|The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail (1971)|
|Writers:||Ernesto Gastaldi, Eduardo Manzanos Brochero and Sauro Scavolini|
|Starring:||George Hilton, Anita Strindberg and Ida Galli|
|The Plot: Young trophy wife Mrs. Lisa Baumer (Ida Galli) is at home with her lover when her husband’s plane is blown up in the middle of the sky. When it becomes known that she will be the beneficiary of a one million lira insurance policy, she has several would-be pursuers turning up. A former flame, who is now addicted to drugs, approaches her and informs her that he has a letter from one year ago that will allude to her guilt in killing her husband. She agrees to pay him off for the letter, but when she turns up at his apartment in order to purchase the evidence, it seems that someone has broke in and killed him. The young wife immediately leaves for Greece, where her husband’s insurance firm’s head office is, in order to grab her money and run. After getting her money, all of it in cash, she prepares her things in order to start a new life. Unfortunately, she is soon murdered and the money is stolen. Before her death, the insurance agency had hired Peter Lynch (George Hilton) to keep an eye on Mrs. Baumer just in case there we a possibility of insurance fraud. After he discovers her death, Peter is soon wrapped up in the murder mystery surrounding the deaths of Mrs. Baumer, her former lover and her husband as well. Who could be behind these assassinations and what will bring them to justice?|
Taking a cue directly from the master of suspense, Case of the Scorpion’s Tail features an early twist that seems highly influenced by the classic bait-and-switch of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. We are introduced to what appears to be our leading protagonist, Mrs. Baumer, but Martino cleverly has this character present a multitude of questions before actually having her killed off. So, after these questions are raised we are simply left with a puzzle that appears to be unsolved. When the story seems to pick up with George Hilton in the lead, it brings a new life to the movie and immediately catches the attention of the audience. There are scenes throughout the film (such as a bit pertaining to an airline stewardess) that act as apparent non sequiturs within the confines of the actual plot. These scenes seem to have very little to do with the story, but this is only at first glance. These sequence do factor into the actual plot, but it takes quite a while. While these sequences could have been more tightly edited into the story, it seems that Martino may have wanted these sequences to play out a little hazy for his audience. If so, I give him credit in that it adds to the atmosphere of strangeness that seems to surround the entire production.