Spy Pit/Da Berlino l’apocalisse/Le tigre sort sans sa mère (1967)

‘It must be fun to court an electronic brain.’

A top French secret agent meets an old colleague in Berlin who has information regarding a major espionage operation. However, a sniper’s bullet intervenes before any vital intelligence can be exchanged. The agent begins his own investigation, uncovering a plot to undermine East-West relations and start another war…

Running around Europe as this week’s ‘Bond on a Budget’ wasn’t much of a stretch for French actor Roger Hanin by the late 1960s. This Italian-West German-French co-production finds him tangling with the usual spying intrigues under the direction of Mario Maffei.

A meeting on a German barge goes south for French agent Julien Saint-Dominique (Hanin) when his old friend Felix (Edy Biagetti) bites an unexpected bullet in the middle of their conversation. Unfortunately, he’d provided little information before taking a header into the canal; just that something big was brewing. Outside his rented flat, Hanin rescues the beautiful Olivia (Margaret Lee) from a kidnap attempt in the street. The altercation turns out to be a novel (and pointless) way of inviting him to a conference with an American intelligence agent, Steve (Ivan Desny), who tells him to stay out of things and return to Paris.

Instead, Hanin starts to utilise his own contacts in Berlin; the elderly Von Rudolf, known as ‘Papillon’ (Ennio Balbo), and his blonde Girl Friday Frida (Brigitte Wentzel). He also saves Ingrid Richleau (Helga Sommerfeld) from an abduction attempt in the same place and by the same goons who seemed to be trying to snatch Lee. In a twist that will surprise no one, it turns out she’s the daughter of another of Hanin’s old friends and colleagues. What’s happened to him? He’s been kidnapped, of course! Berlin, eh? Not safe to walk down the street.

The case proves to be a tangled web, as Hanin finds himself followed, shot at, hiding in the funnel of a boat and sent over to East Berlin disguised as a Russian soldier. Eventually, events lead to a secret organisation using misinformation to stoke up trouble between the Superpowers. Hijacking communication channels from their secret underground base, they convince the Americans that the other side is planning to invade West Berlin through the sewers, setting the stage for the spark which will ignite global conflict.

Although all the ingredients are present and correct for a spy adventure on the more outlandish end of the spectrum, Maffei’s entry has a surprisingly serious tone, and the action is more grounded than in most similar vehicles of the time. There are no extravagant gadgets, flamboyant stunt work or quasi-science-fiction plot developments, with even the villain’s secret base looking reasonably sensible and fit for purpose. If that all sounds a little disappointing, then there is still some fun to be had, thanks to a capable cast and a brisk pace that helps to paper over the somewhat meandering plotline.

Hanin is a likeable leading man who can turn on the charm but also convince on the occasions that his character is required to display a harder edge. Lee also has a lot of fun as femme fatale Olivia, her loyalties in question throughout. She’s sexy and appealing on the one hand but ruthless and deadly on the other. The cat and mouse game that she plays with Hanin is the film’s most interesting element. Elsewhere Peter Carsten is excellent as the sadistic Günther, and there’s some nice work from Balbo and Hanin, who suggest a long-term friendship with just a few minimal gestures and facial expressions.

The story also takes an interesting direction when Hanin’s investigation takes him to Mexico to meet English spy Lord Kinsey (Jorge Rado). Within moments, Hanin has him pegged as an imposter and kills him, leading to a brief shootout with some of his men. Then he pops on a flight back to Berlin. In terms of the story, it’s completely pointless. However, it does allow Hanin to play tourist for five minutes of the runtime with yet another pretty blonde, Kinsey’s assistant Jill Garfield (Jane Massey). Including a splash of the wonderful local colour and Hanin hanging around some stunning locations may speak to some Mexican finance behind the production. There’s no other apparent reason for this sudden and relatively brief excursion.

Hanin and Lee had already teamed up in the far sillier spy adventure ‘An Orchid for the Tiger/Le Tigre se parfume à la dynamite’ (1965). That was the second of two films where Hanin played secret agent Louis Rapière, known as ‘le tigre’. Presumably with an eye on the box office, this film was released in France as ‘Le tigre sort sans a mère’, the literal English translation of which is ‘The Tiger Leaves Without his Mother’. A pretty baffling title, to say the least, and the possibility that it was a nod to the character of Steed and Tara King’s spy boss on TV’s ‘The Avengers’ seems unlikely. Patrick Newell’s first appearance in that role wasn’t broadcast until September 1968 in the UK, and the film debuted in French theatres two months earlier. There was another ‘unofficial’ film in the series a year earlier when the Hanin-starring espionage thriller ‘Operation Diplomatic Passport/Passeport diplomatique agent K 8’ (1966) was retitled as ‘Agente Tigre sfida infernale’ for the Italian market.

