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Author Topic: Tragic Ceremony (Riccardo Freda, 1972)  (Read 11542 times)

zykl0nb

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Re: Tragic Ceremony (Riccardo Freda, 1972)
« Reply #15 on: 03 Feb 2008 - 17:31 »

I actually like Iguana with the Tongue of Fire as well, although the nth generation bootleg I saw it on was so washed out and poor quality, I can't comment on its cinematic qualities.  I'm looking forward to watching Tragic Ceremony too, I've not yet seen it, but I've got the Dark Sky disc at the top of my pile.
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Stephen Grimes

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Re: Tragic Ceremony (Riccardo Freda, 1972)
« Reply #16 on: 03 Feb 2008 - 18:41 »

I actually like Iguana with the Tongue of Fire as well, although the nth generation bootleg I saw it on was so washed out and poor quality, I can't comment on its cinematic qualities. 
Haven't you seen the NEW release of IGUANA Graal?Whilst not the best transfer it's still very watchable and alot better than any other versions out there.
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ecc

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Re: Tragic Ceremony (Riccardo Freda, 1972)
« Reply #17 on: 04 Feb 2008 - 03:36 »

One thing I noticed here is that Paul Muller actually gets to speak in the Italian version.  The entire sequence where he explains what the hell happened in this film is missing from the Spanish versions (though the Spanish versions have a more effective ending by giving the last line of dialogue to Paluzzi).

zykl0nb

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Re: Tragic Ceremony (Riccardo Freda, 1972)
« Reply #18 on: 05 Feb 2008 - 18:57 »

I just watched this via the Dark Sky disc and I have to say I enjoyed it.  It started out with a creepy slow pace, so the explosion of violence in the ceremony scene caught me off guard.
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robertmonell

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Re: Tragic Ceremony (Riccardo Freda, 1972)
« Reply #19 on: 10 Feb 2008 - 11:21 »

Riccardo Freda later rejected the film and disowned it as he had with his THE IGUANA WITH THE TONGUE OF FIRE (1971).  TRAGIC................... was obviously edited without his approval, to make a slow moving film seem more sensational. It's his worst horror film, but even a bad Freda film is more interesting than good films by lesser directors. The main problem is that it's written by Mario Bianchi, the bottom feeding hack. This Italian print confirms that since he's listed as story/screenplay author alone. The Spanish print lists Spanish coproducer Jose Maesso and Leonardo Martin as coauthors. Tecisa Executive Maesso took over the preparation of the Spanish version which meant he created new opening and closing credits to include [sometimes fictitious}] Spanish personnel to qualify for larger tax breaks. He also elimated nudity as mentioned, wrote and dubbed in new Spanish dialogue which has more religious references than the Italian and edited out the last scene with Paul Muller.  He also retitled it TRAGICA CEREMONIA EN VILLA ALEXANDER, a clumsy handle which speaks to the real reason why this film exists. It was a tax shelter, pure and simple. Freda, always impatient and irritable, arrived on the set frustrated that all his own projects were not getting the go ahead and this would be his last film of the decade, which still had 8 years left to go! He would be plunged into extended umemployment. The extremely bipolar visual style, swinging from indifferently blocked out expository scenes where the talent challenged young cast (with the exception of Tony Isbert) read a lot of very dull dialogue to upshifted moments of gothic atmosphere telegraphed by the occasional striking wide angle shot or finely composed image. There are way too few of the latter. Camille Keaton struggles to be totally ineffective in the lead role and there are some good actors, Luigi Pistilli, Irene Demick, Muller, Pepe Calvo (Clint Eastwood's only friend in town in FISTFUL OF DOLLARS), but in very small roles. The extremely conservative director, who hated the 1960s youth counterculture with the long hair, nouvelle vague and hippie clothes must have felt very uncomfortable with a story where idle, lazy young people are victims of Satan worshipping, wealthy owning class members. This is where the film takes on interest and relates to his previous film and his next one, both of which are notably superior. The film actually works better without the final scene, which just crudely telegraphs what was obsured by poor structuring and scripting. As any professional writer knows you don't bring on a minor character at the last moment to clarify plots which should have been made in the previous act, espeically since that character is obviously a modus operandi whom would have no way of knowing this arcan information. Metempsychosis/soul migration could be a subject for an interesting movie, but this is just a stupid mistake of a movie which should have never been made. No wonder Riccardo Freda was unhappy.
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Stephen Grimes

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Re: Tragic Ceremony (Riccardo Freda, 1972)
« Reply #20 on: 10 Feb 2008 - 11:33 »

The main problem is that it's written by Mario Bianchi, the bottom feeding hack.
Bianchi made some great films,very low budget but entertaining.
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Johan Melle

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Re: Tragic Ceremony (Riccardo Freda, 1972)
« Reply #21 on: 10 Feb 2008 - 18:31 »

Comparing the Spanish and Italian credits of this and ENIGMA ROSSO (actually the Spanish and likely Italian-derived English credits) it looks like Spain is a little less stingy about crediting Italian talent than Italian with the Spanish names. 

