The Fifth Cord

The Fifth Cord

"When I drink I forget things. It makes life much easier."

Andrea Bild (Franco Nero) is an alcoholic reporter with a troubled personal life, who finds that he is a suspect with no alibi when his enemies and acquaintances start turning up dead. But who would try to frame him? At the scene of each crime, the killer leaves a glove with a successive number of fingers cut off – counting down the number of murders he plans on committing. Now, Andrea must find a connection between the attacks, discover the murderer, and clear his name.

Franco Nero may get top billing in The Fifth Cord, but the real star of this film is cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. The Fifth Cord is not only one of the most beautifully-shot gialli ever, but it stands up against some of the greatest cinematography of all time. Storaro would go on to win three Academy Awards for his work on Reds, Apocalypse Now, and The Last Emperor. Though The Fifth Cord is available on YouTube, do yourself a favor and watch it on a big screen on DVD instead, to take in the astonishing beauty of Storaro's artistry.  It's a shame, however, that the sub-par script with its anticlimactic, cop-out ending doesn't meet the same standards as the cinematography.

  • Franco Nero is most famous as the star of gritty Westerns and especially for the iconic role of Django. He is also famous for being Vanessa Redgrave's husband and her co-star in the romantic comedy Letters to Juliet.
  • You will never see more spiral staircases in a movie than in The Fifth Cord
  • The title "sort of makes sense" because it refers to the five fingers being cut off the gloves at the crime scenes. I'm not sure if it's a bad translation or what. The original Italian title, Giornata Nera Per L'Ariete ("Black Day For the Ram") sort of gives away a third act plot point.

What the Hell am I Watching?

The Fifth Cord is a slow, steadily-paced movie with no big surprises. Except maybe the scene where Andrea follows a suspect to a live sex show. Or the shot of sweaty, exhausted Andrea chugging a bottle of J&B while driving down the road at night. Tell you what: not to keep harping on this, but  the jaw-dropping camera work is the most astonishing thing about this movie. Let's enjoy:

 Fashion Moment:

Beige trench coats.

Lots and lots of beige trench coats.

Ohmygod.  Beige trench coats.