Lee was an English actress, a Londoner born in Wolverhampton, whose beauty, natural screen presence and facility with languages saw her employed in films all over Europe in the 1960s. Equally adept at comedy and drama, she debuted as the heroine of Peplum adventure ‘Maciste contro i mostri/Colossus of the Stone Age’ (1962) and took a similar gig soon afterwards in ‘Sansone contro i pirati/Samson and the Sea Beast’ (1963). Subsequently, she did her apprentice work almost exclusively in Italian comedies, working her way up to leads from supporting roles.
Eurospy adventure ‘From the Orient with Fury/Agente 077 dall’oriente con furore’ (1965) was the first of several similar projects that included ‘New York Calling Super dragon/New York chiama Superdrago’ (1966), ‘Our Man in Marrakesh’ (1966), ‘Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die/Se Tutte le donne del mondo… (Operazione Paradiso)’ (1966) and ‘OSS 117 Murder for Sale/Niente rose per OSS 117’ (1968). She diversified into other genres over the next few years, appearing in films with notable stars like Christopher Lee, Klaus Kinski, Rita Hayworth and George Sanders. She began concentrating on family life in the 1970s, and her final screen role was in 1983. In later life, she moved to California and began working periodically in the theatre.

Mildly entertaining espionage antics, elevated by the talented cast.

Operation Diplomatic Passport/Passeport diplomatique agent K 8/Agente Tigre sfida infernale (1965)

‘Sometimes changing some characteristics of a person is enough to deflect the suspicions of an overly curious eye.’

The niece of a foreign ambassador is persuaded to take a necklace through customs on her diplomatic passport. Afterwards, she finds out that it contained microfilm, and she is blackmailed into taking part in a plot to kidnap a scientist…

Serious-minded French-Italian black and white spy games from director Roger Vernay. This week’s ‘Bond on a Budget’ is Roger Hanin, although his adventures in espionage are a long way removed from the glitzy world of 007.

Diplomat’s daughter Eva Dolbry (Christiane Minazzoli) is living the high life in Paris. Sports cars, parties and eligible bachelors; playboy Serge Alerio (Antonio Passalia) and ‘man from the ministry’ Mirmont (Hanin). Her father, the Ambassador (Donald O’Brien), favours his colleague, of course, but Minazzoli finds the bespectacled Hanin to be a bit of a bore. She would much rather make time with the dashing Passalia. It’s also a thrill when he asks her to take a necklace through customs as a gift to an old friend who lives in Warsaw. Unfortunately, after she delivers the bauble to a nightclub singer, he tells her that she’s smuggled some secret microfilm.

Surprise, surprise, Passalia is an enemy agent and, having evidence on tape of Minazzoli handing over the necklace, blackmail is the order of the day. Sensibly, she confesses everything to security chief René Dary, who puts his best man on the case. In another huge surprise, this turns out to be Hanin, who turns into a top spy once he takes his glasses off. Passalia and his associates want Minazzoli’s help kidnapping family friend Professeur Wilkowski (Lucien Nat), whose latest secret formula looks to be a global game changer. So, she gets to play double agent with Hanin as her handler.

If audiences were expecting some spy antics in the vein of Sean Connery’s early outings as Ian Fleming’s secret agent, they likely left the theatre after this experience extremely disappointed. Vernay’s film drifts far closer to John Le Carré territory, with a dour, almost documentary feel. Action is limited to occasional gunplay, car chases and fisticuffs. The most notable combat takes place in the hull of a ship when Hanin is taking part in a search for the kidnapped scientist. Inexplicably, the vessel is then allowed to disembark, even though Hanin’s colleagues know exactly where he was, and he hasn’t returned!

The production’s lack of scale and ambition is the real problem here. It brings nothing to mind so much as television shows of the same period, although there’s no evidence that this was anything other than a big screen effort. However, this does mean that they are few points of interest. Minazzoli heroically wrangles a pair of false lashes that probably gave her eyelids a hernia and does her best to inject some life into the moribund proceedings. Aside from that, the scenes where vehicles are forced off the road are competently staged, and Vernay likes to put the backs of people’s heads in the corner of the frame to create some depth to his shots.

