Cold Eyes of Fear (1971) – By Duane L. Martin

Another Italian thriller from Redemption this month, it’s 1971s Cold Eyes of Fear, from the director of 1978s The Inglorious Bastards, Enzo G. Castellari. In this film, a swigin’ solicitor named Peter (Gianni Garko) hooks up with a woman named Anna (Giovanna Ralli) at a night club, and after a night of running around and having fun, he brings her back to his uncle’s house, where he lives, for a night of fornication. Things quickly turn dark however when they find the butler dead and a home invader with a gun in the house. The man keeps them at gun point, but doesn’t seem to be in any hurry. As it turns out, he was waiting for his cohort, a man named Arthur Welt (Frank Wolff), whose main interest was in finding an old file from his 1955 court case that Peter’s uncle, who is a well known judge, presided over, as those files will prove that the judge was on the take and that since all of his accomplices in the crime had the money to pay him off, that he was the only one who was sent to prison for it. He also has some sinister plans for the judge, but I don’t want to spoil it here. Pretty much, this is what the film is about. There’s not a whole lot more to say.

I’m assuming you’ve all seen Spinal Tap. Remember the review of their Shark Sandwich album? Well, that’s the same review I wanted to give to this film. Seriously, it took me about three sittings to get through it. Why? Honestly, looking back on it, I couldn’t really tell you. Looking back on it now, as a whole and knowing the full story, it really wasn’t all that bad, but for some reason, while I was watching it, I just found it to be utterly tedious and illogical.

Now you might think, "Well, at least you had Giovanna Ralli to look at. She’s one hot Italian babe!"

Normally you’d be right, but for at least the first half of the movie, she’s wearing a horrible outfit and has her hair curled all over her head like a mop that had been electrocuted. It wasn’t until we reached a point in the film where she showered, straightened her hair out and changed her clothes that she changed from "street walker" to "super hot Italian babe".

As for the illogic in the film…

The uncle is not only a complete ass, but he just can’t take a hint. At some point, he calls Peter to get him to read him some piece from an old case he was looking for precedence in, and Peter slipped in a phrase in Latin that was supposed to let his uncle know something was wrong, but the quote was so obscure that it took his uncle ages to figure out why he even said it. It’s like, if you’re trying to convey a secret message in Latin because the people holding you don’t speak Latin, but the person you’re sending the message to does, then just spell it out! Why spout off with some obscure quote? That made no sense at all.

That’s simply one example. There are numerous examples of illogic, failed chances to escape, failed chances to take down an attacker, whispered warnings that we could clearly hear but that someone standing right in front of them couldn’t hear, etc…. Then throw in some unbelievably pretentious and obnoxiously edited shots here and there, and what you end up with is a film that’s just really hard to like.

About the best thing I can say about this film is that Arthur’s motivations were justified, and the performances in general were ok. Not spectacular, but ok.

This film was remastered to HD for this release from the original 35mm negative. It also includes the trailer for the film, and trailers for other Redemption releases.

If you’re looking for an Italian film in the sexy thriller vein, I would suggest Redemption’s other release that I reviewed this month, The Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine, as it’s a far superior film.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out it’s page on the Kino Lorber website here, and if you’d like to pick up a copy for yourself, you can get the blu-ray or DVD from Amazon, or from any of the other usual outlets.