Film #283: LA MORTE RISALE A IERI SERA aka THE DEATH OCCURRED LAST NIGHT
La Morte Risale a Ieri Sera aka The Death Occurred Last Night
2 out of 5 stars
Promoted as a giallo film (and associated with the genre), director Duccio Tessari (THE BLOODSTAINED BUTTERFLY, A PISTOL FOR RINGO) directs this mystery from 1970 about a man whose ‘special needs’ daughter (who also happens to be a nymphomaniac) is kidnapped and put into prostitution. While the film is a “where is she?” mystery… it is by no means a giallo. More Poloziotteschi (crime / cop drama) than “black-gloved killer” flick, the plot of THE DEATH OCCURRED LAST NIGHT is all over the place: it’s a mystery, a goofy cop comedy, a romantic comedy, and gritty crime drama featuring cops who are more than willing to frame suspects, plant evidence, are racist (“They all look the same”), and beat their suitably slimy criminal suspects. Cops go to whorehouses… to ‘find clues’… which is an easy excuse for some very groovy music… and some very 70s bush and boobs. In fact, throughout the film, the score is a highlight; VERY cool and groovy and worth looking for. Acting - featuring Frank Wolff (ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, THE GREAT SILENCE) and Raf Vallone (THE ITALIAN JOB, EL CID, THE LION OF THE DESERT) - is universally wooden and tone deaf. One odd note… the introduction to the ‘special needs’ daughter is cringe-worthy as she puts toothpaste on her hand instead of her toothbrush and has to be ‘helped’ into her bra by her leering father. Creepy. The film rumbles along innocuously enough as it moves inexorably toward its unthrilling, and quite frankly, ludicrous, c0nclusion. Mostly for completists and hardcore fans of Italo-cinema, this film is by no means crucial viewing. See it if you like this sort of thing. If not… you won’t miss much by skippin it.