Friday, 18 July 2008

AN ITALIAN HITCHCOCK


The Region 1 Anchor Bay boxset of the Dario Argento collection has been sitting on my shelf for two weeks, patiently waiting for me to find time to dip in and savour a restored PHENOMENA, take my umpteenth viewing of TENEBRE, give TRAUMA a long overdue reappraisal and see if THE CARD PLAYER really is as bad as I initially thought. Plenty to keep me going there, but my opening foray into this collection directed me to DO YOU LIKE HITCHCOCK?

This TV movie - made in 2005 - concerns a film student who is studying German Expressionist cinema for his thesis. Giulio (Elio Germano) might also add voyeurism to his list of talents, moving from spying on the activities of a bizarre lesbian couple(an episode from his childhood) to following the activities of tenants in the apartment block opposite. Giulio also finds time study the works of Alfred Hitchcock; an interest which throws up all sorts of plots and possibilities when he decides to investigate the murder of an elderly woman in the building across the way. With Pino Donaggio's score bubbling away in the background, Argento uses various Hitchplots - STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, DIAL M FOR MURDER and REAR WINDOW - and references to his illustrious past (BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE, SUSPRIA,TENEBRE and DEEP RED) to concoct a thriller that entertains for some of its running time without ever really getting close to prime time Dario. While the acting and dubbing frequently make one despair, there are a number of set-pieces that threaten to hit the spot as Giulio finds his sleuthing may ultimately lead him to a most undesirable plot of land. Unfortunately, Argento overplays practically every scene of promise: particularly the violent bath tub assault and Giulio's flight from the unwelcome attentions of an enraged suspect.

The film is beautifully shot throughout by Frederic Fasano (SCARLET DIVA, MOTHER OF TEARS), and, bless him, he's certainly well up for Argento's invitation to go see what those lesbians are up to, though we never reach the heights of Luciano Tovoli's Louma crane shot from TENEBRE (which may have been performing a similar exercise). With it's mix of nudity and a couple of reasonably violent scenes, DO YOU LIKE HITCHCOCK? will doubtless tick a few boxes on your Italian Horror checklist, and its playful air and small pockets of humour render it a fairly entertaining if hardly essential addition to his filmography.

2 comments:

  1. I'm a big fan of Argento, but "Do You Like Hitchcock?" is one of his films that I've never seen. Great blog post.

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  2. Hey Keith! This one had eluded me til recently. Worth checking out.

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