Archive for Franco Nero

Lamp Porn

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on February 18, 2012 by dcairns

Italian gialli are well-known for serving up lashings of gore, sadism, misogyny, flamboyant camera style, erratic no-fair plot twists, startling imagery, suave fashions, bad dubbing, bad dialogue, bad acting, sinister lounge music, glossy locations, rich colours, and did I mention misogyny?

But THE FIFTH CORD adds another major element — lamps! Lots and lots of lovely lamps.

Lamps are an axiom of cinema, like Charlton Heston. Even when they’re not toppling over and blinding the audience (not that Chuck ever did this, though I bet he could have if asked), they inhabit the magic hinterland where lighting and production design rub sensuously together, and so are of central importance to the visual scheme. They can really tie a film together. And nothing needs tying together more than your typical giallo.

This jumbo desk lamp isn’t even ON, and it’s still upstaging Franco Nero.

Luigi Bazzoni, who was in at the genre’s beginning with LA DONNA DEL LAGO, and who crafted one of the weirdest semi-gialli of all with LE ORME, can’t really breath much life into this curiously affectless, middle-of-the-road affair, but with his regular collaborator Vittorio Storaro shooting it, the results are certainly visually rewarding. Not sure why this one doesn’t compel more — it doesn’t feel like Bazzoni’s not trying, and he has plenty of ideas as usual — I think it’s down to the conventional script and rather blank, stock figures. Pamela Tiffin is the only fun character, which is down to her innate bubbliness rather than the writing, I think: she’s cast as a femme fatale, and plays it screwball, a bold and interesting approach (possibly the only one in her repertoire, but I applaud it nonetheless). Even Franco Nero’s morose drunk of a hero can’t suck the life out of her screen time.

Look, lamps!

Buy — The Fifth Cord