Monday, January 30, 2012

Blood Diamonds: Death Walks on High Heels (1971)

Death Walks on High Heels (La morte cammina con i tacchi alti) (1971)
starring:  Frank Wolff, Nieves Navarro and Simón Andreu

A train roaring through the night, a man with a gun; these are the first two things we see in this "giallo" until an assassin with piercing blue eyes, wearing a balaclava helmet, suddenly arrives and knifes the guy's neck. Cut to Paris; Nicole, a dancer, is being interviewed with her boyfriend, Michelle, by the Chief Commissioner about the murdered man, which turns out to be an international jewel thief AND Nicole’s father. The Commissioner is hoping Ms. Nicole would cooperate, but she, in turn, shows little concern over her father's demise, or the diamonds.

However, it’s not long before someone began threatening her, voice-box disguising their voice and attacking her one night as the same blue-eyed man broke into her apartment, razor pressed against her. Surviving the attack, Nicole finds comfort on Michelle, but after finding blue contacts in his medicine cupboard, she feared he might be the killer. She runs to Dr Matthews, a man she befriend during one gig as an exotic dancer and urges him to take her to England with him to escape her assailant. The pair wastes no time enjoying their time there and Matthews finds his friend an isolated seaside cottage to relax in. That is until a figure in the black balaclava came back, and he's running out of patience.

While the title is an eargasm for my craving for a good giallo title, Death Walks on High Heels is hardly one. It's a "giallo-hybrid" of sorts, mixing the hard-boiled heist thrillers with the sensitivity of the fancied murder-mystery. As any giallo titles out there, the film took its time leading us from one red herring to another, and provided enough plot twists to leave any suspicions astray. It's pretty flair, but by the time the attacker finds his/her way to England, the film slows down and slugs its way further to more twists, a direction that got me disappointed to what was a attention grabbing opening.

It's not all that bad, the story still had brought some sparks of cleverness and the production looks well-handled, but I like my giallo to be pure murder mystery and less jewel heist; not a horrible idea, just not my taste. But watching this, I do understand that not all giallo would be following this formula as religiously as most slasher titles would anyways. The convoluted narrative is reasonably gripping despite being uber slow, and offers a number of plot twists along the way to keep any giallo enthusiasts happy.

Not the best giallo I know, but at least I'm glad that I get to see it.

1 male knifed on the neck
1 female found drowned
1 female knifed to death
1 male shot
total: 4

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