I decided to try this out to see how it works on a film that most fans probably wouldn't consider a giallo.
Brian DePalma's BLOW OUT:
Funky music -- yes, especially during the scenes when Jack is reconstructing the film from still shots Twist ending -- yes, at least not something audiences in the early 1980s would have expected Witness of murder -- definitely, that's the whole plot Striptease -- no, but we see photos of some of Sally's "work" Killer’s POV -- yes Man slaps woman -- yes Overloud or inappropriate music -- subjective call but many would probably say yes Outrageous title -- yes, since it is clearly meant as a take-off on Antonioni's Blow Up J&B bottle -- not sure what the bottle is that Sally hits Karp with, so debatable Naked woman -- yes, sort of, in a photo of Sally Death by stabbing -- definitely Red herring -- yes, since Burke seems to have killed Sally midway through the film but this isn't the case Black gloved killer -- yes Goofy police inspector -- yes, though more argumentative than goofy Important picture -- definitely Woman takes bath or shower -- yes, in opening parody of sleazy slasher flicks Blackmail -- yes Gay/lesbian character -- no Important memory -- yes, Jack being haunted by his screw-up while working with the police Random scene in Italian -- not unless one of the songs playing in the background is in Italian Ooh ooh music -- it's Donaggio, so of course Death by razor -- no, but Burke's wire stranglings come close Childhood trauma -- not that I recall Killer’s footsteps -- yes
So a solid 18, plus a few more that could be half points. Overall, DePalma scores much higher than most of the recognized giallos on this thread.
In the UK today the clocks went back, which meant an extra hour overnight. Most sensible people would have an extra hour’s sleep, but I thought what better time to watch my new (used) Blu-ray of The Girl Who Knew Too Much.
In fact, I watched it twice, kinda, because the lovely three-disc set that someone decided to sell to CEX includes both Bava’s original and the cut-for-the-USA “Evil Eye”.
The differences? Many! For one thing, Roberto Nicolosi’s jazzy score is replaced by a not-really-serious effort by Les Baxter. But this reflects the more comedic nature of the US version. His grace Viscount Bark has already scored TGWKTM so I was able to concentrate on its finer points right from the off.
The very nice gag at the end of the original is replaced by an even more Hitchcockian closing sequence, and in a couple of places Evil Eye is more “Carry On” than giallo, which breaks the tone.
The voiceovers are different here and there, and amusingly all reference to marijuana are excised from the American cut. The latter also has a brief “From Here to Eternity” scene not present in the original, it being a mere ten years after that film was released and probably quite fresh in many minds. Being in b&w helped in that respect.
I gather neither Bava nor John Saxon looked back at this film with any great fondness, which is a pity, because I liked it and I’m pretty sure will return to it again and again.
If only to see Auntie Ethel’s eyes moving when she’s dead…
Do You Like Hitchcock? Directed by Dario Argento for RAI-One, first shown March 19th 2005. A collision between two singular directors that’s more of a minor bumper dent; Alfred is name-dropped a few times and the plot rehashes elements of Rear Window, Strangers on a Train, and Dial M for Murder with bits of Marnie and Vertigo but the dialectic (if that’s the correct word) ends there. So,ok, it’s like a DePalma thing (with music by Donaggio, too) that heightens and formalizes Hitchcockian style in the hands of a guy who’s notorious for visual style, right? No. Aside from a couple of striking moments this seems like the TV movie it is. Well,ok, still some interesting mayhem going on, with grim death waiting around every corner, right? Nope, one (1) murder, a blunt instrument noggin-bashing (don’t let the gleaming knives on the video covers, meant to suggest Psycho I guess, fool you, there are no edged weapons in sight) Not much Hitchcock in sight and, unfortunately, damned little Argento. For Halloween purposes, may I suggest Bava’s Black Sabbath?
Funky music- good score by Pino, no funk or overloud stuff, earns a point for a little ooh ooh stuff at the end Witness to murder-no, the wimpy, insufferable lead only wakes up when the cops arrive Twist ending- hard No Killer’s POV- yes Striptease-not really J&B- not anymore Man slaps woman- no she would beat the shit out of him Naked woman- yes, so distracting to the editor that she’s bottomless, topless, and back again Outrageous title- only in its potential Death by stabbing- no Black gloves- no,they’re white! Red herring- I guess so Goofy inspector- no he’s cooler than the protagonist Important picture-no Blackmail- a bit for sex not money,yes Bath/shower-no Gay character- no Random scene in Italian- no all dubbed Important memory- no more of a mixup Death by razor- no Childhood trauma- a little but stupid and not important Killer’s footsteps- yes
The cranky ghost of Bernard Herrmann says 6 points.
