LIBIDO (1965) Reviews and preview of the Giallo murder mystery thriller

Libido is a 1965 Italian Giallo murder thriller in which a young man revisits the house where his father committed a murder.

Written and directed by Julian Berry Storff [Ernesto Gastaldi (Almost Human; Torso; All the Colours of the Dark; The Sweet Body of Deborah; The Horrible Dr Hichcock, plus many more) and Vittorio Salerno (Notturno con grida; Savage Three; No, the Case Is Happily Resolved)] from a story by Mara Maryl alias Maria Chianetta (The Two-Tailed Scorpion; The big alligator). Sergio Martino was production manager.

The NucleoFilm production stars Dominique Boschero (Who saw her die?; All the colors of black; The iguana with the tongue of fire; The unnatural), Mara Maryl (Notturno con grida; The lonely violent beach), Giancarlo Giannini (Quantum of Comfort; Casino Royale; Hannibal; black belly of the tarantula) and Luciano Pigozzi (alien from the depths; The exterminators of the year 3000; Seven deaths in the cat’s eyes; The young, the evil and the savage; and many others).

Plot Synopsis:
A boy, Christian (Giancarlo Giannini), witnesses his father murder his mistress in a room lined with mirrors in their cliffside mansion.

Twenty years later, he returns to the family home with Hélène (Dominique Boschero), his fiancée, and a very friendly married couple, Paul, his lawyer (Luciano Pigozzi) and Paul’s wife, Brigitte (Mara Maryl).


Christian is tormented by fear that his father – who allegedly committed suicide by jumping off a cliff into the sea below – is still alive.

As strange events begin to occur, such as finding his father’s pipe still smoking, which leads Christian to suspect that someone is trying to drive him crazy for the inheritance money…

Our opinion :
Adapted from a story by Mara Maryl (Gastaldi’s wife), this hastily shot thriller (which, according to the writer-director, was made in just eighteen days from start to finish as a gamble !), includes elements of Devilishwhile using Freud’s “primal scene” theory as an essential basis for the plot.

Despite the inevitable constraints of its small budget, Libido looks good thanks to slick accomplishments like tracking shots and close-ups of eyes (how Italian!), impressive black-and-white photography by Romolo Garroni, and claustrophobic rural locations. Additionally, the mirror-lined room where the conflab occurs is a pleasant focal point for the protagonist’s concerns – reflecting his own voyeuristic obsessions in multiple ways.

The film benefits from the services of a small but competent cast, made up of regulars of Italian genre cinema as always welcome Luciano Pigozzi and Dominique Boschero. Mara Maryl’s bubbly and flirtatious character, Brigitte, initially seems to twist the developing psychodrama, but also adds sweet humor and teasing appeal as she’s seen doing a tantalizing strip for her partner and wearing more later a provocative bikini adorned with smiling kitties. It was future international star Giancarlo Giannini’s first starring role and he’s suitably distressed, if a little hammy, as a young man tormented by his father’s past marital and murderous crimes.

Gialli fans will also appreciate the early tropes highlighted in Libidolike the heavy use of Freudian psychological motivations, fetish imagery, blatant corks for whiskey (in this case Cutty Sark rather than the seemingly ubiquitous J&B), a black-gloved killer, and, of course, double protagonists. untrustworthy crossing.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA


Other reviews:
“Although Libido was made on a shoestring budget, it’s compact, atmospheric and engaging on its own modest terms. The slow, deliberate pace and moody tone are in the tradition of goth coolers such as Rebecca and The spiral staircase but the film is also a reflection of its time with amoral characters…” Cinema breaks

“The film is unusually understated compared to the much better known and later masterpieces of the [Giallo] genre and, especially at first, looks pretty unspectacular. But this film is psychologically all the more sophisticated and develops its own appeal over time. 8/10 movie tips [translated from German]


“This movie may not be a lost classic, but it’s still an effective, well-acted, well-written murder mystery with an edge, keeping audiences fully engaged until its pleasingly dark resolution. Worth a watch. look for. Mark David Welsh

“Giallo’s basic tropes are duly incorporated, but the film is more concerned with character and mood for much of its duration. The end result may seem a bit talkative and tame by today’s standards, but it has a hypnotic vibe of its own and the film deserves to be seen by a wider audience. […] The feeling of claustrophobia is artfully maintained and the various shocks and twists are handled with a sure and steady hand. Troy Howard, So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films


To buy: |

“Although undeniably twisted, the final moments of Libido pack a real punch, wonderfully, black ironically in their machinations but almost heartbreaking at the same time […] With its abundance of memorable performances, elegant direction, and suitably slippery narrative, it’s a film worthy of critical reappraisal. You died of dysentery


Cast and characters:
Dominique Boschero … Helen
Mara Maryl … Brigitte
Giancarlo Giannini [as Charlie Johns] …Christian
Luciano Pigozzi [as Alan Collins] …Paul

Technical details:
1 hour 26 minutes
Black and white
Audio: Mono

Film Facts:
Gastaldi reused footage from this film (in tinted form) for his final 1982 horror film Notturno con grida.


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