'The Forbidden Photos Of A Lady Above Suspicion'
(Dagmar Lassander, Pier Paolo Capponi, Susan Scott, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1970) 2018 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: Minou (Dagmar Lassander, Lucio Fulci's The Black Cat) leads a pampered but dull life with her frequently absent husband, Peter (Pier Paolo Capponi, The Cat O' Nine Tails).
One night, while out walking on the beachfront, Minou is accosted by a mysterious blackmailer (Simón Andreu, Death Carries a Cane) who informs her that Peter is a murderer.
Driven by misplaced loyalty to her husband, Minou gives in to the blackmailer's every perverted whim in exchange for his silence.
But as the blackmailer ups the ante, demanding that she submit to his increasingly obscene demands, can Minou hold on to what little remains of her sanity?
Blu-ray Verdict: Before the influence of Dario Argento's The Bird with the Crystal Plumage permeated every corner of the giallo genre, another strain of these distinctive Italian thrillers enjoyed considerable success.
These "melodrama gialli", heavily inspired by Clouzot's Les diaboliques, relied less on graphic violence and high body counts and more on psychological tension.
This unusual giallo starring Dagmar Lassander (Hatchet for the Honeymoon- The House by the Cemetery) and Susan Scott (Death Walks at Midnight- Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals) is one of the best of the genre in my book.
That said, if you like Giallo films because they are all blood, nudity, style and senselessness this one will probably disappoint you. Not that a little more of any of those elements might make this better than it is.
This is very well done and though the story doesn't actually involve murder as much as extortion it is consistently interesting and involving. This brand new Blu-ray Special Edition from Arrow Films UK / MVD Visual is a spotless, near-perfect way to see it; since a big screen is probably too much to ask these days.
Screenwriter Gastaldi always comes up with interesting plots and this one holds together on the strength of the plotting for most of its run. The motivations of the wife at the start are a little fuzzy but this becomes clear later.
There is also some incredibly un-PC dialogue and the plot itself is not exactly coming at us from a feminist angle! However, this is to be expected from a 70s giallo movie and its one of the reasons why we love them. They are time-capsules of a different era.
It is too bad the casting of the two leads occasionally makes things confusing, for in the dark they look too much alike. Both the lead women look great and act well and the dubbing into English isn't too bad either (which isn't always the case, as I'm sure you'll know).
In closing, 'The Forbidden Photos Of A Lady Above Suspicion' is a solid low budget film (though you'd never know), well produced on all levels with stark/striking photography. Highly recommended. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative by Arrow Films
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks
English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
New audio commentary by Kat Ellinger, author and editor-in-chief of Diabolique Magazine
Private Pictures, a newly-edited documentary featuring archival interviews with actress Nieves Navarro and director Luciano Ercoli, and new interview material with writer Ernesto Gastaldi
The Forbidden Soundtrack of the Big Three, a new appreciation of the music of Forbidden Photos and 70s Italian cult cinema by musician and soundtrack collector Lovely Jon
The Forbidden Lady, a Q&A with actress Dagmar Lassander at the 2016 Festival of Fantastic Films
Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Twins of Evil
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by author and critic Michael Mackenzie