Mozart Is a Murderer (1999)

You can say that Argento is all things giallo, but in my mind, there’s just as strong of an argument to include Sergio Martino in his company. Starting with 1971’s The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, Martino had a run of several classic films in just a few years, such as Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, All the Colors of the Dark, Torso, The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail and The Suspicious Death of a Minor.

And while this is just a TV movie made years after the glorious decade of giallo, Mozart is a Murderer reminds us that Martino is an expert filmmaker.

It all starts years ago when one bad note ruins a concert. This innocuous event will spiral to claim the lives of many. Starting with a girl named Chiara, those connected to the event are found stabbed and have a circle and a cross cut into their bodies.

Commissioner Antonio Maccari has been trying to rebuild his life after his wife’s death at the hands of a serial killer he was hunting for. He’s been dating a therapist, Dr. Marta Melli, who is treating one of the students who was in the recital. It turns out that their teacher, Professor Baraldi, may have a sweet tooth for his male students and that Chiara and her boyfriend had been blackmailing their old music professor. But there are so many red herrings to swim through before we learn who the killer is.

Martino had some success in the 90s with TV movies and miniseries, including Private Crimes, which feature the queen of all things giallo Edwige Fenech and the always doomed Ray Lovelock.

This looks pretty 90s instead of being filled with the visual flourishes that Martino showed in his past work. But hey — even a low budget Martino is another joy to find, right? And it’s filled with little nods to past films, such as a headline that proclaims “The police are fumbling in the dark,” which is a line used in many giallo and also the title of a 1975 film with that very name, The Police Are Blundering In the Dark.

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