Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 13th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, August 28th, 1971
Director: Luigi Bazzoni
Writers: Luigi Bazzoni, Mario di Nardo, Mario Fanelli
Cast: Franco Nero, Edmund Purdom, Rossella Falk, Renato Romano, Pamela Tiffin
DVD released: March 28th, 2006
Approximate running time: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: Andrea Bild (Franco Nero) is a washed out journalist who drowns his sorrows in alcohol and when a prominent socialite is nearly murdered on their way home he is assigned to the case. He becomes indirectly involved as a suspect because the night before he had been drinking at the same bar as the victim. The bodies start too pile up as Bild feverously tries to unmask the killer before he becomes the fifth victim?
The Fifth Cord is based on a novel by D.M Devine which bears the same title. Like many book to film adaptations the final product doesn’t resemble or faithfully capture the essence of the novel. The films plot doesn’t spend enough time getting to know the various victims like the book which fully fleshes each character out. The lack of background info on the various characters is this films biggest flaw.
The film opens up with your traditional giallo killer who scans the room looking for its next victim while talking in a hoarse genderless voice. The killer’s identity is a well kept secret and the killers’ motive is ingenious even by giallo standards. The victims’ deaths are not as bloody or brutal as latter day giallo’s that followed in the wake of Dario Argento’s Deep Red.
Franco Nero gives an impressive performance as Andrea Bild. Nero is a chameleon like actor who totally immerses himself in every role. The rest of the cast are above average and at times really good with a standout performance by Pamela Tiffin.
The Fifth Cord was directed by Luigi Bazzoni who would only direct a handful of films over the span of roughly a decade. Bazzoni with the help of famed cinematographer Vittorio Storaro would create a picturesque landscape for The Fifth Cord that is filled with bizarre camera angles and futuristic landmarks. Visually this film is one the most stunning beautiful giallo’s ever committed to celluloid.
Ennio Morricone’s jazzy score is filled with discordant sounds and angelic choir voices. The music cues in this film are diverse and none of them have that recycled feel that some of Morricone’s other score’s do. Despite being pretty standard the plot remains interesting tell the very end.
The Fifth Cord is an above average thriller that is greatly benefited by a brilliant performance from Franco Nero.
Blue Underground presents The Fifth Cord in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This high definition transfer has been flagged for progressive scan and the overall quality it nothing short of remarkable. Colors are vivid and details are exceptional sharp.
This release comes with only one audio option an English language track that is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. This audio mix is as equally impressive as the transfer for this release. Dialog is crisp and never sounds too soft. The music and effects are evenly mixed. There are no problems with this audio mix which sounds pretty good for a film nearly thirty five years old.
Extras for this release include the films original English language trailer. The main extra for this release is a fascinating featurette with Franco Nero and cinematographer Vittorio Storaro which runs about sixteen minute in length. Both men talk extensively about working with director Luigi Bazzoni through out their careers and on The Fifth Cord.
The Fifth Cord makes its long overdue release in America via Blue Undergrounds nearly flawless DVD release.