Monday, 25 May 2015

Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion (1970)

Blue Underground DVD with English dubbing.

Just how far would you go to protect your husband?

The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion is a film made at the tail-end of the sixties sexual revolution and portrays a traditional marriage torn apart by domination (both inside by her husband and outside by a sex-crazed blackmailer), and the search for liberation. Everything this "good wife" does is ordered; don't move, stay there, be quiet, stop it. She has no free will and flaps around like a puppet.

As an example of how much of a dick her husband is: his wife is thrown to the ground, has her dress cut open and a knife held to her throat and he says "Yes, but he actually didn't do anything. He just held you down. Threatened you. Probably some kind of prank".

An unusual giallo in that you think you know what's happening but not why; what is the motive? There's jealously, architecture, a spiral staircase, art, dreams, oddles of flashbacks, bondage, mental collapse, an external investigator, there's even some black outfits and gloves although not where you expect them and Carlsberg lager replaces the usual J&B Whiskey product placement. The film is quite noir'ish with flashbacks and voice-overs and good use of lighting and shadow. There is one film that springs to mind when watching this, but don't click on the link if you don't want a major spoiler. The first part moves quite slowly and has a lack of atmosphere and tension but gathers steam towards the end.

The dialogue is pretty poor in places and I don't think an Italian soundtrack would have helped - maybe it's that I've been spoiled lately. It's nicely shot with another groovy score by Morricone.

The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion is chock full of innuendo, suggestion and sex, perversion, and BDSM. A pretty bloodless giallo with a distinct lack of bodies but I quite liked it.

Finally: there's a tortoise in it for no apparent reason! Can anyone tell me why it's there? Did I miss something?

Original letterboxd review

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