Whether this was an attempt to deliver a more grounded espionage drama is unknown, but it is possible. The presence of the kidnapped scientist and his invention of a synthetic substitute for oil are little more than incidental plot devices. They lead only to a standard hostage exchange and a hurried, anti-climactic shootout. The villains are a colourless bunch, too, without a gadget or secret base between them. Purists may prefer this more realistic approach to the more extravagant flourishes of a Bond-like adventure. However, such an approach needs a compelling story with some surprising twists and turns, and Vernay’s film has none of that.

This was almost the last example of a film based on a novel by French writer and occasional film director Maurice Dekobra. His work was regularly adapted for the screen from the late 1920s to the mid-1950s. Italian distributors added ‘Le Tigre’ to the film’s title on release, presumably to cash in on the spy character Hanin played in two other (much better) films of the time. The same trick was tried again a few years later when the multi-national production ‘Spy Pit/Da Berlino l’apocalisse’ (1967) was retitled ‘Le tigre sort sans sa mère’ for French audiences.

Hanin was born in 1925 in Algeria, which was still a French colony at the time. After abortive attempts to study law and chemistry, he debuted on the Parisian stage and made his debut before the cameras in 1951. Minor supporting roles followed over the next few years, including a couple of films starring Jean Gabin, including the unusual crime film ‘Gas-oil’ (1955). A more significant part in Jean-Luc Godard’s critically-acclaimed ‘Breathless/À bout de souffle’ (1960) raised his profile, and leading roles followed almost immediately. He starred in several other Eurospy features in the 1960s, aside from his appearances as ‘Le Tigre’, and he remained regularly employed until a few years before his death in 2015. However, he is probably best remembered for his 17-year run as the Police Commissioner in the small screen crime drama ‘Navarro.’ He was buried in Algeria by special presidential permission.

A dreary, rather lifeless experience.

An Orchid for the Tiger/Le Tigre se parfume à la dynamite (1965)

’20 sharks each day are going to Hamburg zoo…’

A top secret agent is assigned to supervise the retrieval of 20 million dollars worth of gold from the wreck of an old French galleon. However, when the operation is complete, armed skin divers storm the ship and steal the treasure…

The second appearance of Roger Hanin as special agent Louis Rapière, codename Le Tigre. This week’s ‘Bond on a Budget’ is tangling with mysterious criminal mastermind The Orchid, again under the supervision of director Claude Chabrol.

The French military submarine service has come up with a surprising find whilst on manoeuvres; an ancient galleon loaded with gold. Hanin gets the job of overseeing its retrieval by a navy ship and its subsequent transportation back to Paris. The recovery part of the mission goes well, but the shipment is hijacked, the entire crew machine-gunned, and the ship blown up. Hanin and his sidekick Duvet (Roger Dumas) barely escape with their lives.

Following the gold takes them to the isolated republic of Cayenne, where revolution is brewing. Incompetent local contact Col. Pontarlier (José María Caffarel) welcomes the uprising as a chance for him to get out of the ‘boring’ country. Hanin, however, is more interested in the presence of international spies from all over the world. It seems that all the espionage agents of the world are concerned about The Orchid, who is providing the necessary military hardware in exchange for the gold. The arms deal was brokered by zoo owner Jacques Vermorel (Michel Bouquet) and wealthy businessman Ricardo Sanchez (Carlos Casaravilla). The Orchid plans to install the latter as leader of the country post insurrection, but his principal agent in the region is the sexy but ruthless Pamela Mitchum (Margaret Lee).

This French, Spanish and Italian co-production from director Chabrol begins in much the same way as many a Eurospy feature of the period, including ‘The Tiger Likes Fresh Blood/Le Tigre aime la chair fraîche’ (1964), the first film in the short-lived series. It’s somewhat light in tone, thanks to returning stars Hanin and Dumas, but it still looks like the audience is in for the usual mix of fisticuffs, car chases and occasional gunplay. However, this turns out to be something a little different.

The setup is cheerfully vague, with Jean Curtelin’s script quite happy to put two secret agents in charge of what you’d reasonably assume should be a naval operation. Still, it places our heroes in the centre of the action, and the attack on the ship is well-staged and quite violent. Hanin and Dumas wash up on the island shores of Cayenne in just time to eavesdrop on the meeting between Bouquet, Casaravilla and the revolutionaries. When our heroes reach civilisation, they link up with lazy and rather stupid local man Caffarel and find that the place is crawling with the spy world’s best and brightest, who like nothing better than to hang out together at a friendly cocktail party.

