Feb 22, 2010

Posted in 1970s, European Films, Films Categories, Italy, James, Reviewers

La Corta Notte Delle Bambole Di Vetro (1971)

La Corta Notte Delle Bambole Di Vetro (1971)

Part one of a four part review of Anchor Bay Entertainment’s four DVD set entitled The Giallo Collection, this one concerns Short Night of Glass Dolls.

This was director Aldo Lado’s directorial debut. It was originally titled Malastrana (which is a place in Prague that is described by Aldo Lado as being Kafkaesque) but the title was changed due to the distributors belief that the title would confuse the viewers. Inspired by politics in Italy at the time it was made, and Kafka, this film stars Jean Sorel (Lucio Fulci’s Lizard in a Woman’s Skin) as Gregory Moore, an American reporter, and co-stars Barbara Bach (The Spy Who Loved Me) as Mira Svoboda, Moore’s girlfriend. Also Ingrid Thulin as Jessica and Mario Adorf as Jacques Versain.

Set in Prague it deals with the “older” elite sucking the life blood out of the young. Literally. Evil black magic conspiracy’s, murder, intrigue, the iron-curtain, communism. In an interview Aldo Lado describes an instance in Italy’s political system in which a Judge spoke out against this system and found himself exiled and this instance inspired parts of the film.

The film opens on a gardener finding our protagonist dead in the bushes. The body is shipped to a morgue. It is here that we find out that Gregory is not in fact dead but alive trapped in his dead body (the metaphorically exile). With only a working mind, Gregory tries to figure out what has happened to him and why.

The film cuts back and forth between scenes of the doctors examining his body and his memories as he pieces them together.

Mira comes to Prague to visit Gregory and one day he gets a call about a story. When he returns he finds Mira missing but all of her possessions are still in his home. He, against the wishes of the police, immediately begins an investigation. As he does so he learns of previous missing girls and a strange group of people that seem to consist of the elder economic and artistic elite, all rather pale in complexion.

As Gregory is prepared for autopsy he discovers that these people belong to a cult that feed off of the blood and sacrifice of the young which we see culminating in a bizarre orgy of elderly people.

Will their secret remain safe? Will Gregory wake up before the knife is taken to him.

This is an intriguing and unusual giallo that, while slightly slow in pace and rather bleak, should keep the viewer interested with its twists and turns. This is an important yet relatively unknown giallo ( as are the other three in the collection). And I’m glad that Anchor Bay has chosen to bring it to the light.

The DVD is presented in widescreen, enhanced for 16×9 televisions. It includes a director’s filmography, a trailer and an enlightening interview with the director.

-By James

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