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Knife Of Ice

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    Ian Jane
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  • Knife Of Ice

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    Released by: Trash Mountain Video
    Released on: 2003
    Director: Umberto Lenzi
    Cast: Carroll Baker, Sergio Ciani, Ida Galli, Eduardo Fajardo, Silvia Monelli, Georges Rigaud
    Year: 1973
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Carroll Baker (of Baba Yaga and Oscar nominated for her part in The Carpetbaggers) plays Martha Caldwell, who, as a young girl, saw her parents killed in a train station. Since then, she's been mute, and periodically has flashbacks to the event, obviously still traumatized by it.

    We're introduced to her as she, now an adult, is on her way to live with her Uncle Ralph (Geroges Rigaud of Case Of The Bloody Iris and Lizard In A Woman's Skin) and her cousin Jenny (Ida Galli of The Whip And The Body) in the countryside, where things should be nice and peaceful. Unfortunately, soon after Martha's arrival, Jenny is found stabbed to death in the garage of the mansion.

    As it turns out, there is a sex maniac with an affliction for the occult running around the countryside, or at least it seems that way, as another pretty young girl turns up dead shortly after. The police think that Martha might be next on the killers list, but once they arrest the English hippy that they though was guilty, they realize the mistake they've made, as the murder don't stop and Martha is obviously more involved than she or anyone else could have possibly imagined.

    Director Umberto Lenzi (Cannibal Ferox) crafts a slick and classy Giallo that scores high points for it's excellent visuals, but ultimately fails to deliver much in the way of shocks, suspense, or mystery. The cinematography is pretty impressive with some nice use of shadow and captures some of the unusual locations used in the film very effectively, but the film, outside of that, was strictly a PG rated, mediocre thriller. It's surprisingly unsleazy for a Giallo. For a genre often associated with gratuitous sex and violence, Knife Of Ice delivers very little of either, save for some very minor bloodshed in a couple of scenes, and an all too real scene involving an unfortunate bull who ends up on the receiving end of a matador's sword at a bullfight.

    Not to say that a good Giallo must require sex and violence to succeed, but seeing as Lenzi is, a lot of the time, associated with these elements makes this worth noting.

    It wasn't terrible, Baker puts in a sympathetic and believable performance as the mute Martha Caldwell, and the supporting cast includes a nice assortment of Euro Horror regulars who also turn in reasonably good turns as well. But without much of a mystery (I personally found this one pretty predictable, story-wise), it was a little hard for me to get into, no matter how good it looked and despite the decent acting.

    Video/Audio/Extras:


    Although not enhanced for anamorphic television sets, Knife Of Ice is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35.1 in a nice, colorful transfer. There is some print damage in a few spots and a couple of the darker nighttime scenes are a tad murky, but colors are strong for the most part and overall this is a pretty pleasing transfer. Seeing the film in widescreen really gives on an appreciation for the cinematography in the film, which is top notch.

    The English dubbed Dolby Digital Mono track is, for the most part, pretty clear. However, there are a couple of scenes where there is some popping and crackling in the soundtrack, and in a few spots, things are a little bit difficult to understand because of this. It only happens for a few seconds, but it is there and it is noticeable. Removable Japanese subtitles are also included.

    We're treated to the films theatrical trailer and some text pieces that were in Japanese only.


    The Final Word:

    It's great to see Knife Of Ice in widescreen and the presentation is decent, but the movie, despite looking gorgeous, left a bit to be desired and proved to be only an average giallo.
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