"Nobody Ever Knows Anything"
When an insurance adjuster is decapitated with a dredger, Police Inspector Luca Peretti (George Hilton) is on the case. Peretti soon discovers that the dead man was investigating the kidnapping and murder of a girl and her father and that the killer is eliminating everyone who gets too close to the truth. The investigation leads to a post office box, the victim's drawings, a broken statue, and a house with a crooked chimney, but how do the clues add up? Someone in the victims' family might hold the answer but, while they all say they want to find the truth, everyone seems to have something to hide.
This movie has some clever ideas and two very well-staged murder scenes (the sight of a body hanging from the claws of a dredger is both hilarious and horrifying; the circular saw murder is gruesomely realized) but try to make sense of the story and motivations and everything falls apart. Don't expect a lot of skin or gore (aside from those two aforementioned scenes) because this is a straight-up procedural. And not a very good one – it's sad that the writers couldn't give the killer any clear motivation. George Hilton does a great job as always, though, and effectively holds the movie together.
- The score was written by the "Italian John Williams," Ennio Morricone. I just totally made up that nickname.
- When we see her at home, Paola (Patty Shepard) is watching TV. The movie is 1966's classic Western Django, starring Franco Nero of The Fifth Cord.
- The kidnapping victim, Stefania (Lara Wendell, credited as Daniela Rachele Barnes) is about eight years old but, due to a bad translation, she is repeatedly referred to as a "baby." In Italian, the word "bambina" refers to a small child – not necessarily an infant.
- Note that the total body count is seven, but the first two kills listed above occur before the action of the movie starts.
- This movie borrows something from classic mysteries that you don't usually see in gialli: a final scene where the detective gathers all the suspects into one room, runs through the clues, and reveals the identity of the murderer Nick Charles-style.
What the Hell Am I Watching?
Marilú Tolo appears in two completely superfluous scenes as Anna, Peretti's sullen, neglected girlfriend. Perhaps these scenes were included to give Hilton's character more dimension, but they really stop the movie dead in its tracks.
One of the victim's uncles, Benjamino (Alfred Mayo) is a sculptor. As Peretti is questioning him in his studio, a naked nine-year-old girl appears suddenly in the doorway. Benjamino shoos her away and explains that the girl is a model for his sculptures. And Peretti totally accepts that as a valid explanation for being completely alone in his apartment with a naked nine-year-old girl. I know this is supposed to throw suspicion on Benjamino, but really? Not cool, movie. Not. Cool.
In his long sideburns, caterpillar mustache, and wool three-piece suits, George Hilton is serving up some serious Ron Burgundy realness in this film.