|The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971)|
|Writers:||Vittorio Caronia, Ernesto Gastaldi, Eduardo Manzanos Brochero|
|Starring:||Edwige Fenech, George Hilton and Ivan Rassimov|
|The Plot: Our film begins with a prostitute being picked up from the side of the road and eventually being murdered with a straight razor, by an unknown assailant. We skip forward and meet Julie Wardh (Edwige Fenech), who is being utterly ignored by her businessman husband. He’s more interested in stocks than her, which has led to some disillusionment within their marriage. When Mrs. Wardh first hears about this murder, which happened very close by to her home, a slight amount of paranoia begins to creep into her mind. She finds that her former boyfriend, Jean, is still hanging around town after her long departure for America and he hasn’t let go of the past. Jean and Julie had a torrid love affair at one point, and Jean is well known for his enjoyment of kinky and rough sexual activities. Soon, George (George Hilton) enters into the picture as well and the young man seems to understand where Julie is coming from and desperately wants to protect her. Now, with this murderer on a rampage and Julie’s own sexual desires going unfulfilled she will find herself wrapped up in a torrid wind of violence, sexual awakening and mystery.|
There’s no question about it however, the visual flare is part of what makes the entire experience so magical. The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh is easily one of Martino’s most visually impressive films, which is interesting since it is hist first foray into the world of Giallo cinema. This young effort displays a brilliant exhibition of everything that made the Giallo such an amazing genre, and solidified Sergio Martino as one of the most prominate filmmakers within the Eurocult film world. There are little bursts of creativity throughout Mrs. Wardh… that simply left me, as a viewer and lover of the genre, with a wide grin across my face. Martino is let loose here, and completely decorates the screen with as many wild and unnaturally vibrant primary colors as one could possibly find. Martino frames shots without any care for blase film school techniques. He is a filmmaker that creates what he feels will look best, and if that makes him a style over substance director then so be it. In example, during a tense moment where a female character is being stalked, Martino uses a low angle that looks up toward the female as she walks around an absolutely gorgeous park setting. While the normal frame of mind would tell you this is a shot used to show superiority and strength, Martino manages to get quite the opposite effect by his use of audio cues and the simple narrative formula up until this point. We know that this is a woman in trouble, our soundtrack reinforces this and Martino manages to use whatever angles and techniques are at his disposal in order to get his point across.