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

Thursday, June 7, 2018


FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON (aka 5 Dolls for an August Moon/5 bambole per la luna d'agosto1970). Director: Mario Bava.

George Stark (Teodoro Corra) has invited several friends and associates to his modish estate on an isolated island. George is married to Jill (Edith Meloni), but she is in love with Trudy (Ira von Furstenberg), who is married to Professor Gerry Farrell (William Berger). George, Nick (Maurice Poli) and Jack (Howard Ross) each offer Farrell a million dollars for a formula he has created, then decide to team up and offer him the whole three million, but Gerry isn't willing to sell. Things take a dark turn when houseboy Charles (Mauro Bosco), who was carrying on with Nick's wife, Marie (Edwige Fenech of Next!), turns up stabbed to death, and more murders follow. Before you can say Ten Little Indians more and more bodies are wrapped in plastic and deposited in the freezer in scenes that seem increasingly comical. Most of the actors only register the mildest of dismay over this appalling situation, and Piero Umiliani's wretched musical score never seems to have any relationship to what's actually occurring on screen. The movie has virtually no atmosphere, although the house it is played out in is at least a bit interesting. The murders are mostly bloodless and have no style whatsoever. On the plus side, just about everything is explained (if not quite satisfactorily) at the end, and the movie manages to build up some suspense over who the killer is in spite of its shortcomings. "Everybody seems to be waiting for something that's not happening," muses one character. You can say that again! Bava followed this up with Twitch of the Death Nerve, which is better and bloodier. Bava's best shocker was Blood and Black Lace.

Verdict: Has intriguing elements but not one of Bava's best. **1/2.

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