And it’s back to the spaghetti western lands once again, as we visit Massimo Dallamona, the cinematographer from for Clint Eastwood’s A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More—which were scripted by Fernando Di Leo, who wrote and directed his own giallo flick, Slaughter Hotel (1971).
However, unlike Di Leo, Dallamona stuck with the genre, also bringing us Venus in Furs (1969), What Have You Done to Done to Solange? (1972), What Have They Done to Your Daughters? (1974; a poliziottesco-giallo hybrid), and The Cursed Medallion (1975; which rips The Exorcist, as well). At that point, Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson ignited the Italy’s burgeoning poliziottesco genre, and Dallamona brought us Super Bitch (1973) and Colt 38 Special Squad (1976). His final film was the Italian-German-Spanish giallo co-production, Rings of Fear (1978), posthumously released after his 1976 death.
As with Rings of Fear, A Black Veil for Lisa was also a West German co-production (German cinema was attempting, like Spain, to get in on the giallo craze as the krimi genre was fading away; so they imported Italian directors to Hamburg). Esteemed British actor John Mills—who was far beyond his prime in the ‘30s and ‘40s and, like most older and forgotten actors, moved into giallo—was imported as well.
He’s Franz Bulon, a jealous, controlling German narcotics detective who married one of his previous collars (Va-va-voom! It’s flame-maned Luciana Paluzzi, aka SPECTRE assassin Fiona Volpe from Thunderball). When he collars Max Lindt (Robert Hoffman from 1974’s Spasmo and the 1978 “sci-fi” giallo, Eyes Behind the Stars), an assassin hired by a drug-lord behind the serial murders of rival drug dealers, instead of arresting Max, the old bastard blackmails him to kill his philandering, young wife.
Yeah, this plan’s going to work just find, Inspector Gadget.
This one has it all. It puts the “trash” in Eurotrash. It’s morbid. It’s erotic. But it’s not as graphic or sexual as we might prefer in our gialli. Thus, this is a bit more to the side of film-noir, as the giallo genre was not yet fully realized with Mario Bava’s Bay of Blood. And everyone is screwin’ everybody—figurative and literally, which we like in our gialli and film noir. And, since Dallamona came out the cinematograph realm, this film looks sharper than shard of glass, with lots of stylized, colorful angles. The acting across all fronts is excellent.
Known by Euro-audiences as La morte non ha sesso, aka Death Has No Sex, this is out in the U.S. marketplace as a legit Blu-ray/DVD via Olive Films, whose catalog deals mostly in rare and deep Euro-obscurities. Olive’s valiant efforts to retain obscure gems like this for posterity—giving us something beyond worn out VHS tapes and hazy-streaming rips made from VHS-taped UHF-TV (and severely edited, natch) showings—is greatly appreciated.