Yeah, this is true. As for the Italians, they did at least acknowledge whether a film was a Spanish or French or German co-production. On Greek or Turkish co-productions, however, they seemed to go out of their way to cover up this fact. Just look at films like ORE DI TERRORE (1969) and the WW2 flick HELL IN THE AEGEAN (1970). They were both Greek co-productions but not a single one of the Greek cast or crew members are credited and neither is the Greek production company. It's the same with a lot of Turkish co-productions, such THE HAND THAT FEEDS DEATH and LOVER OF THE MONSTER, the two horror films Riccardo Garrone made back-to-back in 1974. It almost looks as if the Italians were ashamed. Strikes me as odd. Does anyone know if Italians have a somewhat strained relationship with Turks and Greeks??

Back to TRAGIC CEREMONY, there's a rumor going around that either this film or IGUANA was actually directed by Freda's daughter. Does anyone know anything more about this?

Jonny

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Re: Tragic Ceremony (Riccardo Freda, 1972)
« Reply #22 on: 10 Feb 2008 - 20:19 »

Back to TRAGIC CEREMONY, there's a rumor going around that either this film or IGUANA was actually directed by Freda's daughter. Does anyone know anything more about this?

I've only ever heard the rumor that 'Iguana' was directed by Freda's daughter. Can't recall where I heard it though.
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magnus

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Re: Tragic Ceremony (Riccardo Freda, 1972)
« Reply #23 on: 10 Feb 2008 - 20:43 »

but this is just a stupid mistake of a movie which should have never been made.
haha, touché! that´s probably why i like it so much! i´ve now seen a handful more films by Freda, but this remains my favorite, top-trash! should have realised Bianchi was involved, maybe Mario (or even more Andrea) Bianchi doesn´t rhyme with quality, but they do deliver the goods in confusing entertainment. you´re right, the script isn´t built up like "any professional writer" should have made it, very strange dynamic, you never know what to expect the next moment. to me that is something i hold in very high regard!
Yes, i also recall the rumor surounding Fredas daughter, i believe it was in Eyeball i read it.... did she also direct any films by herself, or how did the rumor came about?
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zykl0nb

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Re: Tragic Ceremony (Riccardo Freda, 1972)
« Reply #24 on: 11 Feb 2008 - 00:24 »

The film works for me on purely an atmospheric and visual level, but then again I like Bunuel and Jodorowsky so obviously I don't mind a script that discards reason  ;D
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robertmonell

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Re: Tragic Ceremony (Riccardo Freda, 1972)
« Reply #25 on: 23 Feb 2008 - 11:37 »

I think a superior DVD of IGUANA would raise the film's reputation, I haven't seen the one that's out. Also his erotic bibical epic UR (1970) is very intense and needs a DVD along with an English friendly DVD of LIZ and HELEN and an R1 of DEATH AT OWELL ROCK and his COPLAN films among many. Freda is woefully underrepresented on DVD, at least in R1.
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Johan Melle

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Re: Tragic Ceremony (Riccardo Freda, 1972)
« Reply #26 on: 23 Feb 2008 - 17:36 »

I'd like to see more of Freda's work in decent-looking presentations too! One of his films that I've been curious about is his thriller TRAP FOR A KILLER (1966) with Irene Papas.

robertmonell

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Re: Tragic Ceremony (Riccardo Freda, 1972)
« Reply #27 on: 23 Feb 2008 - 17:58 »

I'd like to see more of Freda's work in decent-looking presentations too! One of his films that I've been curious about is his thriller TRAP FOR A KILLER (1966) with Irene Papas.
That's a gorgeously photographed period giallo with a very painterly visual style, some shots are modeled on Goya's war paintings. I have an Italian language video dub. Worth seeing.
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Gary B.

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Re: Tragic Ceremony (Riccardo Freda, 1972)
« Reply #28 on: 10 Jul 2008 - 05:44 »

I finally watched this last night, and thought it was kind of dull, and a very ugly looking film.  It felt like a horror film re-edited to become a crime/horror hybrid without success (check the Italian title!).  The hallucinatory, satanic death-ritual scene was really good though!  More time spent in the creepy castle, and an abandonment of the crime investigation part of the story may have made this one much better. 
[spoiler]
While I was watching this, I kept thinking that it seemed as if the rich guy is going to end up being part of this Satanic ritual set up to have his friends killed (the pearl necklace backstory, his loss of the boat 'game', his inability to get the girl, running out of gas, his mother sending them away, etc).  The eventual conclusion makes the film seem wildly uneven with plenty of weird filler, especially with the extremely absurd ending with the doctor rambling on about Paluzzi's character's occult connections, and the "if you find her, then you find the killer!" line.[/spoiler]

The Camille Keaton interview on the Dark Sky DVD is pretty informative and entertaining, and I enjoyed it more than the film itself.
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slizwiz

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Re: Tragic Ceremony (Riccardo Freda, 1972)
« Reply #29 on: 10 Jul 2008 - 18:32 »

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