Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 11th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, November 19th, 1970
Director: Luciano Ercoli
Writers: Ernesto Gastaldi, Mahnahén Velasco
Cast: Dagmar Lassander, Pier Paolo Capponi, Simón Andreu, Osvaldo Genazzani, Nieves Navarro
DVD released: March 28th, 2006
Approximate running time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: One evening a blackmailer tells Minou that her husband Peter has murdered someone and that he has proof. While visiting Minou learns while visiting her friend Dominique that one of Peter’s business partners has died mysteriously. The next day Minou’s recognizes the man who attacked her a few nights before in a pornographic photographic which Dominique showed her. Later that same evening the blackmailer calls Minou up and he demands that she meet with him the next day. The next day Minou goes to meet the blackmailer in hopes of paying him off and shortly after he arrives it soon becomes clear that no amount of money will buy him off.
Forbidden Photos of a Lady above Suspicion would mark the directorial debut of Luciano Ercoli (Death Walks in High Heels) and after watching the film one wouldn’t know that it was made by a first time director as every thing looks polished and perfectly put into the right place. When Ercoli and his films are discussed he is never mentioned in the same breath as some of his more elevated contemporaries. Ercoli is auteur in his own right and his films are every bit just as accomplished and beautifully stylized like Dario Argento, Sergio Martino and Lucio Fulci films. His sense of framing compositions’ and pacing of plot is second to none.
Forbidden Photos of a Lady above Suspicion is not your atypical giallo as there is no black gloved killer, no excessive bloodshed and the murdered is exposed early on. The films protagonist Minou played by Euro-cult sex pot Dagmar Lassander (The Frightened Woman) also defies the genres standard conventions. Minou is being blackmailed and she feels that she must keep this secret while keeping her husband out of jail by destroying all the blackmailers’ evidence. To go any further might run too much of the mystery lets just say that this is just one of many plot twists that send the story in another direction.The films other main lead is actress Nieves Navarro (Death Walks at Midnight), who later in her career would play the victim in several giallo’s. This time around she plays the most level headed person in the film and she is also the one Minou relies on when she starts to lose grip on what is real anymore. Both Nieves Navarro and Dagmar Lassander look stunning and mere words can really not sum up their true beauty in this film.
Ennio Morricone’s score is superb and other worldly enchanting. Morricone has a knack for composing scores that enhance the mood of a film. Ernesto Gastaldi’s (The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh) screenplay is nearly flawless outside of a few minor quirks that at first may leave you scratching your head. Overall Forbidden Photos of a Lady above Suspicion is an exceptional giallo that succeeds without having to rely on genre clichés like violent and carnal set pieces.
Blue Underground presents Forbidden Photos of a Lady above Suspicion in an anamorphic aspect ratio that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The colors are vivid with lucid reds and cool blues that perfectly capture the early 1970’s décor. The black levels are strong as there is an exceptional amount of detail in every frame. There are no problems with compression, artifacts or edge enhancement and grain is kept to a minimum.
This release comes with only one audio option a English dubbed audio track which is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. Dialog is easy to follow and understand. The music and effects especially Morricone’s score perfectly compliment each other. There are no problems with hiss or distortion.
Extras for this release include the films original English language trailer. The main extra for this release is a nine minute interview with Ernesto Gastaldi titled ‘Forbidden Screenplays’. Gastaldi gives a nice overall view about his involvement in this film. He has many interesting stories and things to say about the various cast members and director Luciano Ercoli. Overall Blue Underground gives another top tier giallo the first class treatment that is deserves by giving a strong audio/video presentation.