Knife of Ice – Italy/Spain, 1972

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Knife of Ice  is a 1972 Italian/Spanish giallo feature film directed by Umberto Lenzi from a screenplay by himself and Luis G. de Blain. The film stars Carroll Baker, Evelyn Stewart and George Rigaud. The film’s original titles are: Il coltello di ghiaccio (Italy)/ and Detras del Silencio (Spain).

A famous singer, Jenny Ascot (Evelyn Stewart), visits her cousin Martha Caldwell (Carroll Baker) at her home in the Pyrenees. Caldwell has long been rendered mute after witnessing both her parents being killed in a train crash. While Ascot and Caldwell are travelling to Caldwell’s home, they notice a strange man who seems to be following them. That night, at Caldwell’s villa, Ascot hears noises, and when she investigates, is killed by an unseen figure.

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The police believe the killing is connected to the murder of a teenage girl hours before, and their prime suspect is a local hippy they are convinced is a drug-addicted Satanist. However, two more murders occur while this suspect is in custody. Several other locals are placed under suspicion, including a doctor (Franco Fantasia), a chauffeur (Eduardo Fajardo) and an occultist (George Rigaud). Eventually the man who Caldwell and Ascot saw following them is arrested, and the police discover that his girlfriend had been found murdered several days earlier. However, after this man is taken into custody, Caldwell’s friend Christina (Rosa María Rodríguez) is also murdered, prompting police to reopen the investigation…

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Somebody is stalking mute heroine Carroll Baker and murdering those close to her. Is it the Manson-esque Satanist? The sinister chauffeur? The handsome doctor? The mild-manned janitor?

This is one of director Umberto Lenzi’s more pedestrian thrillers, routinely plotted and adequately shot, with some welcome allusions to the gothic tradition in a few nocturnal scenes. Aside from the revelation of the killer’s identity and motivation – which seems astonishingly trite – the only real shock in this tame giallo is that Baker remains fully clothed throughout.

Kevin Grant, MOVIES & MANIA

Cast and characters:

  • Carroll Baker … Martha Caldwell
  • Alan Scott … Dr. Laurent
  • Ida Galli …Jenny Ascott (credited as Evelyn Stewart)
  • Eduardo Fajardo … Marcos
  • Silvia Monelli … Annie Britton
  • George Rigaud … Uncle Ralph
  • Franco Fantasia … Inspector Duran
  • Dada Gallotti … Mayor’s Wife
  • Lorenzo Robledo … Vice-Commissioner
  • Mario Pardo … Woody Mason
  • Olga Gherardi … Rosalie
  • Consalvo Dell’Arti … Mayor
  • José Marco … Father Martin
  • Carla Mancini … Bookshop Clerk
  • Luca Sportelli … Train Station Employee
  • Rosa M. Rodriguez … Christina

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knife of ice il coltello di ghiaccio
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