La Controfigura (1971)

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Italian filmmaker Romolo Guerrieri's follow-up to the minor giallo favorite Il Dolce Corpo di Deborah is this far more interesting and visually captivating variation on familiar genre themes. The film -- like An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge -- is constructed as a flashback experienced in a dying man's final moments. In this case, the dying man is Frank (Jean Sorel), who is shot in an underground garage and reconstructs the events which brought him there in his dying memories. Frank was on vacation in Morocco with the free-spirited young Lucia (Ewa Aulin from Candy), and was getting quite jealous of her flirtations with an American tourist named Eddie Kenham (Sergio Doria). That was when Frank noticed Lucia's sexy mother Nora (Lucia Bose) and engaged in rough sex with her. Afterwards, the angry Nora had dismissed him, but Frank was still obsessed and followed her back to Rome, only to come to the conclusion that Nora was sleeping with Eddie. When Eddie turned up dead in her apartment, Frank covered up the evidence, believing that Nora had killed him. Unfortunately, Nora wasn't even in Rome at the time, and Frank's single-minded quest to discover Eddie's real killer eventually led him to his death in the parking garage. The absorbing storyline, adapted from Libero Bigiaretti's novel by genre veterans Alessandro Continenza and Sauro Scavolini, contains numerous twists and turns flamboyantly staged by Guerrieri and cinematographer Carlo Carlini. Add to this a superior cast full of familiar faces including Silvano Tranquilli, Marilu Tolo, and Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, and La Controfigura emerges as a surprisingly enjoyable thriller and a worthy addition to any giallo enthusiast's collection. Prints run anywhere from 75 to 94 minutes, however, so viewers should take note of which version they are seeing.