By the time someone attempts to kill Hanin with a lasso as he drives by in an open car, one ridiculous development has led to another, and the film has revealed its true colours; it is supposed to be silly. Starting out straight and allowing the comedy in a little at a time is an unusual approach, but it pays dividends here. The cast was obviously in on the joke and never acknowledge just how idiotic things become, with Lee dressed in an animal skin for the climax, which sees Hanin indulge in some unusual cage fighting at the zoo. Brilliantly, the idiotic white supremacist villains hang around to watch and are still sitting there when the authorities arrive to round them up.

This mixture of action and laughter is not easy to pull off successfully, and things may get too farcical for some tastes. After all, most spy spoofs lay their cards on the table face up from the start and are usually not very subtle about it. Instead, Chabrol’s film confounds early expectations by lightening the tone as it develops, although he’s wise enough to keep the action coming at such a pace that the change isn’t jarring or too obvious. The fights are also surprisingly brutal and convincing, thanks to some razor-sharp editing.

Hanin originated both the story and the ‘Le Tigre’ character after a disagreement over rights issues brought his brief cinematic tenure as secret agent ‘Le Gorille’ to an end. Lee was an English actress who came to the Italian film industry via marriage and was a fixture in the Eurospy arena in the 1960s. The couple demonstrates good screen chemistry, and she’s pretty obviously having a ball as the black-hearted femme fatale. In a much later interview, she named this film one of her two favourites.

Chabrol went on to become a celebrated director of French’ New Wave’ cinema, but, at this point, he was making commercial films after a string of more artistic projects had flopped at the box office. ‘Les Biches’ (1968) was another commercial dud but enjoyed critical acclaim and was the first in the string of films that made his reputation. In later years, he described the two ‘Le Tigre’ films as follows: ‘They were drivel, so OK, let’s get into it up to our necks.’ An auteur filmmaker would probably choose to distance himself from earlier commercial work, however, if it was distaste for the material that prompted his approach here, then that can be viewed as a happy accident. Perhaps understandably, no official films followed in the ‘Le Tigre’ series, although two later films with Hanin were retitled with the character’s name, most notably ‘Spy Pit/Da Berlino l’apocalisse/Le tigre sort sans sa mère (1967)’ which also starred Lee.

Enjoyable, silly Eurospy spoof that makes for an entertaining experience.

The Tiger Likes Fresh Blood/Le Tigre aime la chair fraîche (1964)

‘Go pick up all the dwarves in Paris.’

A terrorist organisation is determined to prevent the Turkish government from obtaining new fighter jets from France. They target the ambassador who has come to Paris to sign the deal, conducting an assassination attempt at the airport. France’s top secret agent is assigned to protection duties but is powerless to prevent the kidnapping of the diplomat’s daughter…

Black and white French-Italian Eurospy starring Roger Hanin as this week’s ‘Bond on a Budget’. Surprisingly, the director was Claude Chabrol, who later in the decade became celebrated for his place on the front line of French’ New Wave’ cinema.

Sinister forces aren’t happy with the idea of Turkey’s airforce being supplemented by acquiring a shipment of new Mirage IV fighters from France. A consultant working on the deal is murdered during a private screening of a film showcasing the new jet, and the assassin follows shortly afterwards at the hands of his own people. These events bring in top DST agent Louis Rapière, known in the business as ‘le Tigre’. His mission is to protect visiting Turkish ambassador Martin Baskine (Sauveur Sasporte) and his family until he signs the necessary paperwork and the deal goes through.

Unfortunately, for action man Hanin this means babysitting Sasporte’s wife and daughter, showing them the sights of Paris and avoiding oily diplomatic flunkey Coubassi (Antonio Passalia). The bad news is that Madame Baskine (Maria Mauban) is an overbearing, flirtatious chatterbox; the good is that daughter Mehlica (Daniela Bianchi) is the kind of woman wannabee Bonds like for breakfast. Meanwhile, all is not sunshine and roses in the villains’ camp, either, with party man Benita (Roger Rudel) clashing with local fixer Dobronsky (Mario David). The former is a patriot, but the latter has far more mercenary intentions.

This is a crisp, efficient spy game from director Chabrol, who injects the relatively standard plot mechanics with some inventive touches and a swift pace. Hanin may not have the charisma of Sean Connery but displays more than enough personality and skill to anchor the drama. Blonde villain David also helps to convey the importance of the stakes involved, which might be a little lacking without their joint presence. Bianchi’s casting was an obvious nod to her appearance opposite Connery in ‘From Russia with Love’ (1963), which likely would have appeared in French theatres early in 1964.

