Sunday, April 28, 2024

Noirsville Bonus

"Under U.S. copyright law, your self-published work (and any writing of yours, for that matter) is protected as soon as you put pen to paper. Copyright is based on your creative authorship and is not dependent on any formal agreement with a book publisher or self-publishing company."

I'm copywriting this Idea - "A Noir Channel that not only shows Classic Noir films but also shows desaturated color films and TV."

The problem with a "Noir Channel" has always been that you'd run out of real Noir content fast, but if you desaturated the last 70 years of content you'd make it work easily. lol

John Harbourne come up with a logo, Van Dimi, Michael C Calomino, Sarah Paveglio, Elizabeth Pearce, Kirk Shaudys, Jean Cottraux, Isamu Inoue. are automatically on the board of directors. 

 The Film Wha? Channel

"All Noir All the Time"

(coming soon)* 

* looking for investors, lol 

Noirsville Pulp Fiction / Title Art of the Week


Saturday, April 27, 2024

Torso aka I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale (1973) - Giallo on the Cusp of Noir

"A Surveillance Of Assailants" (Noirsville)

Directed with a lot of style by Sergio Martino. 

I've seen just two other films directed by Martino Slave of the Cannibal God, and A Man Called Blade aka Mannaja. They are both watchable the latter is one of the last of the Spaghetti Westerns BTW. Seems that Martino was more popular after 1986 for his work on series TV.

Written by Sergio Martino and Ernesto Gastaldi and based on a story by Sergio Martino. The really excellent Cinematography was by Giancarlo Ferrando and the Music was by Guido and Maurizio De Angelis (Keoma another of the Last Spaghetti Westerns).

The film stars Suzy Kendall (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Darker Than Amber, Spasmo) as Jane. Tina Aumont (Satyricon) as Dani (Daniela), Luc Merenda (The Violent Professionals) as Doctor Roberto, John Richardson (One Million Years B.C.) as Professor Franz,

Suzy Kendall as Jane

Tina Aumont as "Dani" Daniela

Luc Merenda as Dr. Roberto

John Richardson as Professor Franz

Roberto Bisacco as Stefano Vanzi, Ernesto Colli as Gianni Tomasso, the street vendor. Angela Covello as Katia, Carla Brait as Ursula, Conchita Airoldi as Carol Peterson.

Roberto Bisacco as Stefano Vanzi

Ernesto Colli as Gianni Tomasso

Conchita Airoldi as Carol Peterson

Carla Brait as Ursula

Patrizia Adiutori as Flo (Florence) Heineken, Luciano De Ambrosis as Inspector Martino, and Carlo Alighiero as Uncle Nino. 

Patrizia Adiutori as Flo (Florence) Heineken

Luciano De Ambrosis as Inspector Martino

Carlo Alighiero as Uncle Nino. 

Here is a Giallo film that really impressed me with it's Style. Film Noir has always been on the cutting edge of Style out of sheer necessity. Usually when you don't have much of a budget, and you really care about work work, you got to get creative. If you do have a budget and creative control you can really splurge. 

Sergio Martino delivers a nicely distilled mixture of thriller, beauty, blood, violence and sexploitation. Martino was obviously influenced by Sergio Leone who was a master of ratcheting up tension before a quick explosion of violence. Here he gives us elaborate sequences of beauty and clam before the storm, so to speak.

"Between subjective shots, furious zooms, slap-shot panoramas, there is all the stylistic paraphernalia of Italian genre cinema of the period. But used with a class and awareness superior to those of many of Martino's best-known and most celebrated colleagues." (Giordano Efrodini)

I'll take Giordano's word for it because most of the Giallo that I've seen are not my bag. They have characters that are almost all 'beautiful people," with actors who you can't tell tell apart at least in the US, and seem interchangeable, and they usually are impeccably dressed, never seem to have actual jobs, and appear to belong to the upper crust of society, and as Robin Leach used to put it live the lives of the "rich and famous."  

Here though for a change we get international university students during the Age of Aquarius, but we get a weird mixed "scene" of a combo of bongo beatniks, drugs, orgiastic love-ins and hippies. It reminds me somewhat of Hollywood burlesqued depictions of the swinging 60's with in house studio made canned  music rather than the real deal. It feels off from an American perspective but who knows maybe it was as depicted over in Europe. Hip through an Italian filter. Suzy Kendall supplies a tether of cinematic memory to one of the first American Neo Noir Darker Than Amber the only Travis McGee film to ring true even though it starred Aussie Rod Taylor both he and Kendall were superb. If Kendall had not been it the cast I probably would have passed on this film. 

