Das Antlitz des Todes (1971)

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Das Antlitz des Todes: Directed by José María Forqué. With Analía Gadé, Jean Sorel, Rosanna Yanni, Tony Kendall. Ruth and Michel separate after Ruth finds another man, Paul. Ruth and Paul go to her sunny, idyllic beach side villa to spend summer. They are having a great time together, and then things start happening. The brakes of the car fail, and Ruth narrowly escapes death. The driving equipment goes faulty, and Ruth almost drowns. Michel turns up at their doorstep for an uninvited social call, and Paul asks him in. Ruth suspects Michel of being the person behind the mechanical faults of the car and the diving equipment, but Paul dismisses such a possibility – but he does suggest it to Michel. Then, the heat does go up…

“Despite being made in 1971, the big year for the classic-style violent murder-mystery gialli, this Spanish giallo is a throwback to the late 60u0026#39;s type which was less concerned with bloody mayhem and more with dangerous love triangles and deadly melodramas. Its story focuses on a woman who heads off to a seaside villa with her new lover who she has left her husband for; while there a series of dangerous incidents occur leading her to believe that someone is trying to kill her.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThis one opens with a cracking credit sequence full of colour and beautiful drawings. It sure gets you in the mood for another slice of top quality giallo mayhem. Unfortunately, this one doesnu0026#39;t really live up to this promise and pans out as a fairly run-of-the-mill psychological thriller. Itu0026#39;s not a bad film or anything, as it has some nice photography, a lush score from Piero Piccioni and benefits from its early 70u0026#39;s vibes. But its story just never engages as much as it needs to and it reveals its hand quite early on so for the last half of the film there isnu0026#39;t even a mystery to propel events. I think the story needed to be stronger as it is pretty minimalistic stuff in terms of characters. There are only really five of any consequence, including a couple of enigmatic individuals in the periphery – a male friend from u0026#39;the waru0026#39; and a female seductress. In terms of suspense, we have a car hurtling down a mountain road with faulty brakes and an incident with a scuba tank with no air. Fairly slim pickings on this front in truth and there is no real violence to speak of either but there is admittedly a fair bit of sex and nudity thrown in to keep things more interesting. I think it may be other less plot-driven details which might be the most memorable though, such as any scenes involving the swan and all the underwater sequences. In summary, this is a nice looking yet slightly underwhelming example of a giallo, still well worth seeking out if you are an enthusiast of the genre though.”


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