Nuit d’Or (1976)

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“My name is Marie, the arsonist, the lunatic. Meet me tonight at my mother’s. Signed, Michel”
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vt Die Nacht aus Gold; vt Golden Night
France, WG / 79 minutes / color / Eurofrance, U.G.C., Société Française de Production, F.R.3, Maran Dir: Serge Moati Pr: Philippe Dussart Scr: Françoise Verny, Serge Moati Cine: André Neau Cast: Bernard Blier, Klaus Kinski, Marie Dubois, Jean-Luc Bideau, Charles Vanel, Anny Duperey, Elisabeth Flickenschildt, Raymond Bussières, Valérie Pascale, Maurice Ronet, Catherine Arditi, Martine de Breteuil, Jean-Pierre Sentier, Fernand Guiot, Catherine Therouenne.

An offering that has a lot of the feel of a giallo—the borderline surrealism, the hyper-real color use, the sense that the movie’s reality is taking place inside a sort of bubble universe where the rules resemble but are not identical with the ones we’re accustomed to, the visual and narrative style, the grotesquery, etc.—but lacks both any gore to speak of and much by way of nudity/sex. In fact, it seems to tip a mocking hat at these giallo conventions in its early moments, when we see Commissaire Fernand Pidoux (Blier) indulging—as perforce do we—in a little trivial voyeurism, watching through binoculars as Continue reading

Bande des Schreckens, Die (1960)

vt The Terrible People; vt Hand of the Gallows

West Germany / 91 minutes / bw / Rialto, Constantin Dir: Harald Reinl Pr: Helmut Beck Scr: J. Joachim Bartsch, Wolfgang Schnitzler Story: The Terrible People (1926; vt The Gallows’ Hand) by Edgar Wallace Cine: Albert Benitz Cast: Joachim Fuchsberger, Karin Dor, Fritz Rasp, Dieter Eppler, Ulrich Beiger, Karin Kernke, Ernst Fritz Fürbringer, Eddi Arent, Karlgeorg Saebisch, Alf Marholm, Elisabeth Flickenschildt, Otto Collin, Günter Hauer, Josef Dahmen, Werner Hedman.

Bande des Schreckens 0 opener

One of the earliest in the long series of Rialto/Constantin krimi movies based (increasingly loosely) on the works of Edgar Wallace—it’s #3 on the list if I’ve counted right—this isn’t as bonkers as some of the later entries . . . No, no, no, I take that back. It’s not as flamboyantly bonkers as some of the later entries, but it’s major-league bonkers all the same.

For a long time Inspector Blacky Long (Fuchsberger) of the Yard and his boss Sir Archibald (Fürbringer) have been on the tail of the notorious master-criminal Clay Shelton (Collin), and finally Long nails him in a bank in the act of cashing a fraudulent check. Shelton tries to bluff it out, claiming really to be the check’s token signatory, Colonel Proudley, but no go. He makes a break for it, and before he can be subdued he’s put a fatal bullet into a uniformed copper.

Bande des Schreckens 1 Shelton judges his judgers, soon before hanging

Shelton (Otto Collin) judges his judgers.

On the morning of his 8am hanging, Shelton persuades the prison authorities to summon a collection of individuals to his cell, and to each of them he promises a nasty death even after he himself has departed this mortal bourne. They Continue reading

Labyrinth der Leidenschaften (1959)

WG, Italy / 95 minutes / bw / Universum, CEI, UFA-Filmverleih Dir: Rolf Thiele Pr: Walter Tjaden Scr: Gregor von Rezzori, Rolf Thiele Story: Our Hearts are Restless (1955) by Gladys Baker Cine: Klaus von Rautenfeld Cast: Nadja Tiller, Peter van Eyck, Amedeo Nazzari, Nicole Badal, Hanne Wieder, Elisabeth Flickenschildt, Ina Duscha, Benno Hoffman, Matteo Spinola, Piera Arico, Eduard Linkers, Anna Maria Lussi, Ljuba Welitsch.

Labyrinth - 0 mood opener

A fascinating psychological drama. Until a few years ago, Georgia Gale (Tiller) was a poet of great renown, but then she stopped writing and started drinking heavily. Now, as a desperate last resort, she has traveled to Switzerland, to the Sanatorium de Lattre, where she hopes to find a cure at the hands of the famous Professor De Lattre (Nazzari).

Labyrinth - 2 the petulant Georgia

The petulant Georgia (Nadja Tiller).

Almost as soon as she has arrived she’s rebelling against the regulations, not least that Continue reading

Case of the Frightened Lady, The (1940)

vt The Frightened Lady; vt The Scarf Murder Mystery

UK / 80 minutes / bw / Pennant, British Lion Dir: George King Pr: S.W. Smith Scr: Edward Dryhurst Story: The Case of the Frightened Lady (1931 play) by Edgar Wallace Cine: Hone Glendinning Cast: Marius Goring, Penelope Dudley Ward, Helen Haye, Felix Aylmer, George Merritt, Ronald Shiner, Patrick Barr, Roy Emerton, George Hayes, John Warwick, Elizabeth Scott, Torin Thatcher.

In a decaying country pile, Mark’s Priory, live the last of the ancient Lebanon lineage, the widowed Lady Lebanon (Haye), her pianist/composer son William “Willie”, Lord Lebanon (Goring), and the latter’s second cousin, Isla Crane (Dudley Ward), who works as Lady Lebanon’s secretary.

There are many peculiarities about the household. For one, the servants are barred from entering the main portion of the house after 8pm, at which time the two sinister footmen Gilder (Emerton) and Brooks (Hayes) take over. For another, the room in which the late Lord Lebanon spent his last years of illness and eventually died is kept permanently locked. A frequent visitor from London is the sinister physician Dr. Lester Charles Amersham (Aylmer), who seems to have some hold over Lady Lebanon and certainly has been extracting large sums of money from her. And someone has just put a bolt on the outside of the bedroom door of Isla Crane—who’s in consequence the (understandably) frightened lady of the title.

The frightened lady . . . with pursuing shadow . . .

Lady Lebanon is urgently intent that her son marry Isla pronto in order to continue the line. Unfortunately for her plans, Continue reading