"Did Michael speak to you? He's in danger - why don't you believe me?"
London artist Peggy (Gillian Hills) is worried about her boyfriend Michael - he's a reporter who has been covering the Vietnam war and has been out of contact for four months. In Michael's absence, Peggy rents the upstairs loft of her apartment to a friend of a friend named John Kirk Lawford. When she receives a mysterious phone call from Michael telling her to meet him at an abandoned airplane hanger, Peggy is nearly murdered by a gloved assassin and when she returns home, she finds that her new tenant is dead, having fallen from her upper-floor balcony. Things get even stranger when another man appears at Peggy's door, claiming to be the real John Kirk Lawford. Who wants Peggy dead? Where is Michael? Which is the real John Kirk Lawford? And why is there a suitcase full of money stashed in Peggy's hamper?
The Killer Wore Gloves is trashy fun in the classic style of Death Walks at Midnight and The Case of the Bloody Iris, featuring a mix of sex, blood, suspense and a variety of creative kills. The plot, with its double-identity hook, is really ingenious and is based on the novel Juan a las Ocho, Pablo a las Diaz by Luisa Maria de Linare, unfolding at a quick pace with plenty of suspects and victims on hand to keep things interesting.
- The original Spanish title of this movie is La Muerte Llama a las Diez, or The Killer Calls at Ten (though he never does). In Italy it's called Le Calde Labbra del Carnefice, which translates as The Hot Lips of the Executioner.
- If Gillian Hills looks familiar, you may recognize her from A Clockwork Orange, Michaelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up, or as Glenda Kelly on TV's Dallas.
- Bruno Corrazari is no stranger to gialli, having appeared in Blade of the Ripper, Seven Bloodstained Orchids and Puzzle.
- You'll notice that I did not check "Gay character" in the checkboxes above. Yes, Peggy's upstairs neighbor, Mr. Lewis (Carlos Otero), is a hypersensitive single musician who dotes on his cat, swans around his apartment and wears tight sparkly shirts, but did you see the way he leers at Peggy? Please feel free to disagree.
- All the men in Peggy's life are real scumbags. Her client, Ronald (Stelio Candelli) openly offers her money for sex, the first John Lawford and Mr. Lewis leer at her, and it turns out that Michael isn't the catch he appears to be.
The one animal killed is the rabbit that the landlord caught and skinned. Where, one might ask, does someone catch a rabbit in the heart of Europe's largest city?
I suppose the craziest thing about this movie is that at every single opportunity, Peggy refuses to tell anyone what's going on in her life and seek help, and it's never clear why. She's lured to the hangar and shot at and never tells anyone about it. The police ask about the dead man who fell from her balcony and she denies meeting him. She starts into a police station but chickens out on the front steps. Why? What's keeping her from getting the authorities involved?
When we first meet Peggy, she's running around town this two-piece leather maxi dress. Even with the decorative venting, it must be incredibly hot to wear.
Later, she shows up in this hilarious Sonny Bono-style jacket with fluffy wool vest and gauntlets.
Here's Peggy's apartment in all its eclectic glory. It's a fun mix of modern and vintage pieces and I like the colors. I think that giant egg cup is some sort of table lamp.
Finally, this is what passes as appropriate office attire in 1974: