"It's very rare that so much massive and convincing evidence accumulates
against a person who committed a crime."
When a French teenager is murdered in a park in Milan, Italy, the police work quickly and efficiently to find the killer. After analyzing all the clues and eyewitness testimony, they arrest sportscaster Allesandro Marchi with a case built on state-of-the-art forensic science. Allesandro's wife Marcia (Ida Galli) and daugher Sarah (Wendy D'Olive) put their faith in attorney Giullio Corrado (Günther Stoll), who refutes the evidence, piece by piece. But as the case unfolds, deeper layers are exposed, secrets are unearthed, and allegiances shift. Is someone framing Allesandro? Who would benefit from his conviction? And is Sara's boyfriend Giorgio (Helmut Berger) hiding a connection to the case? Things aren't looking good for Allesandro... until another dead body turns up.
The Bloodstained Butterfly (not to be confused with The Bloodstained Shadow) is a rarity in the world of giallo: the mystery unfolds largely in a courtroom. Through flashbacks and character interactions between court sessions, we slowly learn the truth about the girl's murder. The clever writing allows us to consider and re-consider the evidence as it develops, just like a jury would. Giallo is a genre that keeps looking to Hitchcock for inspiration and this one seems to get a lot of cues from The Wrong Man.
- There is a butterfly necklace in The Bloodstained Butterfly, but it's not stained with blood. I'm sure it's meant as a metaphor.
- Tchaikovsky's 1st Piano Concerto features strongly on the soundtrack and then blends in with the jazzy piano-driven score.
- The beautiful cinematography is the work of Carlo Carlini, who worked with such notable directors as Antonio Margheretti and Frederico Fellini.
- Besides the novelty of a courtroom setting, The Bloodstained Butterfly also introduces the main characters at the beginning of the film with a special set of titles.
- Allesandro's surname is Marchi which, in Italian, means "rotten."
- The recurring gag with people commenting on the quality of the police station coffee is a clever way to lighten the mood by a degree or two when things get too serious.
There's a scene where Sarah laments her father's situation and digs for some affection. Sullen Giorgio clearly doesn't pick up on her signals.
Sarah: Poor father, He's the only person who truly loves me.
Giorgio: Give me a cigarette please.
Shortly after this, they share a weirdly aggressive and emotional sex scene. It's hard to tell if they're angry at each other, hurting each other, or enjoying themselves. The reason for this becomes clear by the end of the film.
Allesandro's mistress takes the stand in head-turning style.