but I guess it was a rather late entry although Carlo Vanzini would go on to have another decent stab, as you might say, with 'Nothing Underneath'. I reckon I'll file this with my giallo films and when watching it again just maybe miss off the Hong Kong set, 'Epilogue'. Score reflects the disappointing denouement.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    1983 is pretty late for the giallo, but hey - I've been trying to expand into the period before and after the major years for the genre.

    Also known as Dagger Eyes and Murder Near Perfect, this film was written and directed by the Vanzina brothers, Carlo and Enrico. They loved the 1981 French thriller Diva, a film that moved away from the realist 1970s French cinema to the more colorful style of cinéma du look.

    Mystère is divided into chapters, starting with a prologue, then each section is one of the four days that follow, then an epilogue. The producers demanded this happy ending, while the brothers wanted something more cynical.

    Mystère (Carole Bouquet, For Your Eyes Only and the face of Chanel No. 5 from 1986 to 1997) is a high class call girl in Rome who comes into the possession of a mysterious lighter when her friend Pamela (Janet Ågren, City of the Living Dead) and one of her customers are killed over it, as inside the lighter are images of a political assassination.

    Unlike the normal giallo - or adjacent giallo or whatever this is - the hero, Inspector Colt, ends up killing the assassin (John Steiner, Shock) and his bosses and then leaving behind our heroine, who ends up tracking him down to Thailand and making up with him. He was good with nunchucks, maybe?

    I mean, how many movies are you going to see that somehow take the spirit of the good parts of 1970's giallo, mix in the Zapruder film, throw in some Eurospy and still end up looking like a super expensive perfume ad?

    Also - thanks to BodyBoy on Letterboxd who called out that Mystère's apartment looks like something straight out of Messiah of Evil.
  • Hired out to engage in a threesome, a high-end prostitute learns that her partner smuggled a cigarette lighter containing incriminating pictures sought by a criminal group which is now in her possession and turns to a shady policeman to help save her from the ruthless killers.

    This was a pretty enjoyable enough giallo. Among it's more compelling facets is the entertaining mixture of genre thrills and political intrigue that emerges here. The main setup of the girls coming into contact with the initial victim moments before he gets killed, the chain of events here with them stealing the lighter later found to contain the pictures involved in the assassination attempt serves the film well. In true genre fashion, the unraveling of clues with the meaning behind the conversations about the lighter and how she fits into the whole scheme of things as well as the back-and-forth games trying to stay alive against the international agents trying to get the equipment back. There's a lot to like here with the film's breezy, up-tempo plotline which always has something going on. This usually includes plenty of fun encounters that manage to mix together these disparate genres. The giallo-based first half of this one works the best, giving plenty of highly enjoyable stalking scenes with the initial encounter in the hotel, the best friend getting attacked thinking she's with a regular client and then the failed ambush at her house are competent, shocking scenes that feel very much in the genre's heyday. The change into the action/spy movie style has some great energy to be had here with the fine car-chase through the city streets, the back-alleyways and into the aqueducts features plenty of great action alongside the series of shootouts and hand-to-hand fights. These here are what really make this one enjoyable over it's few minor issues. The main flaw to be had here is in the film's odd stylistic choices away from genre conventions. The main culprit here is the tonal shift halfway through the film to drop the giallo framework in favor of back-and-forth political thriller machinations that drain the life from this section of the film. As the killer was incredibly easy to guess, this shift away from the black-gloved killer into him meeting up with the assassins, exchanging information and making deals before being double-crossed at several points offers thrilling action but feels as though they've been dropped in from another film entirely. It's fairly odd to see the immediate switch into the different genres without any kind of setup to do so as this change is completely obvious to spot since no elements from one appear in the other. The other issue here is the strange feeling of self-censorship occurring throughout here as this one feels completely at odds with some of its subject matter. That, as a giallo, it feels unwilling to dive into the seedier aspects of its target audience with bland, nearly bloodless kills conducted by a simple knife to the body which is concealed in a walking stick to give an idea of the kind of size and stealth. This is a big misstep, much like the fact that the neutered body-count never allows for more to occur before the shift into the political thriller route. As well, for a film featuring a supposed high-end call-girl who runs into bed with nearly anyone who has enough to pay her the lack of nudity and sleaze is really overt and obvious. These leave this one a little lower than it really should be.

    Rated Unrated/R: Violence and Language.
  • bombersflyup23 August 2019
    Warning: Spoilers
    Mystere is a foreign mixture of an adult film and an action thriller, without visually having either.

    Plenty happens, but we only hear about and see bits and pieces. It does get interesting at the end, but it's dull for the most part. With a bit of role reversal, the cop taking all the money leaving the beautiful Carole Bouquet with nothing. I understand not trusting her, but it's unusual. It's also unusual for her to find him and not want to take it all from him, she likes that he's evil.