Chabrol also includes a fair slice of humour into proceedings. The DST’s ‘Q’ division is headed by the grinning Duvet (Roger Dumas), who likes nothing better than promoting his somewhat threadbare selection of gadgets. These include a gun that shoots backwards and a black powder explosive that leaves him looking like a refugee from a Roadrunner cartoon. There’s also a sly comic performance from Christa Lang, who plays David’s wide-eyed mistress. Wandering around in an alcoholic stupor throughout, she’s almost entirely oblivious to events developing around her. It’s probably the film’s highlight when she finds Hanin standing on her kitchen worktop, gun in hand, eavesdropping on her boyfriend as he outlines his evil plans in the next room. Instead of raising the alarm at finding an armed stranger in her apartment, she simply collects a fresh supply of booze, gives him a little wave, goes back to David next door and never says a word about it.

The fight scenes are a little hit and miss at times (literally!), but the final confrontation between Hanin and David is well-staged and quite brutal for its time. The two actors really sell the violence of the combat, heightened by some authentic touches, such as the sweat soaking through the back of David’s shirt. Although it’s nothing more than a one-on-one bout of fisticuffs, it would have probably worked better as the finale than the film’s actual climax, which is a little underwhelming. The finish takes place in the kind of car-wrecking yard much beloved by fictional crimelords in the 1970s, although kudos to Passalia for apparently doing his own stunt work. He may have been doubled in certain shots, but if so, it’s very cleverly done. Official sequel ‘An Orchid for the Tiger/Le Tigre se parfume à la dynamite’ (1965) followed, but two of Hanin’s other spy adventures were also tagged with the ‘Le Tigre’ brand. However, ‘Operation Diplomatic Passport/Passeport diplomatique agent K 8/Agente Tigre sfida infernale’ (1965) and ‘Spy Pit/Le Tigre Sort Sans Sa Mere’ (1967) found the actor playing different secret agents.

Despite early success with his debut ‘Le Beau Serge’ (1958), it seems that Chabrol had to sacrifice artistic endeavour to commercial necessity and embrace the mainstream at this point in his career. Hanin had starred in two features as secret agent ‘Le Gorille’, but the series ended when the producers lost the rights to use the character. In the wake of the international success of Bond, the actor created secret agent ‘le Tigre’ and receives an ‘original scenario’ credit here, script duties devolving to Jean Halain. The film even has an overt reference to Bond when a villain spins the wire book stand in the airport to reveal a paperback copy of ‘From Russia with Love’, complete with Connery on the cover.

Bianchi’s international prospects were curtailed by her thick Italian accent and lack of English. Typically, she spoke her lines phonetically and was later dubbed. After Bond, her American career consisted solely of appearing in a handful of episodes of ‘Dr Kildare’ with Richard Chamberlain. She returned to mainland Europe but never escaped the shadow of 007 in her brief subsequent career. She starred in the title role of the underwhelming ‘Special Mission Lady Chaplin/Missione speciale Lady Chaplin’ (1966) and then opposite one-time Hollywood heartthrob Stewart Granger in ‘Requiem for a Secret Agent/Requiem per un agente segreto’ (1966). There was also a top-billed role with Sean’s bother, Neil, in the Bond spoof ‘Ok Connery/Operation Kid Brother’ (1966). She retired from the screen in 1968.

Nothing truly remarkable, but still an efficient slice of espionage.

Devil’s Ransom/Senza via d’uscita (1971)

‘We’ll never persuade him; that man’s a psychopath.’

A street photographer flies to Stockholm to take part in a kidnapping plot. The victim is the young son of a high-ranking bank courier and his beautiful wife. The initial part of the scheme goes well, but the husband refuses to steal from his employers, and the kidnappers are forced to apply extra pressure…

Convoluted kidnap thriller that ventures into Giallo territory due to the twists in the story’s second half. An unusual Italian-French-Spanish-Swedish co-production shot mainly in Stockholm under the watchful eye of director Piero Sciumè, who also contributed to the script.

Professional man Gilbert Marchaud (Philippe Leroy) is stuck in a loveless marriage with the frigid Michèle (Marisa Mell), whose world revolves around their young son. The family is under the surveillance of Kurt (Roger Hanin), who is planning to work a little kidnapping with the aid of Leroy’s mistress, Britt (Lea Massari). One day at work, when in conference with bank president Mr Bergman (George Rigaud), Leroy gets a panicky call from Mell. Their boy has been snatched, and the kidnappers demand a hefty ransom.

