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us title: So Sweet... So Perverse
italian title: Così dolce... così perversa
year: 1969
director: Umberto Lenzi
composer: Riz Ortolani
full details: IMDB
overall score: 49

Bottom Line: For Completists Only
As long as you've seen eveything else, this is worth a look.

WARNING: Spoilers Below

score analysis

Umberto Lenzi's career as a filmmaker seems to follow a very specific pattern of hit or miss and So Sweet... So Perverse definitely falls in the "miss" category for me. The film carries a favorable reputation because of its influence on the genre as a proto-Giallo and the all-star lineup of Lenzi, Carol Baker, a Riz Ortolani score and a screenplay penned by Ernesto Gestaldi. Unfortunately none of these selling points save the film from its slow pacing and weak story.

Dismissed by mainstream critics as a ripoff of Clouzot's "Les Diaboliques" (which I've never seen), the film seems to divide itself into two distinct acts. The first being primarily concerned with Jean and Nicole's secret love affair while the second revolves around the reveal of the main twist (Nicole and Danielle plotting to kill Jean and take his money) with the ever-lingering hint of additional twists to follow. 

Unfortunately the first act goes on for way too long and the second act doesn't pack as many surprises as I was hoping for. After investing an hour in these characters I was hoping for a few extra double-crosses and back stabs. Nothing extreme, but at least a little more interesting than the ending we're left with. Comparing this film with Fulci's Perversion Story (made in the same year and with a similar vibe), Fulci's film is significantly more exciting and re-watchable, and this is mostly due to higher quality script and faster pacing.

On the score meter, the film barely registers, but this is to be expected for any film that predates Argento, and it's interesting to see Lenzi playing around with some of the genre signatures that would eventually become "auto-includes" a few years later. So if you approach the film from a historical context it's not a wasted effort. Lenzi creates some inspiring visuals that would ultimately influence future Gialli (including his own). In addition, the cast is solid (Horst Frank is very menacing as Klaus) and Ortolani's main theme is quite memorable (although I prefer the instrumental version that plays at the end of Seven Bloodstained Orchids).

Nevertheless, it's difficult to recommend So Sweet... So Perverse to anyone other than Giallo completists. I may have done myself a disservice by watching this film before Orgasmo and Lenzi's two other "...Place to Kill" movies and perhaps a second viewing will help me appreciate it more. Until then it remains a blip in the genre radar.

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score breakdown

Hint: Hover over a score item for more details
Staples : 25/60
Italian Director10 points
Black Gloves5 points
Motivation: Blackmail/Gain5 points
Director > 15 points
Standards : 18/30
More than one killer or accomplice4 points
Morricone/Nicolai/Ortolani3 points
Nude Scene >= 13 points
Suspects >= 34 points
Urban Location4 points
Signatures : 6/10
Airplane1 point
Gay/Lesbian1 point
Foreigner1 point
Odd Clue1 point
Photography/Glamor/Modeling/Art1 point
Spiral Stairs1 point
Total Points : 49/100



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Published: 2016-02-16