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Il tuo Vicio è una Stanza chiusa e solo io ne ho la Chiave

Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key
Your Vice Is a Closed Room and Only I Have the Key / Excite Me / Eye of the Black Cat / Gently Before She Dies

Italy 1972
produced by
Luciano Martino for Dania Film
directed by Sergio Martino
starring Edwige Fenech, Anita Strindberg, Luigi Pistilli, Ivan Rassimov, Franco Nebbia, Riccardo Salvino, Angela La Vorgna, Daniela Giordano, Ermelinda De Felice, Marco Mariani, Nerina Montagnani, Carla Mancini, Bruno Boschetti
screenplay by Ernesto Gastaldi, Adriano Bolzoni, Luciano Martino, Sauro Scavolini, somehow based on The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe, music by Bruno Nicolai

Edgar Allan Poe's Black Cat

review by
Mike Haberfelner


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Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli) once was a great writer, but he has been suffering from writers block for years (since his mother died, actually) and now he only finds pleasure in running parties in his run-down mansion and in humiliating his wife Irene (Anita Strindberg), preferably in public.

However, when Fausta (Daniela Giordano), his ex mistress is found slain and he suddenly finds himself being the prime suspect, his wife provides him with a watertight (if false) alibi. The next day, in the mansion even, the black maid (Angela La Vorgna) is murdered much the same way Fausta was, and Oliviero, afraid the police might suspect him again, ecides to wall up the body in the mansion's basement, and he can even persuade Irene to help him.

Soon, everything seems to be back to normal again, with Oliviero even reassuming his abusive role, when his niece Floriana (Edwige Fenech) invites herself for a visit ... and it doesn't take her long to figure out that something is wrong between her uncle and aunt, especially when Oliviero locks Irene up in a small room in the basement in another fit of rage.

Not only does Flo free her and learn everything about the dead maid and that Irene suspects Oliviero to be the killer, the two also start a lesbian relationship. But behind Irene's back, Flo starts a sexual relationship with Oliviero as wekk, and tries to entice both him and Irene to kill their respective significant other ...

Eventually, Oliviero is slain, and Irene can persuade Flo to help her wall up the body, beside the dead maid - and in exchange, Flo asks for norhing more Oliviero's mother's priceless jewelry, which Irene offers gladly just so the ordeal is over ...

But as soon as Flo has left the villa, Irene's accomplice Walter (Ivan Rassimov) shows up, and he and Irene make up plans to have Flo met with a nice little accident ...

 

Having been made at the early height of the giallo genre, Your Vice is a Locked Room and only I have the Key does not even make a serious effort to follow the tried and true (and overused) giallo formula of throwing some innocent protagonists into an overconstructed murder mystery full of suspicious characters, garnered with gruesome murder scenes every now and again - instead, the film paints a decadent and disturbing psychogram of character who just has to be the killer - until the revelation of the real killer turns everything topsy turvey, with the biggest arsehole being revealed as the only innocent character while the "victim" having an agenda of her own ... but thanks to clever storytelling, the audience is kept at the edge of their seats till the very end, with a properly stylish directorial effort certainly making the best out of the narrative, and Italian countryside proves to be perfect for the story too, since it is at once pittoresque and provides the film with a suitable atmosphere of isolation. Only the combination of walling up corpses and a black cat does give away the finale a bit too soon (at least for everyone who has read his Edgar Allan Poe), which hardly hurts the movie as a whole though.

Highly recommended.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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