Ok so lets get to the film.

It starts off with a porn shoot running under the credits, the two women, we later find out are Flo and Carol. are having a a menage a trois with an unidentified man, while someone photographs them. 

It's just T&A with your imagination filling in the rest. However there is a doll in the shots, and what amounts to a brief flash back to a different doll. A prop? A clue.  Remember it. After the credits we get a general intro to all the characters who are connected by being enrolled in an Art History Class / Workshop taught by Professor Franz in Perugia about 100 miles North of Rome. 

Jane, Flo, Carol, Ursula, Katia and Dani are all enrolled for various reasons, only Jane seems to be taking things seriously the others are the "girls gone wild" of the early '70s. She is also leaning towards a relationship with Professor Franz, they seem to like what each other sees and they begin to hang out together.

The credit sequence already shows Flo and Carol are into exhibitionism, multiple partners, porn and each other. We also find out more details of the intertwined lives of the others. Carol is also having an affair with Dani's rich Uncle Nino. Dani herself has a quasi stalker Stefano who has had a crush on her since childhood. Katia and Ursula are another couple of "lipstick lesbians." 

Things start going Noirsville. Flo is the first woman killed. She and John from class sneak away to a deserted lovers lane under an Autostrada and have a hide the sausage session in a red 1972 Innocenti Mini Cooper 1300, must have been pretty cozy. 

We see the POV shot of a possible peeping tom coming upon them, and approaching the Mini Cooper. 
John and Flo are snoozing lightly in post coital bliss.

When they hear a noise and John gets dressed, and he gets out of the car and looking around to see who is out there. He starts walking towards one of the pillars. 

John heads off out of site behind one of the pillars holding up the "cavalcavia" - overpass.

Flo continues to dress. John has not yet returned. She gets anxious. She turns on the headlights and gets out of the car. Big mistake.

She walks towards the pillars that hold up the Autostrada.

 Flo does not see John. When she returns to the car is strangled to death with a red and black scarf by someone wearing a ski mask. 

We cut to the next day. Its of the crime scene.. We find out what happened to John with a close up of John's body. His throat is cut. 

Of course the double homicide is big news in Perugia. 

The next victim is Carol. She has a breakup with Uncle Nino and consoles herself at a pot smoking "love in" in a deserted building with two boy toy motor cyclists she is acquainted with. 

The get high and watch a young woman wearing "Daisy Dukes" gyrating to music. We get low angle shots and its obvious that for the woman ""nothing comes between her and her jeans."

The dancer

Nothing comes between her and her jeans

They want to make a sandwich. Carol is high but not that high, so not into that, she gets up and walks out of "the happening," across a road and into a marshy woodland. 

One of the guys hops on his bike and goes on an off the road quest for Carol, he however gets caught in a bog and gets his bike stuck.

But out in the boonies Carol runs into a ski mask wearing maniac.

The maniac pulls out a black and red scarf and strangles Carol to death.

The maniac then pops her eyes out. During this sequence we see what turns out to be a brief flashback to a doll's face with a hand popping the dolls eyes out. 

Ah Ha!. A mask wearing maniac with a doll fetish. 

Personally, whenever I see characters wearing masks I think back to some of the earliest memories I had as a child. Very early Black & White cartoons on TV always depicted "the bad guys" wearing masks and if that wasn't enough also wearing prison style striped suits, like they just escaped from the joint, lol, and it looked pretty stupid even to a kid. So I got imprinted with mask = stupid, not mask = scary or cool. This film very obviously influence American Slasher films to come.

Anyway you look at it this film is an interesting ride.


This film might have benefitted using some American actors like the Spaghetti Westerns did in the 1960's to bring a bit of cinematic memory to the work. Imagine it sprinkled with some misdirection with a little bit of say Timothy Carey, or John Davis Chandler in some minor supporting parts, lol

Almost every sequence we get from Martino is like the equivalent of a plot McGuffin, a surveillance of assailants that may or may not mean anything, but they advance the plot and one of them may be important but there's so many of them coming at you combined with some very stylistic camera work that you just go along for the carnal carnival ride. The Visual style phototropic-ly stimulates the Dark "Noir Stained" Story but it's on that cusp. Here, I see almost no difference between Highly Stylized Noir and Highly Stylized Giallo. For some folks it will tip either way too. 8/10