It's so beautiful being rich. Money is everything.
After business tycoon Sir Ronald Selmer's plane explodes in mid-air, three Vice Presidents, Paul De Revere (Leonard Mann), Sir Arthur Dundee (Joseph Cotten) and Sir Harold Boyd (Adolfo Celi) stand to inherit his position of power. Each man's ambitions lead them to conspire against each other and it seems that nothing is off-limits - including murder. But each killing is so cleverly made to look like an accident that Inspector Hawks (Anthony Steel) finds it difficult to connect the dots. Who will be the last man standing?
The Perfect Crime (not to be confused with literally dozens of other movies with the same title) is a fun late-period giallo where the audience is always allowed to stay one step ahead of the police. Groovy music, fast cars and opulent settings add to the style factor and the fast-moving plot makes it a fun watch right up to the end, buttoned with a winking reveal. The cast is a spectacular array of stars including Joseph Cotten (from nearly every major Orson Wells production), Adolfo Celi (a James Bond alum, featured in Who Saw Her Die?), Susperia's Alida Valli, Blood & Black Lace's Franco Ressel and Fulci alum Janet Agren. There's even a cameo by the great Maria Tedeschi, who seems to have made a living off her cameos in giallo movies.
- The original Italian title translates as Investigation of a Perfect Crime.
- I'm going to say that the title does make sense because, while the audience finds out the identity of the killer - spoiler alert - he doesn't get caught in the end. Also, I didn't check "Inept Police" above, because they do everything in their power to catch the killer but were simply outsmarted.
- Check out the background of Paul's office - it looks like he has a painting by Margaret Keane, as seen in Tim Burton's film Big Eyes.
Let's talk about the scene where Sir Harold's wife, Gloria (Janet Agren) sneaks off after a fox hunt to have some grownup time with two guys at the same time.
...Or the time Sir Arthur sends his girlfriend to seduce and murder Sir Harold.
This movie features one of the most ingenious kill scenes in recent memory. The killer slips into Sir Arthur's bedroom at night and zaps him with an electromagnet gun. When the police arrive the next morning, it looks like he had a heart attack caused by a malfunctioning pacemaker.
The clothes in The Perfect Murder are well-chosen for a cast of rich English socialites in the 1970's. Which is to say, they're expensive-looking, conservative and boring. Nothing says old money like fox hunting gear.
Except maybe a double-breasted suit.
Further proof of my theory that no one looks good in double breasted suits.
Polly (Gloria Guida) did get to glam it up (tastefully) in one scene, though, but she was hidden by the table.