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Author Topic: Morte scende leggera come un ragno / Death Falls Lightly (Leopoldo Savona, 1972)  (Read 2995 times)

ecc

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Caught this via a nice widescreen fansub.  Darika (Stelio Candelli who usually goes under the name James Harris, NUDE FOR SATAN) comes home from Milan to find his wife dead.  He goes to a judge friend (Fernando Cerulli) who arranges for a lawyer (Tom Felleghy) to hide Darika and his mistress Liz (Patrizia Volti) to hide in an old hotel until the real killer can be uncovered.  With only candlelight and porno films to keep them company, Darika and Liz spend most of their time in bed either having sex or arguing over what Darika really does to have such political influence and whether Liz believes that he did not kill his wife.  Meanwhile, the judge and the lawyer are trying to find a way to rid themselves of the potential scandal that Darika could cause for them.  Darika and Liz soon discover that the hotel isn't so uninhabited and find themselves embroiled in another murder case as the hotel owner murders his wife and recruits Darika to help him dispose of her while Liz is terrorized by ghostly apparitions of a strange young woman (Veronica Korosec) who tries to turn Darika and Liz against each other.

Opening with a cool progressive rock song called "Sunday in Neon Lights" which plays throughout the film, Leopoldo Savona's follow-up to his gothic thriller BYLETH (1972) somewhat awkwardly fits into that giallo "mind games" sub-genre that questions the innocence of its hero with both obvious scheming machinations by the living and enough touches of irreality to question the sanity of the protagonist along the lines of SPASMO (though it might just equally make a good companion piece to NUDE FOR SATAN).  There is much wandering through corridors and up and down spiral staircases with candles and lighters and that starts to become monotonous (more than three-quarters of the film takes place inside the hotel).  Candelli isn't the most charismatic of leads (he's probably more suited to the spaghetti westerns he was making around the same time) but he and Volti are only just slightly more developed as characters than the rest of the cast.  Luciano Transati's cinematography is rather ordinary for a giallo film and the editing is sometimes abrupt.

The source for the fansub was apparently a widescreen videotape (or TV broadcast) with strong audio and hard-matted 1.85:1 image.  Blacks are satisfyingly deep though the other colors are a bit faded and some highlights blow out and there is the usual analog to digital noise but its a great fansub effort for such an obscure giallo.  Whoever fansubbed it, please step up.

MarcMorris

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I have the Italian video release of this one on the Dolly label.
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DjangoLi

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Great review ecc, I enjoyed (and share) all of your thoughts about this average giallo/thriller. I haven't had the chance to catch up with Byleth yet but I hope it's an improvement!

I'm not really sure of the source but I'd guess it was the Italian VHS (I don't remember any TV logos). Probably the same one Marc mentions, as I can't see this having had many releases in Italy, it seems pretty obscure.

This was something I subbed a while ago for CG.

Expect a load of new fansubs very soon btw. I have 4 or 5 new films completed, i just need to do some tidying up/fill in a few blanks with them.

 
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ecc

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Looking forward to them.

Johan Melle

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Other than the disappointing ending I thought BYLETH was really nice. This one, however, was pretty disappointing. I fully agree with the SPASMO comparisons but Savona just doesn't seem to know how to generate any suspense out of the proceedings. The two leads quickly get bored in the isolated hotel and that's a feeling that rubs off on the audience. I must say, though, that I loved seeing Tom Felleghy, one of the most recognizable supporting actors in Italian cinema, playing a much bigger role than usual. Stelio Candelli in a leading role is rather unusual too - with a face like that he was pretty much destined to keep playing bad guys.

Btw, Candelli's usual pseudonym is Steve Elliot - not James Harris, which is actually the pseudonym used by the actor who played the Devil in NUDE FOR SATAN.

I'm anxiously awaiting more fansubs, DjangoLi! Your hard work with subtitling films that are unavailable in English is highly appreciated! Can't wait to see what's next. Personally, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Gianni Martucci's TRHAUMA and Giovanna Lenzi's infamous DELITTI!  :-\

ecc

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I just noticed that BYLETH and THE DEVIL'S WEDDING NIGHT share the same composer (the music is similar).  I guess Mark Damon liked him enough to bring him onto that one (Damon did have some creative input on Solvay's film, right?).

babybreese

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I just watched this last night, and was laughing when the couple break out their projector to run some porno.
I know Patrizia Volti from AMUCK ( with Rosalba Neri ), where the cast watches movies with Patrizia's character in them, and here she and Stelio Candelli's character watch a movie with Rosalba Neri in it!  I could not recognize what Rosalba film the sex scene shown is taken from, but it was a clever surprise.  When she sees it, Patrizia says " Is this really Italian?" and Candelli's character replies, " You'd be surprised, the Italians make more than most ."
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