Film #304: DEATH ON THE FOURPOSTER aka DELITTO ALLO SPECCHIO aka SEXY PARTY
Death on the Fourposter aka Delitto all Specchio aka Sexy Party
3 out of 5 stars
A group of friends go to a mansion for a party and, after some embarrassing party games, one of them has a psychic vision of imminent death… and then, (go fig) people start dying. Filmed in crisp black & white, DEATH ON THE FOURPOSTER, while dated (it’s from 1964), has a fun Euro-feel and it’s important to remember that it was films like this (and the German Krimi film) that helped establish the tropes we think of when we think of the ‘giallo’ film. So, this is an important film in that regard alone. As for the film itself, the fashion is mid-60s as is the music (by Marcello De Martino who scored SECRET AGENT 777) which is a highlight and an utter gas. There’s even a swingin’ group dance number toward the beginning of the film which is just weird and out of place. It’s cool… it’s just weird and out of place. Direction by Jean Josipovici (FLESH AND DESIRE) and Ambrogio Motteni (VIOLENCE IN A WOMAN’S PRISON, GOLDFACE, THE FANTASTIC SUPERMAN) is handled well, but it takes forever for things to get going (the first death doesn’t occur until nearly 50 minutes into its run-time). Acting is universally solid with Antonella Lualdi (WILD LOVE) being a standout. But through it all… the men are suavely frantic and the women are beautiful and the whole thing is very, well… kind of charming. Even with some jaw-dropping misogyny on display. Finally, the bodies start hitting the floor and we get to our murder mystery itself… which is decidedly bloodless and a little too drawn out. The ending becomes something that, as it turns out, will be become a giallo cliché: a revamp of TEN LITTLE INDIANS. Add a little ‘drawing room mystery’ into the soup for good measure and you get what I’m talking about. Notable for its groovy score, it’s place in giallo history, and for its ability to masterfully jump genres on a dime, DEATH ON THE FOURPOSTER is a fun – albeit wholly unknown - little time-waster that is both fun and important.