The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion – Italy | Spain, 1970 – reviews

The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion is a 1970 Italian-Spanish giallo thriller co-produced, edited and directed by Luciano Ercoli (Death Walks at Midnight; Death Walks in High Heels) from a screenplay written by Ernesto Gastaldi and Mahnahén Velasco. The movie stars Dagmar Lassander, Pier Paolo Capponi, Simón Andreu and Susan Scott.

The soundtrack score was composed by Ennio Morricone.

Plot:

Minou (Dagmar Lassander), the attractive young wife of an industrialist, is menaced by a mysterious man (Simón Andreu) at the beach. The sadistic stranger runs a sharp blade over her body and infers that her husband Pierre is a killer. Taking the advice of her close friend Dominique (Susan Scott), Minou tries to forget the entire unfortunate incident.

However, she soon begins to suspect that Pierre may have murdered Jean Dubois, a business associate to whom he owed money, especially when the stranger offers proof in the form of a tape recording. In order to protect her spouse, she submits to degrading acts. Unfortunately, the blackmailer then threatens to send photos of their activities to Pierre unless he agrees to further supplication…

Release:

The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion is released on Blu-ray on 14 January 2019 by Arrow Video. Special features:

  • Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative by Arrow Films
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks
  • English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary by Kat Ellinger
  • Private Pictures, a newly-edited documentary featuring archival interviews with actress Nieves Navarro and director Luciano Ercoli, and new interview material with writer Ernesto Gastaldi
  • The Forbidden Soundtrack of the Big Three, a new appreciation of the music of Forbidden Photos and 70s Italian cult cinema by musician and soundtrack collector Lovely Jon
  • The Forbidden Lady, a Q&A with actress Dagmar Lassander at the 2016 Festival of Fantastic Films
  • Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Twins of Evil
  • Illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by author and critic Michael Mackenzie

Review:

Forbidden Photos is a superlative risqué thriller from an era when political correctness didn’t exist. This glossy production is permeated with mystery, blackmail and fetishism; deftly augmented by a particularly lush bossa nova-infused Ennio Morricone score.

As was often the case in Euro flicks, the male leads are either unsympathetic (Capponi) or downright nasty (Andreu), precipitating Minou’s descent into a mire of sedatives, alcohol and sleaze (reminiscent of Carroll Baker’s ordeal in Paranoia). Her unusual predicament gives rise to her screaming “Peter! Peter!” every few moments but this merely a mild irritation that is outweighed by Dagmar Lassander’s thoroughly plausible performance as the beleaguered heroine. Indeed, her overtly vulnerable femininity is stereotypical of early Seventies  cinema in general. However, at least in Forbidden Photos, Minou’s perceived weakness is neatly counterbalanced by Susan’s Scott’s assertive character named (perhaps too tellingly) Dominique.

Luciano Ercoli’s film is sometimes predictable, however it is beautifully shot and its slickness is infinitely preferable to his later giallo thrillers Death Walks in High Heels and Death Walks at Midnight (both vehicles for his wife, the aforementioned Susan Scott) which lack the same finesse and are needlessly convoluted.

Adrian J Smith, MOVIES & MANIA

Other reviews:

“While within only a few short years the blood and black lace were all flowing freely, 1970s Italian film productions were still grappling with censor restrictions. Despite these shackles The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion rises to the challenge and is a definite winner for all those with more than a passing interest in the giallo genre.” Digital Retribution

“Benefiting from a strong cast of Euro-cult regulars […] the acting might not blow you away but it serves its purpose here and everyone certainly looks the part. The visuals are fantastic, with every frame composed carefully and elegantly so that even during the slower moments of the film, of which there are quite a few, there’s a lot for your eyes to feast on.” DVD Talk

“The early scenes work the best.  The set-up is potentially intriguing and the scene on the beach between Lassander and the blackmailer is quite effective.  After Ercoli knocks the audience off balance with this moody set piece, things get predictable real fast and the tension quickly dissipates.” The Video Vacuum 

Main cast and characters:

  • Dagmar Lassander … Minou – Monster Shark;The Black Cat; House By The Cemetery; Werewolf Woman; Reflections in BlackThe Iguana with the Tongue of Fire; Hatchet for a Honeymoon
  • Pier Paolo Capponi … Peter – Seven Blood-Stained Orchids; The Cat O’ Nine Tails
  • Simón Andreu … The Blackmailer – Eyes of CrystalBeyond Re-Animator;The Night of the SorcerersOpen SeasonDeath Carries a CaneDeath Walks at MidnightThe Blood Spattered BrideDeath Walks on High HeelsTransplant of a Brain
  • Osvaldo Genazzani … Frank, the Commissioner
  • Salvador Huguet … George (as Salvador Buguet)
  • Nieves Navarro … Dominique (as Susan Scott) – Death Walks at MidnightDeath Walks in High Heels;  All the Colours of the Dark

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