Leroy takes charge of the situation, but there’s little he can do. Hanin demands the couple carry on with their lives as if nothing has happened, and Leroy elects to keep the police out of it. The ransom is $20,000, and, as Leroy’s job involves carrying large sums of cash around, the amount is within his reach. However, he refuses to steal from his employer, forcing Hanin to target Mell, who he takes to his studio. There he photographs her in various kinky poses and having group sex. When Leroy sees the footage, he blows his top, of course, but capitulates to Hanin’s demands, informing him of the travel arrangements of his latest trip to Switzerland.

This is a fairly unusual Giallo for several reasons. It begins with shots of Hanin hustling for cash on the streets of Barcelona, taking snaps of tourists and trying to sell them. Then he visits a produce market as the credits play before returning to his flat to face an angry landlady demanding the rent. All this is shot in almost a Cinéma vérité style, with Sciumè’s hand-held camera documenting Hanin mixing with real-life pedestrians and traders. It’s about as far as you can imagine from the carefully composed shots and precise framing of directors like Bava and Argento, who popularised the Giallo. Furthermore, the story kicks off like a standard crime drama, with Hanin spying on Mell in her apartment via a long lens camera and the offscreen abduction of her child. There are no exotic dancers or serial killers in sight, and no extravagant, carefully orchestrated kills to satisfy gorehounds.

Instead, it’s a slow, patient buildup as Leroy stands his ground against Hanin. Despite the kidnapper’s constant threats, he refuses to steal from his bank. His obstinacy drives the photographer to the next level as he pays a visit to Mell, surprising her naked in the bath. It’s not just the full-frontal nudity that’s more in keeping with Giallo, but the way Sciumè presents the scene. Events unfold from Mell’s point of view, a strange mixture of dream and reality that sit at odds with the film’s prior approach. Previously, her fragile mental condition was seemingly attributable to the abduction of her child, but now her problems seem to run even deeper. The situation escalates with the visit to Hanin’s studio, where she is a willing, if strangely distracted, participant. It’s here where the twists start to come, and although credibility is a little strained, it all hangs together at the end.

Given the realism of Sciumè’s visual approach, a lot of the dramatic burden falls on the cast, and it’s pleasing to report that both Mell and Leroy are excellent as the principals. His banker may seem a little too stoic early on, but there are enough signs of repressed emotion to keep the audience invested. This pays off with a late scene where he provides some surprising character insight, which is one of the obvious highlights of the picture. Mell gets a welcome respite from her usual femme fatale persona and is good value as the distraught Michèle. There’s a nice balance between their performances, which helps build suspense and drama.

However, it is slow-paced, and there is little in the way of action. The Stockholm locations may be different, but they don’t add a substantial visual signature to proceedings, and the work of cinematographer Cecilio Paniagua and composer Piero Piccioni aren’t particularly distinguished. Considering that there are four credited screenwriters, including the director, some more plot wouldn’t have gone amiss. More creativity was badly needed to help the sequence where the ransom finally changes hands. Granted that bad weather may have snowed in all the airports, it still beggars belief that Rigaud sends Leroy off with more than $20,000 in cash on the train (around $140,000 in today’s money). I guess it is only a short 1,250-mile hop from Stockholm to Geneva, and I’m sure Leroy will be perfectly fine on his own. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

This was Sciumè’s only outing as a director, and his entire filmography consists of work on just five films, one as an actor and one in the Script and Continuity Department. His only other substantial creative contribution would appear to be as co-writer and assistant director on poorly-regarded crime comedy ‘Riuscirà il nostro eroe a ritrovare il più grande diamante del mondo?’ (1971). On the other hand, Leroy has amassed a massive amount of credits in a 50-year screen career. ‘Castle of the Living Dead/Il castello dei morti vivi’ (1964) found him in a leading role opposite Christopher Lee and was less prominently featured in outstanding Giallo ‘The Possessed/La donna del lago’ (1965). Further projects in the sub-genre included ‘Cross Current’ (1971) and ‘Naked Girl Murdered in the Park’ (1973). He’s probably best remembered as Klaus in Liliana Cavani’s controversial ‘The Night Porter/Il portiere di notte’ (1974).

Some may find its lack of incident frustrating, but there are some interesting aspects to this unusual Giallo.