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Profondo Rosso

Deep Red
The Hatchet Murders / Rosso - Die Farbe des Todes / La Tigre dai Denti a Sciabola / Profoundly Red

Italy 1975
produced by
Salvatore Argento, Claudio Argento for Rizzoli Film, Seda Spettacoli
directed by Dario Argento
starring David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia, Macha Méril, Eros Pagni, Giuliana Calandra, Piero Mazzinghi, Glauco Mauri, Clara Calamai, Aldo Bonamano, Liana Del Balzo, Vittorio Fanfoni, Dante Fioretti, Geraldine Hooper, Jacopo Mariani, Furio Meniconi, Nicoletta Elmi, Fulvio Mignozzi, Lorenzo Piani, Salvatore Puntillo, Piero Vida
written by Dario Argento, Bernardino Zapponi, music by Goblin, Giorgio Gaslini, special effects by Carlo Rambaldi, Germano Natali

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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One night, when coming home, pianist Marc Daly (David Hemmings) witnesses the murder of psychic Helga Ullmann (Macha Méril) in the appartment directly above his. And even though he rushes right up, the killer can escape, and all Marc has to go on is a vague memory of a painting that might reveal the identity of the killer - but that has mysteriously disappeared by the time the police arrives. And when, thanks to nosey reporter Gianna (Daria Nicolodi) a photo of his - as the only witness of the crime - is printed in the newspapers, he sees himelf threatened by the killer, and since the police seems to rather bumble about, Marc finds himself forced to investigate on his own.

But Marc's investigation - sometimes aided by reporter Gianna, who soon falls in love with him and vice versa - turn more and more into a wild goose chase, his clues being a children's tune, an author on urban legends (Giuliana Calandra) - who is promptly murdered before Marc can speak to her -, an allegedly haunted house, a plastered over wall painting in that house, a walled up room and finally a corpse inside the walled up room that must have been there for some 20 years ...

But exactly when Marc has found all these clues, the haunted house goes up in flames, and not only does he almost die in the house, also all his collected evidence is destroyed in one go ... until he and Gianna find a child's painting that resembles that one in the haunted house too close for comfort - so they break into the school where the kid who did the painting went to 20 years ago to find out the kid's name.

But of course, the killer is very close behind ...

 

Profondo Rosso is considered Dario Argento's first masterpiece, one of the masterpieces of the giallo genre, and also the first that sees Argento's talent in full bloom. Sure, Argento has made giallos before, pretty much since the inception of the genre, and good ones even, but with this one, he really seemed to have found his cinematic language, where moments of both shock and suspense would relie more on strong pictures and music/sound design than on story, becoming impressive setpieces in their own right, pretty much carrying the story instead of just supporting it - and frequent trips into the bizarre or the ultra violent only help to give these sequences extra spark, as does the strong score by prog rockers Goblin (their first collaboration with Argento) and jazz pianist Giorgio Gaslini. Plus the camerawork is first class, featuring impressive visual compositions throughout.

That all said, one can't help but noticing the story of this film is hopelessly convoluted, and relies on coincidence and far-fetched plot twists a bit too much - but that hardly matters while watching the film, which is quite simply an audio-visual masterpiece!

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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Out now from
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written by
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