• Fox With A Velvet Tail, The



    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: September 12th, 2017.
    Director: José María Forqué
    Cast: Analía Gadé, Jean Sorel, Rosanna Yanni, Tony Kendall, Maurizio Bonuglia, Julio Peña
    Year: 1971
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    The Movie:

    This 1971 Italian/Spanish directed and co-written by José María Forqué opens with a scene in which a wealthy man named Michel (Tony Kendall) tries to instigate some romance with his lovely wife Ruth (Analía Gadé) to no success. She’s not interested in him anymore. Their marriage is, for all accounts and purposes, dead. Ruth is far more interested in another man named Paul (Jean Sorel), a dashing, handsome and younger man who she spends almost all of her free time with.

    When Ruth and Paul head off to the coast to spend some quality time together at her summer home, things get off to a great start but soon take a darker turn when the brakes on their car stop working. Shortly after that, Ruth almost drowns. Around the same time that these strange events occur, Michel shows up at the home, uninvited and unexpected. Ruth assumes that he’s the one behind the events and eventually they question him about all of this – and from there, things start to twist and turn in interesting and unexpected ways. Poking around at the same time is Paul’s old army friend Roland (Maurizio Bonuglia), a man whose chest scars come not from this time in the military, but from a lion! Adding to the cast of characters is the presence of Danielle (Rossana Yanni), the beautiful young woman who has moved in next door that Paul can’t help but notice.

    Although this film could be considered tame compared to some of the more explicit or exploitative gialli out there, The Fox With A Velvet Tail remains a film worth seeking out for those who appreciate the genre. While there’s very little bloodshed to discuss, the film does offer up some kinky set pieces to provide a few mild thrills but more important than that, it tells an engaging story. The characters are fairly well developed and intriguing enough in their own individual ways and if the story takes a bit of time to hit its stride, the forward momentum present in the second half of the picture more than makes up for a slow start.

    The film also benefits from a strong cast. Analía Gadé makes for a compelling lead. She’s attractive enough that you can see why both Michel and Paul would lust after her, but not impossibly so. She handles the role quite well and has decent chemistry with her co-stars. Tony Kendall, no stranger to Eurocult fans what with his fairly extensive genre-heavy filmography, is rock solid as Michel and handsome French leading man Jean Sorel, probably best known for appearing in Belle de Jour and The Day Of The Jackal, is as dashing as can be, making him a great choice to play the man who lures Ruth away from her husband. Throw in a supporting role from beautiful Jess Franco and Paul Naschy regular Rosanna Yanni and an extra quirky turn from The Perfume Of The Lady In Black’s Maurizio Bonuglia and things shape up quite nicely with the talent assembled in front of the camera.

    Shot on location in the French Riviera with some absolutely gorgeous cinematography from Alejandro Ulloa, this is a beautiful looking film. Nicely lit and unique in how it uses some unorthodox camera angles and shot setups, it’s hard to imagine anyone taking issue with how the movie looks. Even some of the obvious strategic placement of objects in the foreground of an early scene intended to obscure Gadé’s topless nudity is done well (yes, it’s obvious that it’s meant to obscure but it is at least handled with some aesthetic prowess). Add to this an excellent score from Piero Piccioni and it’s easy to see why this one would appeal to giallo fans and Eurocult aficionados.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The Fox With A Velvet Tail debuts on a 25GB Blu-ray disc from Mondo Macabro in gorgeous 1.78.1 widescreen transfer in AVC encoded 1080p high definition taken from a new 4k scan of the original 35mm negative. Fine detail is consistently impressive and the image shows nice depth and texture as well. Color reproduction looks nice and natural, and some scenes in particular really pop (the discotheque scene with its red and green lighting is a great example of this). Black levels are nice and solid, and the darker scenes are thankfully devoid of crush or obvious compression artifacts. Skin tones appear lifelike and natural and the image is almost pristine, showing virtually no print damage at all. Additionally the picture appears free of obvious edge enhancement and noise reduction, resulting in a pleasantly filmic presentation.

    Audio options are provided in both Italian and English language LPCM Mono tracks with optional subtitles translating the Italian track (there are some differences between the two). No issues here – both tracks sound clean, clear and nicely balanced. The score has nice range and presence to it while the dialogue is easy to understand. There are no noticeable problems with any hiss or distortion to note.

    Extras start out with a commentary from author Troy Howarth that does a nice job of exploring the origins of the picture. Along with detailing the history of the cast members involved in the shoot, he also talks up director José María Forqué, makes some observations about the film’s title, notes the influence of Mario Bava here and there and also discusses the locations used in the picture and even the importance of the color scheme in the opening scene. Along the way we get Howarth’s take on some of the themes that the plot explores as it evolves, the Guido Crepax inspired credits, some of the visual flourishes employed in the film, the importance of the first love scene in the picture and some of the contrasts that appear as the movie twists and turns in its much darker final half. Well researched and genuinely interesting, this is a welcome history lesson in a fairly obscure entry in the giallo cannon.

    From there, check out the twenty-five minute long featurette So Sweet, So Perverse, an episode of the always awesome Eurotika television show that focuses on the ladies of giallo and sexploitation cinema. Put together by Andrew Starke and Pete Tombs in 1999 this piece is made up of interviews with Erika Blanc, Orchidea de Santis, Daniela Giordano, Brigitte Lahaie and Dagmar Lassander and is narrated by Penelope McGhie. Lots of pertinent clips are used throughout to illustrate various points – some interesting stories here, this is certainly a welcome addition to the disc even if it doesn’t necessarily relate to The Fox With A Velvet Tail directly.

    Aside from that we get a lengthy four minute trailer for the film, alternate English language opening credits, a single deleted scene, menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    The Fox With A Velvet Tail eschews some of the sleazier elements often associated with gialli and instead opts for a slick, sophisticated slow burn style – but it works, and it works well. Benefiting from a strong cast and some absolutely gorgeous visuals, this one definitely entertains and Mondo Macabro’s Blu-ray release is a true thing of beauty presenting the film in great shape and with some nice extra features as well.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!





























    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      I'm shocked I enjoyed this as much as I did. My son came downstairs about an hour in and asked "what are you watching", I told him "an Italian murder mystery where no has been murdered". Then I told him he could stick around, something that I wouldn't have said with any other gialli I've seen. Despite the lack of bloodshed, I was consistently entertained and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I was pleased with the resolution and the final moments on the beach gave me something to ponder. Excellent cast. Nice review Ian.
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      It looks very nice, and I will be picking up a standard edition down the road.
      I like it for being it's own film, and not unraveling as some gialli sometimes do.

      Another A effort from Mondo, love these guys.
    1. C.D. Workman's Avatar
      C.D. Workman -
      Now I have to add this to my list of Bds to get. Thanks, Ian.
    1. Darcy Parker's Avatar
      Darcy Parker -
      You got Tail and Tale mixed up in the article title and a few other spots. Oopsie!
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Damn it.