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us title: Footprints on the Moon
italian title: Le Orme
year: 1975
director: Luigi Bazzoni
composer: Nicola Piovani
full details: IMDB
overall score: 42

Bottom Line: A Worthwhile Deviation
Breaks some important rules and comes out on top as a result.

WARNING: Spoilers Below

score analysis

Luigi Bazzoni's Footprints on the Moon (Le Orme) is a great film no matter how you categorize it. For the longest time this film sat and waited for me to be prepared to enjoy it. Consistently associated with the Giallo genre, Footprints seems to be more of a horror/mystery, but this all depends on how strict our definition of Giallo is.

I've always been fascinated by the visual beauty of Bazzoni's other Giallo, The Fifth Chord, and Footprints is just as breathtaking. This is thanks in no small part to the talents of Oscar winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro who lensed both films as well as Argento's Bird with the Crystal Plumage. The variation between the jagged edges of modern Italy (where the film starts) and the lush landscapes and classic architecture of "Garma" furnishes Storaro with an immense palate on which to craft his magic.

Footprints is a very slow burn thriller, not unlike Fulci's The Psychic. Unfortunately, the average Giallo fan may lose interest once the genre's underlying promise of nudity, action and murder is broken. But patience is definitely rewarded for anyone with the stamina to watch the film without distractions and follow the clues. Florinda Bolkan dominates almost every frame of the film and delivers an award-worthy performance as her character struggles to comes to terms with her mysterious past. I also found Nicola Piovani soundtrack to be quite appropriate for the film. Not overbearing or jarring and peppered in at just the right places.

But let's get back the question of categorizing this film as a Giallo. By Italian standards, the term Giallo is used much more liberally to describe any sort of fictional mystery. By this definition, Footprints is definitely a Giallo. The film is also a "Giallo by Association" with locations, actors and crew that show up in other, more traditional Gialli. 

But as far as the GialloScore is concerned, Footprints barely registers. While there is a mystery to solve and Alice definitely plays the role of the detective, there are no murders to attribute to the mystery. The film gets points for its location and Bazzoni's previous Giallo credit, and there are a few Giallo standards and signatures that leak in. But most of the staples are genre are completely ignored. 

Is this a bad thing? Of course not! 

On the contrary, films like Footprints are the reason why the GialloScore is such an fascinating concept. Of all the films scored so far, Footprints is in the bottom five and yet it might be one of the best films of the genre. The combination of Bazzoni's direction, Storaro's camera, Bolkan's peformance, the filming locations and the music combine synergistically to create a hypnotic and suspenseful mystery that is reminiscent of Stanley Kubrik and "Last Year at Marienbad" (for those of you who took a film class!). 

With this in mind, Footprints should really be more well known and studied for its merits, but until the rest of the film world recognizes its greatness, it will remain our little hidden gem.

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score breakdown

Hint: Hover over a score item for more details
Staples : 25/60
Italian Director10 points
Amateur Detective5 points
Classic Period (1970 - 1975)5 points
Director > 15 points
Standards : 12/30
Flashback Revelation3 points
Italian Location3 points
Mistaken Identity2 points
Urban Location4 points
Signatures : 5/10
Airplane1 point
Foreigner1 point
Odd Clue1 point
Photography/Glamor/Modeling/Art1 point
Spiral Stairs1 point
Total Points : 42/100



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Published: 2015-05-18