Since it’s Gialloween and we’re on the subject, we’re not going out like that… Psycho (1960) directed by Hitchcock
Commentary not necessary, a reference point for many of the films in this thread. Bingo points for the following (somehow the music doesn’t earn any points): Twist ending- kind of, yeah Naked woman- for 1960, yeah Death by stabbing- absolutely Red herring- old woman at the window Woman takes shower- I’m pretty sure Childhood trauma- I think so
Thanks for these, Roofer, Do You Like Hitchcock is in the list.
However, I’m perhaps controversially going to disqualify Psycho. Not to deny that it enjoys several similarities to the giallo, all the points you spot are valid ones. However, the other non-Italian films I’ve included such as Eyes of Laura Mars and Dressed to Kill are arguably at least influenced by the giallo genre (or sub-genre). If we accept The Girl Who Knew Too Much to be the first proto-giallo, then anything that pre-dates it disqualifies itself, even though only a fool would deny Psycho’s - and indeed Hitchcock’s - influence.
Harsh but fair
Come to me with Frenzy and I’ll have a real dilemma on my hands…
Fair enough. I just didn’t want Do you like Hitchcock to be the last thing people saw in this thread. Also I wouldn’t dream of arguing that Bava isn’t the true progenitor of giallo as we know it. By the way, as good as Frenzy is, I don’t think it would score higher than a 2, and that’s a stretch.
Overall, DePalma scores much higher than most of the recognized giallos on this thread.
I'm all for that. It was my interest in De Palma thrillers stretching back to my high school days that got me interested in baroque suspense films in the first place.
I want to avoid mixing up giallo bingo points with qualitative judgements. There’s the “What movie did you just watch” thread for that. The average De Palma film is better made than the average giallo, but it’s the use of tropes in the latter for which this thread exists.
For instance, Don’t Torture A Duckling at 8 GBPs is a much better film for me than Torso at 18.
His grace Viscount Bark has already scored TGWKTM so I was able to concentrate on its finer points right from the off.
At last, I am addressed with proper reverance.
I’m nothing if not deferential to my betters.
I was tempted to take your Hitchcock's Frenzy challenge. The most giallo stuff would be the naked women and an important memory (the tiepin).
No goofy inspector (his wife is, though), no red herring, because in true Hitchcock fashion the killer is revealed early on. Even a blah generic title. (Although the original novel's title, "Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square," is in the lengthy giallo tradition.) How about "I See You're Not Wearing Your Tie" to quote one of Frenzy's most famous lines?
Footprints on the Moon (Luigi Bastoni and Mario Fanelli, 1975)
Welcome back to the giallo bingo thread after a bit of a hiatus. During this time I’ve been catching up with some gialli that have already been rated, such as Telephone (Black Sabbath) and Five Dolls for an August Moon.
However, Footprints is generally reckoned to be a giallo, albeit atypical, and it’s on Prime so I watched it this afternoon. I was joined by Mrs TG, who’s normally uninterested in gialli, but I lured her in with the apparent science fiction element. This proved to be tangential at best but by then she was invested in the story. Briefly, Florinda Bolkan loses three days (and her job) while seeing visions of an astronaut being stranded on the moon. She finds a torn-up postcard from a hotel on a foreign island and decided to go there in the hope of shedding light on her missing days.
Funky music - no, but a great Piovani score Twist ending - yes, although it doesn’t really tie up all the loose threads Witness of murder - not really, more a vision of a failed experiment Striptease - no Killer’s POV - no Man slaps woman - no: woman slaps little girl though, if that’s your thang Overloud or inappropriate music - no, it was perfect throughout Outrageous title - not outrageous, more slightly misleading J&B bottle - not once Naked woman - yes, through a steamed up shower door but I’m counting it Death by stabbing - yes, one Red herring - not really, but a number of redheads, if THAT’S your thang Black gloved killer - no, too warm for that on the island Goofy police inspector - no authorities at all to be seen, in fact the island’s total population seemed to number about ten Important picture - yes, leading her to the hotel, so crucial Woman takes bath or shower= yes, as alluded to above Blackmail - no Gay/lesbian character - no Important memory - I have to say yes as it’s flawed but pivotal Random scene in Italian -delightfully, several Ooh ooh music - not remotely Death by razor - no Childhood trauma - no Killer’s footsteps - no, too much of a stretch
Like the typical FSMer, the bodycount is very low but well worth becoming familiar with!
Seven GB points, not bad for a film that you could actually make a good case for as NOT being a giallo.