Salvare la faccia (1969)

This ridiculously rare giallo has eluded every reference book I have ever encountered. With such talent in front of and behind the camera, I have no idea why this film has totally faded away into oblivion. It was released briefly on video in late 1998 in the USA but was deleted within one year. In a plot that would foreshadow the classic 1973 Spanish horror film “The Bell from Hell”, a young heiress (Adrienne Larussa) is committed to an insane asylum after she is caught bouncing around in a brothel with her sleazy boyfriend (Nino Castelnuovo), who actually set the whole thing up in order to blackmail Larussa’s rich “daddy” (as he is called in the film, and is also the name of the film’s theme song).

Upon her release, she seeks very twisted revenge. Larussa was also in Fulci’s “Beatrice Cenci”, Castelnuovo has made many great films, and other cast members, such as Paola Pitagora (of the classic “Fist in His Pocket”) and Alberto de Mendoza (who starred in several Sergio Martino giallo films) also perform very well, so it is a pity that this odd tale of psycho-murder has almost totally vanished. The English language title is “Psychout for Murder,” and in some scenes Larussa speaks her own English while in other scenes she is clearly dubbed, which may hint of post-production problems. No problems can be found on the trippy soundtrack, terrific late 60’s fashions, and in the perverse revenge plot line. The film is so glossy and rich looking that the underlying sleaziness and perversity appears more depraved than it would in other, less charming settings. The Madman of Italian Cinema, Renalto Polselli (“Delirium”) is listed in the credits but did not direct, but this film explores one of his favorite themes, violence and perversion among the upper echelons of society.