I may die, but you'll pay.
Father Giorgio (Maurizio Bonuglia) is a well-loved priest in his parish, a father figure to orphan Ferruccio (Arturo Trina), and a hero to young Sister Tarquinia (Claudia Gravy). But he also has a sinful side - after breaking off his secret affair with beautiful married teacher Orchidea (Beddy Moratti), he starts up a relationship with hot-blooded Giulia (Eva Czemerys). When Father Georgio is found dead in the chapel, it's up to Commissioner Boito (Renzo Montagnani) to solve the case. Was the priest murdered out of jealousy or revenge or because he knew too much? Everyone seems to have a motive, but it's only a matter of time before the killer strikes again!
The Weapon, the Hour & the Motive is a pretty decent giallo, brought to us by producer and writer Francesco Mazzei in his only directorial effort. The body count is low, but Mazzei seems more interested in shocking his audience's religious sensibilities than filling the screen with gore - mildly blasphemous imagery and story points take precedence over the kill scenes. The script does have its ups and downs and some pretty glaring plot holes, but just when you think the conclusion is an anticlimactic let-down, the story keeps going and proves to be as sly and clever as you'd hoped.
- Giulia's tarot readings count as a paranormal story element for the purposes of the checklist above.
- The translation I saw changed a few names - Giulia is called "Julia" and Commissioner Boito is called "Voight."
- A few story elements are borrowed from Argento. The scene where Boito silently explores an abandoned building is very Argento-esque and I believe that the police reviewing film footage of the victim's funeral to search for suspects comes from Cat O'Nine Tails.
- There's also a clever camera move that appears twice in the movie. The characters are sitting around a round table with the camera in the center, pivoting between them from person to person as the dialogue plays out. It's the same effect that would frequently be used decades later on TV's "That 70's Show."
- A good alternate title for this movie would have been The Dead Hour.
The blasphemous imagery includes a sexually active priest, a mysteriously falling crucifix, Ferroccio defacing a religious painting and spying on the nuns, use of tarot cards, and a scene of nuns naked in the shower.
There's also that weird scene where all the nuns in the convent get topless (except for their cowls) and self-flagellate while crying out Latin prayers until they're all bloody and sore. It's a classic scene of "nunsploitation," full of sex and violence, crossed with religious fervor.
Father Giorgio also whips himself for penance, but then only a few scenes later his scars have miraculously healed. Then, when he's found dead, they're noticeable again.
I find it weird that the priests and nuns are totally cool with Giulia's tarot readings at the church. I thought they'd see that as a form of witchcraft.
Why does Ferroccio need injections throughout the movie? Does he have some sort of medical condition? It's never adequately explained.
Midway through the film, Boito takes Orchidea to... what? A friend's house? A rented villa? A restaurant with no other patrons? Anyway, they sit down to eat, talk a bit and, without warning, she suddenly leaves the table. A woman walks by the doorway. Boito has a weird exchange with the hostess about her son. Then he gets up to look for Orchidea, who sees him, but continues on to the next room. He eventually finds her naked in a bed where they have some grownup times. It is a weird, directionless head-scratcher of a sequence.
Near the end of the movie we see Father Giorgio's late-night murder in flashback, but when the killer runs out the chapel's front doors, it's broad daylight.
There's a lot of yellow in this movie, but it doesn't exactly to add up to a motif or point to the killer the way it would in a Lamberto Bava movie. Giulia appears in this great yellow top with a plunging neckline, mandarin collar and black and gold embroidery. She looks like a sexy Starfleet officer.
Commissioner Boito shows up in a yellow jacket...
... on a yellow motorcycle...
...which he takes to the abandoned restaurant, which has this bold yellow sign.
Orchidea is the only other person in the movie who wears yellow.
But let me throw this out there. Orchidea wears this red shirt under a black and white striped jacket early in the movie...
...which seems to parallel and link her to Giulia's blood-soaked appearance later on.