The Forbidden Photos of A Lady Above Suspicion/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< The Forbidden Photos of A Lady Above Suspicion
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Playing out more like a sexy foreign soap opera than a full-blooded giallo, Forbidden Photos of A Lady Above Suspicion does not only disappoint due to its differences from genre standards, but due to its inability to provoke involvement from its audience. A feature dealing with lurid sex, blackmail and murder may sound great on paper, but it shouldn't be bogged down with stilted storytelling and laborious plotting. More often than not, director Luciano Ercoli seems to be more concerned with the visual palette than the story progression; making this flick easy on your eyes, but hard on your patience.

While her husband is away on business, sexy housewife, Minuo, lays about her luxurious Italian villa passing the time and trying to keep herself off of the prescription pills (which she pops for her rattled nerves). Since the lives of the rich and jobless can often get a bit dull, Minuo takes a stroll on the beach in the evening, mentally making plans for the nights her husband is away from the office.

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One particularly dark evening, Minuo is followed along the water by a man in black gloves and a leather jacket, who taunts her from his motorcycle. The man claims that her husband, Peter, is a murderer and the only way to stop him from telling the authorities is to beg for his affection and let him make love to her. Although this ruffian lets her go unharmed, Minuo is deeply frightened, especially after learning that Peter's friend and financier, Jean Dubois, has just died from a case of the bends and Jean was using equipment supplied by Peter's company.

Overtime, the mysterious stalker continues to torment Minuo, forcing her to make love to him, which he photographs and keeps as potential blackmail. Since Minuo cannot turn to her husband for help, she sheepishly tells her promiscuous friend, Dominique, who is no stranger to taking a camera to bed and claims that she would have "adored being violated."

Although the film did capture my initial interest, the story seemed to be at a standstill for nearly all of this film's 93 minutes. It rarely seems to try for a scare and most of the meet-ups between Minuo and her stalker are relatively uneventful. This overall banality must have overwhelmed Ercoli himself, since he completely forgot to put any of the delightful "red stuff" into the film that so enamored his countrymen.

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Yet, Ercoli's direction is not amateurish, often seeming articulate and expressive; taking full advantage of the beautiful Italian scenery and the physique of his lead, Dagmar Lassander. The colors used on screen are also quite nice, depicting attractive landscapes shots at wide, overhead angles.

Ercoli does seem to be a talented filmmaker, but, despite his reputation and evidence of his technical ability, he doesn't seem to be able to effectively to tell a story. It's a shame, because his visual work and Ennio Morricone's swingin' melange of tropicalia and light jazz deserve a better story.

Reviewed by Mdeapo

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