Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 11th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, November 17th, 1972
Director: Luciano Ercoli
Writers: Sergio Corbucci, Ernesto Gastaldi, Guido Leoni, Roberto Leoni, Mahnahén Velasco, Manuel Velasco
Cast: Susan Scott, Simón Andreu, Pietro Martellanza, Luciano Rossi
DVD Released: July 21st, 2003
Approximate Running Time: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English, Dolby Digital Stereo French
DVD Release: Mondo Macabro
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL
Retail Price: OOP
Synopsis: A nightclub dancer named Nicole is being stalked by a killer who wants to know where her father has hidden stolen diamonds. Frightened after a late night encounter where she narrowly escapes death. Nicole then decides to go to England with Robert, a man she barley knows. From there Nicole quickly forms a romantic relationship with Robert and just when she has finally settled into her new life. The ever resourceful killer resurfaces and gives her one last chance to hand over the diamonds.
The film’s narrative is well constructed, especially the second half of the film which employees several flashbacks sequences. Also there are an ample amount of red herrings to ensure that there is never a dull moment and best of all this film’s finale more than delivers the goods. Another strength of this film is its use of locations which give Death Walks on High Heels a more expansive vibe than its predecessor the claustrophobic Death Walks at Midnight.
Death Walks on High Heels is a stylishly directed giallo that is further bolstered by its strong plot and cast. In other areas of this film’s production, Stelvio Cipriani is score is lush and full of many memorable music cues. It is arguably one of his best scores. When it comes to the killings in this film they are not that graphic. With the only death scene elevating itself to gruesome.
Cast in the role of this film’s protagonist Nieves Navarro (The Big Gundown, Naked Violence) in the role of a nightclub dancer named Nicole. She is one of handful of actresses form this era of Italian cinema who dominate every time she appears onscreen. This is one of her stronger performances and she more delivers an ample amount of heat in role of nightclub dancer.
Another performance of note is Luciano Rossi (The Violent Professionals) in the role of Hallory, this character takes care of a cottage owned by Robert. Though he is given not much to do and for the majority of the film he portrays a straight forward character that is in contrast to the crazy personas’ he is most known for portraying. In the film’s finale his character has a Psycho like moment that will forever remain engraved in your mind. Overall Death Walks on High Heels is a tense thriller that does a remarkable job exploiting all of the clichés we have come to expect from the giallo genre.
Death Walks at Midnight is presented in anamorphic widescreen that frames the image at an aspect ratio of about 2.00:1 instead of its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The color palette beautifully capers the films vintage décor. Print damage is minimal overall source material used is in great shape and grain is kept to a minimum. Despite the speculation over Death Walks at Midnight’s original aspect ratio everything appears to remain in frame on this DVD release from Mondo Macabro.
Two audio options English and French language tracks have been included for this release both in Dolby Digital stereo. Unfortunately English subtitles have not been included event though they are mentioned on the box for the French language track. The overall sound quality is pleasing as all the action and dialog easy to follow. The audio tracks are clean for the most part with some minor hiss and there are no problems with distortion during playback.
Extras include a text interview with Luciano Ercoli and Susan Scott as well as cast and crew bios for Susan Scott, Simon Andreu, Luciano Rossi, Claudie Lange and Luciano Ercoli. Rounding out the extras is a seventeen minute featurette “Death Walks at Midnight and the giallo genre” in which Adrian Smith gives a brief overview of the giallo genre. This featurette leaves a lot to be desired as most of the content any seasoned giallo fan will already know and I would suggest checking out Adrian Smith’s book on the giallo genre “Blood and Black Lace” instead. Overall Mondo Macabro gives Death Walks at Midnight the red carpet treatment giving the film it best home video release to date with some interesting extras. The aspect ratio controversy aside Death Walks at Midnight is a giallo from the genre’s golden age that has held up better then most of its contemporaries.