Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


Craig Hill and Lino Capolicchio
THE BLOODSTAINED SHADOW (aka Solamente nero/1978). Director: Antonio Bido.

Stefano (Lino Capolicchio) comes to Venice to visit his brother, the priest Don Paolo (Craig Hill), who lives in a small town on an island near the city. Haunted by an incident where a young woman was murdered years ago, Stefamo's memories are awakened by a series of new murders. Stefano begins an relationship with Sandra (Stefania Casini of Suspiria), whose own stepmother (Laura Nucci) becomes one of the victims of a fiendish killer. The Bloodstained Shadow is a reasonably intriguing Italian thriller/giallo film whose murders are not quite as gory as in similar films, but we do have the sequence when a woman's head is thrust into a fireplace and is engulfed in flames. Other characters, suspects, and victims include a midwife, Signora Nardi (Juliette Maynial); Count Pedrazzi (Massimo Serato), a music teacher whom Don Paolo accuses of fiddling with his young male students (a sequence which given recent events in the Catholic church may raise some eyebrows); and  Dr. Aloisi (Sergio Mioni), among others. After a few red herrings and twists, a satisfying conclusion unmasks the killer and also provides a mostly believable motivation. The film's production is greatly enhanced by location filming and the brooding shots of mysterious Venice and environs. Craig Hill [Detective Story] was a B movie leading man and TV performer in the fifties and sixties who later did much work in Italy. Juliette Maynial was most famous for Eyes Without a Face

Verdict: Has its flaws, and it's not especially stylish, but it's one of the better giallo films. ***. 

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