Five Dolls for an August Moon: Kino Classics Remastered Edition [Blu-ray]
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Industrialist George Stark (Teodoro Corra) invites a small group of wealthy friends to his private island for a weekend of relaxation and light business. He wants them to meet the brilliant chemist Gerry Farrell (William Berger) who has invented a newchemical process. Against his wishes, Farrell is engaged in business discussions revolving around millions of dollars worth of investment. As each of the potential investors goes behind each other's back, fear and mistrust grow, particularly once the guests begin turning up dead.
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First off, these are Bava films, so you either love his late-60's work or hate it, period. The same things that we fans of his later 60's output love are usually the very same things that turn others off. So I'm not going to spend a lot of time reviewing the actual movie itself, but rather what's on display in them - the luscious Euro babes with big, teased hair and false eyelashes, the accompanying mini-skirts, go-go boots and chain belts, the futuristic furniture, accessories and decor (the same stuff that's resurgently popular today), the elaborate architecture and European landscapes, the cool cars, the extravagant, permissive lifestyles and hedonistic parties and, of course, Edwige Fenech.
I realize that these things have nothing to do with whether these are good movies or not, but I also know I'm not alone in my rabid fascination for all things from this particular time period, and that WILL have an impact on whether you enjoy these films. Derivitive plot? Sure. Annoying soundtrack? Yup. Predictable outcome? Absolutely. It's akin to Agatha Christie on acid. So if the plot steers off course here and there while enjoying the visual feast on display as described above, who cares? Besides, Bava displays a black sense of humor here that's not present in most of his work outside of his few comedies.
I'm giving it 4 stars because, although flawed, I don't want folks to think it's a cinematic clunker - it's of of Bava's minor gems that's not often seen or available in the states, but definitely worth your time + attention if you enjoy seeing the master having some fun while delivering the gothic goods with a late 60's psych feel, unbelievable architecture, and a cast that includes the luscious Edwige Fenech in one of her first truly sexy and memorable roles. It's a relentless mod murder mystery and pristine parade of eye-candy and loungy, kitschy atmosphere, peppered with sultry sex and murder as only Bava can pull off effectively. But do yourself a favor and watch it in Italian w/ subs to see, taste, feel and enjoy it as it was meant to be.
I've heard it said this is one of his lesser movies, that he did it only for the money, etc., but to my mind it is the maestro at his height, filled with Bava touches that no one of the time (or now) comes close to. Several new Italian obscurites have been remastered and reissued by that great company Raro, but with the exception of one or two, nothing comes close to Bava. This film does indeed have a "Ten little indians," or "Then there were none" kind of plot. But I don't think Agatha Christie could have come up with the idea of hanging bodies up like a musical mobile of death in the walk-in freezer! William Berger, the exquisite Edwege Fenech, the ultracool Ely Galleani (the youngest woman), and all the other actors are top notch for their roles.
Bava's wicked wit is supreme here, in the deaths, the freezer scene, and the final denouement. It's like a crazy carnival of color, blood, and fabulously dressed Italians! SEE the wildest '60's/'70's party of them all! Thrill at the inventive and gory deaths of nearly all concerned! GAPE at the dangling bodies wrapped in plastic moving slightly to a jaunty theme! FOLLOW the bouncing glass beads and see what secrets they reveal! AND try to figure out exactly how all this stuff was cleaned up so neatly for a special turn in the plot .... I love this movie. I think you will too.
This is one of my favorite Bava films, a somewhat tongue in cheek black comedy; a remake of "Ten Little Indians". A group of businessmen meet with a scientist on a private island to discuss his new invention - wives and girlfriends included. Things go well at first, until the houseboy is found murdered. That's when they realize no one can leave the island because the yacht has been sent away due of an approaching storm. One by one, people are being killed off - so many in fact that the bodies have to be kept in the villa's cold storage locker. It's all great fun: ruthless businessmen, beautiful women in the late 60s fashions, a mysterious killer on a private island - with bouncy 60s-era lounge music - what's not to like! You can expect the usual Bava double-twist ending.