Weekend Murders

Weekend Murders

"Aren't they just too revolting, these family reunions?"

Henry Carter, 2nd Earl of Vale has died at his lavish country estate in Suffolk, England and his relatives have all gathered for the reading of his will. A few token odds and ends are allotted, but the vast majority of the Earl's wealth goes to his niece, Barbara (Anna Moffo), who cared for him in his old age. The rest of the greedy family is naturally upset but things get serious when the butler, Peter (Ballard Berkley), turns up dead and a sniper's bullet barely misses Barbara's head. Inspector Grey (Lance Percival) is called in from Scotland Yard and, assisted by bumbling local constable Aloisius Thorpe (Gastone Moschin), sets out to solve the case. But over the course of the next few days, more people turn up dead and family secrets are revealed. Could the murderer be George (Chris Chittell), the prankster with a morbid sense of humor or his shrewish mother, Aunt Gladys (Marisa Fabbri)? Maybe it was Anthony Carter (Peter Baldwin) whose wife, Isabelle (Ida Galli, credited as Eveline Stewart) is having an affair?  Grey and Thorpe must find the killer fast!

Weekend Murders features elaborate pranks, physical comedy, and a wacky score by Francesco De Masi that parodies Tchaikovsky. There's no blood, only brief nudity and sexy scenes, and, really, it's closer in tone to cozy English whodunnits or the 1985 comedy Clue than to more conventional gialli. But it's still a fun little movie, especially after the halfway point, when Sargent Thorpe stops being annoying and becomes a competent detective. The final reveal – in a scene where the suspects are gathered and the murderer is pointed out – turns out to be delightfully ingenious.

  • The movie starts with the discovery of the third body and then flashes back to the previous Wednesday to fill in the story.
  • The title "sort of" makes sense because the murders take place over more than a weekend. 
  • The musical references to Tchaikovsky, punctuated by gunshots, make more sense with the original Italian title, Concerto Per Pistola Solista or Concerto For Solo Pistol.
  • Even though we never meet him and he dies of natural causes before the movie starts, I'm including Henry Carter's death in the body count above.
  • The ending of the movie is ambiguous, but I'm going to be optimistic and count it as a "fake murder."
  • You may remember Marisa Fabbri as the maid in Dario Argento's Four Flies On Gray Velvet. You may also remember Beryl Cunningham as the stripper in So Sweet... So Dead.
  •  English actor Lance Percival performed the voices of Paul and Ringo in the animated TV series The Beatles well as in the 1968 film Yellow Submarine.
 What the Hell Am I Watching?

Uppity Aunt Gladys nearly has a stroke when he meets her nephew's new wife – African-American Pauline Collins (Beryl Cunningham).

There's a crazy scene with a rape gone bad... but it's not what you think. George, wearing a mask, breaks into the maid's room to rape her, but she just laughs and says that he should have just asked. At this point, George has guilt-induced visions of his overbearing mother and flees screaming from the room.

Later – less than 24 hours after her husband is gunned down by the killer – George approaches Pauline and clumsily puts the moves on her. "Why not?" she says, as the two disappear into her room.

Fashion Moment

We're dealing with moneyed English elite here, so the clothes are impeccable... but super-boring.  It's Pauline, already an outsider in her new family, who stands out further with some flashy, trendy fashion choices.

She wears a colorful sweater, miniskirt, and thigh-high patent leather boots to the reading of Henry's will.

At dinner, she goes for this dramatic Seven Year Itch-inspired gown and blonde wig.

Mourning the death of her husband, she sports this striking white fringe coat, reminiscent of angels' wings.


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