A thriller in which a father's investigation of his child's murder uncovers a web of sexual thrill-seekers. Megeve, France, 1968: Nicole, a little redhead, runs away from her governess on a ski slope. As the governess searches for her naughty charge, a stranger apparently an old woman clad in black, complete with veil snatches Nicole away and...read more
A thriller in which a father's investigation of his child's murder uncovers a web of sexual thrill-seekers. Megeve, France, 1968: Nicole, a little redhead, runs away from her governess on a ski slope. As the governess searches for her naughty charge, a stranger apparently an old woman clad in black, complete with veil snatches Nicole away and kills her, burying her corpse in the snow. Four years later, in Venice, sculptor Franco Santiero (one-time James Bond George Lazneby, looking shockingly gaunt), picks up his read-haired daughter, Roberta (DEEP RED's Nicoletta Elmi, who sounds as though she was dubbed by an adult actress), at the airport. Franco's estranged wife, Elizabeth (Anita Strindberg), has stayed behind in London. Franco has begun attracting considerable attention for his work, and has signed with powerful dealer named Serafian (THUNDERBALL villain Adolfo Celi), about whom ugly insinuations abound. Shortly after Roberta's arrival, a figure in black begins stalking her and eventually, while Franco trysts with his girlfriend Gabriella (Dominique Boschero), snatches the little girl from the street. Franco searches frantically for his missing daughter, but her body is found in a canal. Elizabeth joins Franco for their daughter's funeral, and grief brings them closer than they've been in years. But Franco is obsessed with finding the killer, and feels the police aren't trying hard enough. His investigation quickly takes a disturbing turn; Franco discovers that another red-headed child was abducted and murdered in Venice, and her killer was never found. Franco is contacted by Serafian's sexy assistant, Ginevra Storelli (Rosemarie Lindt), who's rumored to be his mistress but is secretly planning to flee Venice with her boyfriend, Phillip (George Willing); she says she has important information for Franco. Ginevra says she has something important to tell Franco, but is murdered before their secret rendez-vous. Franco comes to realize that Serafian's ugly reputation may well be deserved, but what, if anything, did Serafian have to do with Roberta's murder? The second feature by director and co-writer Aldo Lara, Bernardo Bertolucci's assistant director on THE CONFORMIST (1970), this disturbing and unusually beautiful thriller anticipates DON'T LOOK NOW (1973) in several key respects, though Lado himself cites PSYCHO (1960) as a vague influence. Raised in Venice, Lado captures the city's seedier side to good effect, and the story's cast of pedophiles some lethal, others merely pervy add an air of persistent unwholesomeness. Ennio Morricone's score uses a children's choir, the melody distorted and driven by a throbbing bass line; the effect is wild and haunting. Lado's debut film, SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS (1971), is equally striking and both are standouts in the crowded giallo genre.