Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Naked Girl Murdered in the Park (1972)

Naked Girl Murdered in the Park (Ragazza tutta nuda assassinata nel parco) is certainly a title that is going to get your attention. It’s also a title that suggests you’re about to see a giallo. Whether this Italian psychological thriller really qualifies for that label remains to be seen.

A man named Wallenberger is murdered in an amusement park just hours after taking out a million dollar life insurance policy. The insurance company isn’t happy and they assign their top investigator Chris Buyer (Robert Hoffmann) to investigate. He decides that his best starting point would be the Wallenberger’s daughter, Catherine (Pilar Velázquez). The fact that she is young and very pretty may perhaps have influenced his decision. Chris manages to move himself into the palatial Wallenberger villa.

The household comprises Catherine, her sister Barbara (Patrizia Adiutori), Wallenberger’s widow Magda (Irina Demick, Bruno the butler and a maid named Sybil. There’s also a deaf-mute named Günther. He looks after the horses although it appears that his main duty is to act as Barbara’s personal stud stallion. Of course she doesn’t allow him in the house. He services her in the barn. She doesn’t care that he’s a deaf-mute. She isn’t interested in talking to him.

Chris and Catherine have of course fallen madly in love. That doesn’t stop him from sleeping with Barbara as well.

There are complications. One of the women in the household is suffering from a very serious illness. Magda drinks a lot, perhaps to keep her mind off her grief. She also takes a bit of a shine to Chris. She’s a beautiful woman in her mid-30s so Chris doesn’t mind too much. There were some strange financial transactions leading up to Wallenberger’s murder and Wallenberger’s past is shrouded in mystery.

And then the second murder occurs. There’s a simple solution to this mystery, much too simple to be the real solution.

This won’t be the last murder.

The murders are not done in the over-the-top manner you expect in a giallo and overall this movie doesn’t quite have that characteristic giallo visual signature. The amusement park climax is moderately well executed.

This movie does however have a typical complicated giallo plot and it has a kind of giallo feel.

There’s no gore and hardly any blood. There’s a small amount of nudity but no frontal nudity (although being a 70s eurocult movie it is possible that racier cuts once existed). It does have a typically giallo atmosphere of dangerous sexual games being played.

The movie was directed by Alfonso Brescia, a name guaranteed to bring a warm glow to the heart of any fan of seriously deranged cult movies. Amazons vs Supermen (1975) may be the strangest movie ever made. Cosmos: War of the Planets (1977) is a crazy space opera. The Beast in Space (1980) is one of Brescia’s loopy space operas combined with a pastiche of Walerian Borowczyk’s erotic classic The Beast (La Bête), which was as good an excuse as any for adding lots of sex and nudity.

The acting is OK, although it’s always hard to judge acting performances in dubbed movies. Robert Hoffmann does well as Chris Buyer.

Is it giallo? I think it qualifies but it’s maybe not full-blown giallo. It’s crazy enough to be a giallo. The quality of being a giallo is essentially a matter of degree and no-one really agrees on exactly which films are and are not giallos, the controversy over whether Suspiria is a giallo being relevant here (I fall into the camp that believes it’s not a giallo).

It’s great that Full Moon has made a rarity like this available to us. Unfortunately the DVD includes only the English dubbed version and the sound quality is very problematical (or at least it is on my disc). Picture quality on the other hand is excellent. There are no extras apart from trailers.

Naked Girl Murdered in the Park is hardly a must-see movie. Giallo completists and hardcore Alfonso Brescia fans will want to see it. In its own way it’s entertaining enough but I wouldn’t suggest it’s worth going out of your way to find a copy.

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