• Plot of Fear

    Released by: Raro Video
    Released on: 5/22/2012
    Director: Paolo Cavara
    Cast: Michele Placido, Corinne Clery, Quinto Parmeggiani, Tom Skerritt, Eli Wallach
    Year: 1976
    Purchase from Amazon

    The Movie:
    This Italian-made cop drama follows the story of Inspector Lomenzo, played by the mustachioed Michele Placido, who’s working a bizarre murder case involving pages from a children’s book being left at the crime scenes, strategically placed on or around the corpses. During his investigation Lomenzo meets a gorgeous model named Jeanne (Corinne Clery, right after her title role in The Story of O), who has information about the murders, and the two plummet into a steamy relationship. Jeanne attended a kinky sex party at a wealthy homeowner’s estate, and it so happens that the bodies turning up all attended that same party; a party that ended with a deceased hooker. The death at the party is believed by the authorities to be an accident, but Jeanne knows better. With her help, Lomenzo gets deeper into the conspiracy, which involves 1st degree murder and a slick smuggling operation, and knowing too much could cost them their lives.

    It might not sound like anything more than a standard cop drama with some giallo influences, but it is a fantastic little movie. If the fact that Eli Wallach is in the it doesn’t make this worth a look, there’re plenty of other reasons to pay attention to this mid-70s whodunit. It starts right out with two separate murders, with an awesome fuzz-sound theme song sandwiched in between, which really gets the motion going for the duration of the film. Not high-speed kinetic motion in the action movie sense, but with a tight narrative that maintains a pace that keeps the film interesting throughout the duration. And if the opening credit music rocks your world be glad to know it makes a few more appearances.

    Corinne Clery draws the attention in every scene she’s in with those amazing eyes of hers, and thankfully she has lots of screen time. Although in other genre films (such as Yor, the Hunter from the Future and Hitch Hike), she probably most known to American audiences for her role as Corinne Dufour in Moonraker. A classic beauty with solid acting chops, Clery plays her role with seeming ease, making a good balance to the somewhat uptight Inspector Lomenzo. The chain smoking detective is driven to solve the series of murders while juggling his love life and dealing with his asshole superior, played with dubbed zeal by Tom Skerrit, who no doubt is in the film to appeal to the overseas U.S. market. Yes, that’s correct, his voice is dubbed. And so is Eli Wallach’s for that matter, and neither voice sounds anything like the real ones. It’s kind of funny but to people familiar with the actors it’s a bit of a distraction. Especially with the case of Mr. Wallach, and not having his real voice and inflection takes a lot away from his presence. But you can’t not love to see him in a movie so it’s forgivable. Despite the draw of Ms. Clery and the hopeful draw of the American cast members, Michele Placido as Lomenzo is the standout performer here. He’s great as a bend-the-rules kind of cop but with his own spin, and is incredibly likeable in his role. This is his movie, start to finish.

    No review of Plot would be complete without mention of the flashback scene where we get to see what happened at the snooty sex party Jeanne attended, that ends with the dead whore. Aside from a blow job under the table parlor game, the party goers watch cartoon porn on a projector, which appears to be about a rape by some spiked and spinning dildo. It's out there, it’s sleazy, and really ups the ante for a film that already has plenty of sex and nudity to begin with.

    Not everything makes sense once the movie is over, and despite the rather lengthy explanation by Wallach as to the motive of the killer and the identity, this viewer walked away not quite seeing thing clearly. The opening murder cause some confused head-scratching when trying to figure out who the killer is as the movie unfolds, and a number of little facts seem to befuddle things further, but in the end who cares. This sleazy little story makes for some very satisfying viewing. Great characters, solid acting, lots of nudity, cool music, and a cartoon porno. That is a formula for cinematic gold.

    Raro has put out another fine transfer the delivers vibrant colors and a nicely detailed picture. Boasting a new HD transfer and digital restoration on the back cover, they put their money where their collective mouth is. The image is very satisfying, with minimal imperfections and plenty of natural grain. And the black levels are nice and deep. It’s looks fantastic. The audio is handled in two ways, 2.0 Italian language track and an English dubbed track. Both sound fine with no troubles to report, but the original Italian track sounds better (and it is subtitled). Natural sounds always win out over the canned audio, but for some (guilty) the dubbing makes the movie more fun.

    For extras, look for three interviews: the screenwriter Enrico Oldoini (12:59), the director’s son Pietro Cavara (13:22), and lead actor Michele Placido (17:10). All are subtitled and well worth sitting through. A lot great info is shared and discussed, although it is a bit dry. Also included on the disc is an essay by Fangoria staff member Chris Alexander. The essay is available as a color pdf and a quick read. Sadly it’s not part of the packaging, inserted as a booklet/liner notes item, but it’s worth giving it your time nonetheless.

    The Final Word:
    This movie is absolutely deserving of the care Raro has given it. The video presentation and the supplemental material give the disc an extra nudge, making this one a must have.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      This one is for Paul...kind of tough to see, but it's a bus.

    1. Paul Casey's Avatar
      Paul Casey -
      haha Fantastic!! Thanks, dude.