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Death Smiled on a Murder (Arisitide Massaccesi, 1973)
After her carriage crashes and kills her driver, a young woman named Greta is taken in by a wealthy young couple named Eva & Walter Von Ravensbruck who call on their doctor, Dr Sturges, to help her. The Doc's unusual treatment methods involve making her strip and sticking a needle into her eye!. While examining her, Dr Sturges notices a strange pattern on her necklace, which turns out to be a secret formula that the Doc need’s to complete his experiments to raise the dead.
A few days later Greta recovers and begins an affair with Walter, much to the annoyance of Eva, who wants Greta for herself. In a fit of jealous rage Eva leads Greta into the cellar where she locks her up and bricks up the door so she can’t escape. Meanwhile the police are baffled by a series of murders, including that of Dr Sturges, all of which have a connection to Greta.
Death Smiled on a Murder (orig: La Morte Ha Sorriso All’Assassino) was the first major directing gig for Joe D’Amato (RN: Aristide Massacessi), who is perhaps best known for his ‘Black Emanuelle’ series with Laura Gemser. Compared to those films Murder is a fairly low key affair, actually it’s quite boring. At times it feels like a romantic drama and the story is a mess. Fortunately there are a few things that maintain the viewer’s interest; The cinematography by D’Amato is excellent , the period production design is better than many similar low budget film’s from around that time and Berto Pisano’s haunting score is superb, easily the best thing about the film.
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The DVD from Holland on the ‘Shock’ label has a nice non-anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer that is free of any damage. The only audio option is an English dub track which is full of crackle and can be quite distracting at times. There are also optional Dutch subtitles.
The only extras are the theatrical trailer, a gallery of frame grabs and some liner notes (in English).
It is also out in Germany from X Rated and in the USA from Legend Films on a double bill with The Torture Chamber of Dr Sadism.
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Posted 11-22-2009 at 07:36 PM by Kyle
Posted 11-23-2009 at 07:15 AM by bizarre_eye@Cult Labs
Posted 11-25-2009 at 02:49 PM by KPWNINJA
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