aka E TANTA PAURA
aka TOO MUCH FEAR
Directed by Paolo Cavara. Written by Bernardino Zapponi, Paolo Cavara, Enrico Oldoini. Cast: Corinne Clery, Michele Placido, Eli Wallach, Tom Skerritt, John Steiner, Jacques Herlin, Quinto Parmeggiani, Eddy Fay, Sarah Ceccarini, Cecilia Polizzi, Claudio Zucchet, Greta Vajant, Mary Ruth League. (Unrated, 95 mins)
Raro USA has done a nice job with the restoration of this obscure late-period giallo from director Paolo Cavara, best known for 1971's Dario Argento-inspired BLACK BELLY OF THE TARANTULA. Long available in bootleg circles, PLOT OF FEAR (original Italian title: E TANTA PAURA) never made it to US theaters, nor did it ever turn up on home video, so this DVD marks the film's belated first official American release. Scripted by Cavara, Enrico Oldoini, and DEEP RED co-writer and regular Fellini collaborator Bernardino Zapponi, PLOT OF FEAR gets off to a clunky, confusing start and veers wildly between giallo and poliziotteschi, with some liberal doses of trangressive softcore porn. It's not a great film being rediscovered, but it's certainly an interesting artifact, not just for its rampant, cynical misanthropy (the rich are perverted and corrupt, men are petty and insecure, women are either vacuous models or dead hookers), but also for Eurotrash devotees, with its strange cast, terrible English dubbing (the original and better-preserved Italian audio track is also included), pervasive sleaze, and an infectiously catchy score by Daniele Patucchi, which is screaming to be covered by a present-day stoner rock band.
Opening scene. Credits and kickass music start around 1:30 into the clip
One of the suspects is Rosa's pimp (Claudio Zucchet), who, in this scene, gets picked up for questioning and bolts from the police car, instigating a brief but amazing foot chase through what has to be the busiest intersection in Milan. This brilliant bit looks as chaotic, awkward, and unchoreographed as a real pursuit would look (does that guy intend to tumble down the steps the way he does?), and I have serious doubts that the drivers of these cars knew that a movie was being shot.
Meanwhile, Lomenzo becomes romantically involved with Jeanne (Corinne Clery, fresh off the controversial, X-rated THE STORY OF O), a prostitute and part-time model who was also at Villa Hoffman the night of Rosa's death. As the murders continue, Lomenzo is torn between his relationship with Jeanne and her possible connection to the murders, and he also finds himself tangling with Riccio (Eli Wallach), an eccentric, chocolate-addicted private investigator who seems to have all of Milan under surveillance, hired by the surviving deviants to find out who's trying to kill them.
|John Steiner as Hoffmann|
|"Buon giorno, Tom. I'm Michele, nice to meet you. Two quick questions:|
why are you in this movie and exactly what is that you're wearing?"
|"Italy? All expenses paid? Lots of naked women in|
the movie? And I don't even have to hang
around to dub myself? Deal!"
Raro supplies plenty of extras, including a subtitled interview with Placido, who talks about the making of PLOT OF FEAR and shares warm memories of working with Wallach. There's also interviews with co-writer Oldoini, as well as Pietro Cavara, son of the late director (Paolo Cavara died in 1982). The 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer looks great and has to be a significant upgrade from Raro's original, non-anamorphic Italian release some years back. Raro USA's packaging mentions "new and improved English subtitles," but Wallach's character ("Pietro Riccio") is inexplicably referred to as "Peter Struwwel" in the English subtitles, even though "Riccio" is clearly audible on both audio tracks. This was apparently an issue with the original Italian DVD release. In lieu of the liner notes they used to provide, Raro USA gives us an appreciation of the film by Fangoria editor Chris Alexander, in the form of a PDF file. He can't explain BLOODY PEANUTS, either.
|Original Italian poster|