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Author Topic: The Black Belly of the Tarantula (Paolo Cavara, 1971)  (Read 5793 times)

IL COMMISSARIO

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aka 'La tarantola dal ventre nero'             

Giancarlo Giannini, Claudine Auger, Barbara Bouchet, Barbara Bach

Beautiful women are being murdered by an unseen killer by injecting his victims with the venom from a rare species of wasp. The women are paralyzed and must watch helpless as the murderer mutilates their bodies. Inspector Tellini's dedication to his job as well as capturing the killer brings about danger to his personal life as the killer eventually targets his wife as his next victim.

I couldn't find a thread for this one as I thought there would be one considering this seems to be one of the more well known entries in the Giallo genre. There are some spoilers below but I imagine I'm probably the only one here who hasn't seen the film yet. I decided to watch one of the dozen or so of these I bought recently as aside from a number of Argento's and a few others, I'd seen relatively few Gialli.

Although I enjoyed it, I can't help but be slightly disappointed with the whole thing. The means by which the killer savages his victims is one of the more disturbing methods I've seen made even more creepy during a scene in which Tellini watches a film on a battle between a wasp and a Tarantula and learns what happens when the spider loses the fight. There isn't much gore to speak of save for the first murder but there is significant build up to each one most especially one sequence wherein Tellini desperately wants to speak with a suspect involved in a blackmailing scam that she may be the next victim. In fact, the killer is hiding out in another room in her apartment unknowingly to both her and the detective.

I guess with such a lurid title and the killers method of murder, I was expecting something a little more flashy in the gore department but taking the film as is, it's quite beautiful to look at with some striking compositions and shots with a few of them having a painterly quality about them. But considering the year in which it was made, the bloody violence hadn't crept into this genre yet. It is a bit slow going but the plentiful red herrings and the aforementioned beautiful photography not to mention the unusual and haunting score from Morricone make it a worthwhile film.

There wasn't as much Bouchet or Bach as I would have liked but the opening is undoubtedly the highlight especially when Bouchet gets up from the table and her glorious gluteus maximus is on display. I was a bit shocked when Barbara Bach was rather viciously butchered. You don't see anything but I was expecting her to not die in this film and her death scene was quite cruel even without any graphic gore on display.

All in all I liked the film but expectations dulled the experience for me a bit but with all the merits the film has going for it, I'm sure upon second viewing I will appreciate this movie on a whole different level.
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paperbag

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I'm not a fan though i've only seen it once as well, I kept waiting for things to happen but they just didn't, and my expectations were very high.
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IL COMMISSARIO

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I remember reading a review for it that said the film was "...the goriest Giallo I've seen..." which is one reason my expectations were high for this film. Aside from that though, it's a polished job all around.
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paperbag

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I remember reading a review for it that said the film was "...the goriest Giallo I've seen..." which is one reason my expectations were high for this film. Aside from that though, it's a polished job all around.

Yeah, maybe that person had only seen this and THE CAT 'O NINE TAILS
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Stephen Grimes

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Can anyone tell me how the BU disc compares to the Italian on RHV,is it worth a double-dip?
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Jonny

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Can anyone tell me how the BU disc compares to the Italian on RHV,is it worth a double-dip?

Both discs are more or less identical. Both feature the same transfer, though the BU disc is NTSC, and both have the same extras. BU wins though as it has English subs for the Italian track.
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Stephen Grimes

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Cheers Jonny,i might give the BU disc a shot if it's got English subs for the Italian track plus it'd be nice to know what was said in the documentary.
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Jonny

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I'm pretty sure that the BU cover has an RHV logo on the back too, indicating that it is indeed a direct port of the Italian release.
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IL COMMISSARIO

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They don't have it on here as RHV but 'Ripley's Film' instead. The doc is presumably the same as the credits after the doc are all in Italian.
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Stephen Grimes

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I'm pretty sure that the BU cover has an RHV logo on the back too, indicating that it is indeed a direct port of the Italian release.
Cheers Jonny,ordering a copy from Sin'Art  :D
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Diabolik2

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This must be the only giallo (or even one of the only Italian films from the seventies?) that was shot full frame.

The Italian version from RAI TV is fullframe (4:3), and has more picture on top and bottom than the 16:9 versions on dvd.



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Paul

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I've got the Italian release; never bothered to upgrade to the US release. Great film, BTW. Giannini is a great actor, it's a shame he didn't make more of an effort to be in this sort of film.
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Linus

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I think it's a really great giallo and Giannini is very good in it. Paola Cavara is an very interesting director. Bloody Peanuts is a interesting giallo and The Wild Eye is his revenge at his former Mondo partners. A true classic!
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Stephen Grimes

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This must be the only giallo (or even one of the only Italian films from the seventies?) that was shot full frame.

There's also something about this in the 16 page booket included in the Italian RHV dvd,i'll have to have another look at it again soon.
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Jonny

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Apparently the decision as to which ratio to frame the DVD in was decided on by the telecine people finding some notes that came with the negative. Possibly notes from the cinematographer about his preferred theatrical ratio?
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