Portrait in Terror
USA / Yugoslavia 1965
Jay Roades, Roger Corman (uncredited) for AIP, Avala Film
directed by Rados Novakovic (as Michael Road)
starring William Campbell, Anna Pavane (= Irena Posen), Patrick Magee, Kerry Anderson, Dante Gerino, Mike Astin, Ben Astar, Ray Baduzzi, Don Brodie, Jack Hoyt, Ella Karlan, Stacy Karnes, Jerry Mallory, Pia Maive, Norman Pagett, and uncredited: Rade Markiovic, Miha Baloh, Vjekoslav Afric
written by Vlastimir Radovanovic (as Vic Webber), music by Ronald Stein
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Dubrovnik: A presumably lost painting by Titian is stolen from an
eccentric art collector - but since it's more than probable that that
painting was just a copy, and not a very good one, that wouldn't be such a
big deal if the art collector wasn't also murdered for it. Detective Miha
(Rade Markovic) picks up investigations, sided by his future
brother-in-law, reporter Danny (Miha Baloh), and they soon figure the
killer to be Dr. Maurizio (Patrick Magee), even though they're slow to
collect evidence and Maurizio is quicker than quick to evade them and even
kill his blackmailing girlfriend along the way.
In the meantime, Danny's
wife-to-be Vera (Anna Pavane) feels more than a bit neglected with her
fiancé being on a wild goose chase rather than preparing their wedding
with her, so - probably to make him jealous - she gets in touch with a
former boyfriend of hers, Tony (William Campbell) - not knowing of course
that he's deeply involved with the case, and putting herself at risk
Portrait in Terror is the second
chapter in a tale only Roger Corman can deliver, it's a reworking of his
earlier US-Yugoslavian co-production Operation Titian,
a film that would eventually wind up building the backbone of a movie
Bath by Corman regulars Jack Hills
and Stephanie Rothman, who shot footage around what they had to work with
rather wildly (but remember, the cult shocker Targets
by Peter Bogdanovich came about pretty much the same way).
the story is that Corman wasn't overly pleased with Operation Titian,
which he invested some money in, so had it re-cut, inserted some scenes,
added new music, and americanized all the cast - not always in the film's
favour: While the music sure suits the music, some of the added scenes
feel out of place, especially when it's too obvious that doubles were
used, and while some efforts to edit the film to a brisker pace really
work, sometimes narrative threads are simply lost - especially obvious
when the character of Vera's concerned whose character thread has pretty
much been cut out of the proceedings making the threat she's in in the
third act rather hard to properly appreciate. On the other hand though, a
few underwater scenes thrown in for good measure are not only well
conceived but also properly creepy.
In all, certainly not a classic in
its own right (and neither was Operation Titian)
- but a fun piece in a bigger puzzle!