"Do you think everything has a logical answer? The reality we live isn't arranged like a story."
When Oscar Marot (Arnaldo De Angelis) dies in a train accident, his three daughters, Simone (Femi Benussi), Rosalie (Giovanna Lenzi, credited as Jeanette Len), and Colette (Valeria Ciangottini) are surprised to learn that he left them a small fortune. But, according to the will, no money will be distributed for three years, when slow-witted farmhand Janot (Ernesto Colli) turns 21. When Janot is found dead it appears to be a suicide, but Inspector Greville (Tom Drake) believes that it was murder. Could the killer be Rosalie's husband, Leon (Ivo Garrani), who has sizable debts around town? Or perhaps it's Simone's married boyfriend Jules (Iscaro Ravaioli), who needs money to get a divorce. The police investigation ramps up as more and more potential inheritors turn up dead. Which of the heirs would kill for Oscar's money?
Deadly Inhertiance is a great early giallo that starts slow and builds to a wonderfully surprising twist ending. And then it throws another twist on top of that for good measure. Add some nice action, a gratuitous nude scene, beautiful cinematography, and a touch of humor and we have the makings of an under-appreciated giallo gem.
- Deadly Inheritance is also frequently known by two Italian titles: Omicidio Per Vocazione (which translates roughly to A Talent for Murder) and L'assassino Ha Le Mani Pulite (or The Killer Has Clean Hands).
- You may recognise Tom Drake, who plays the Inspector, as Judy Garland's "boy next door" in Meet Me In St. Louis.
- You may also recognize Ernesto Colli, who plays creepster Janot as the creepy scarf vendor in Torso or as the creepy morgue worker in Autopsy. You can't say he didn't fill a niche.
- The steps in the farmhouse turn a rounded corner, which I'm counting as a spiral staircase.
Thanks to a lazy and completely inept police force, old and clearly out-of-shape Leon manages to evade a village-wide manhunt. He's on foot and they can't seem to catch him in police cars. He takes a rowboat and manages to evade their motorboat. And then – best of all – he sneaks back on to shore a few yards away from two policemen while their backs are turned.
We learn that Janot is a creepster when he spies on Simone taking a shower. She is shocked and disgusted when she catches him and whacks him with a towel. But then, for some reason, she apologizes to him. How crazy is that?
Who exactly is Etienne (Virgilio Gazzolo), the bearded guy who accompanies the Inspector? Early on, he appears to have a romantic relationship with Colette, but that doesn't stop her from flirting with other men. The police address him as "Commissioner," but then why does he appear adjunctive to Inspector Greville during the investigation?
The surf rock band that plays at the nightclub appears to be a quartet – two guitars, a bass, and a drummer – so where are those horn sounds coming from?
The French village of Epibaix seems to have an unusually young population for a small, agrarian community. There are enough teenagers to support two nightclubs and they all seem to be hip to beach music and the latest fashions from Southern California.
Among our main characters, youngest daughter Colette seems to be the most fashionable. She wears this mod little number for most of the film.
But near the end, she changes into this simple and chic fitted t-shirt.