Saturday, July 9, 2016

#2,137. Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion (1970)

Directed By: Luciano Ercoli

Starring: Dagmar Lassander, Pier Paolo Capponi, Simón Andreu

Trivia: Legendary composer Ennio Morricone composed the score for this film

Trivia: This movie was also released as Days of Anguish

Bored housewife Minou (Dagmar Lassander) gets more excitement than she bargained for when, while out walking one evening, she’s assaulted by a stranger (Simón Andreu) who claims he has proof her well-to-do husband Peter (Pier Paolo Capponi) is a murderer. Both Peter and family friend Dominique (Susan Scott) try to help Minou forget the harrowing encounter, but when a businessman that Peter’s company owed money to turns up dead, the frightened housewife begins to wonder if her attacker was right.

Sure enough, the man gets back in touch with Minou, claiming he has an audio tape proving Peter was involved in his business associates’ death, and says that if she doesn’t sleep with him, he’ll turn it over to the authorities. To save her beloved husband from going to jail, Minou reluctantly agrees, yet is later shocked to learn the man took secret photos of their sexual encounter, and is now threatening to show them to Peter! For Minou, the entire ordeal has been a nightmare, but is the blackmailer acting alone, or do those people closest to Minou know more than they’re letting on?

Director Luciano Ercoli’s Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion is a fascinating mystery / thriller, with enough plot twists to keep you guessing right up to the very end. The story ducks and weaves so many times, in fact, that over the course of the movie we suspect pretty much everyone (at one point or another) is plotting against the lead character (her best friend Dominique, played so well by Susan Scott, had her own run-in with Minou’s blackmailer years earlier. Is this merely a coincidence, or something more?). There are even moments when we, like many others in this film, wonder if the entire thing was a figment of Minou’s imagination (did the boredom get the best of her?).

The movie never tires of throwing red herrings our way, and the final reveal definitely caught me off-guard. Though lacking the nudity and violence so prominent in other giallos of this time period, Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion managed to hold my undivided attention from start to finish.

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