Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Technicolour dream… Deadly Sweet - Col Cuore in Gola (1967)

Ewa Aulin and Jean-Louis Trintignant
Now this is more like it! After the let down of the highly-flawed Candy, I wanted to see how Ewa Aulin came across in another film of similar vintage.

Directed by Tinto Brass (who’s career followed an entirely different direction from the 70s) Col cuore in gola (also I Am What I Am) is a surprisingly interesting film that not only tips a hat to Blow Up it tries to rob the clothes off it’s back: there’s even a quote from Antonioni from one of the main characters.

Swinging photography...
It’s got swinging London, mini skirts, cool lead actors and even features a section filmed at the 14 Hour Technicolour Dream: a legendary “happening” at Alexandra Palace in the Summer of Love which featured Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Jimi Hendrix, The Syn and a host of psychedelia's finest.

Brass juxtaposes pop-art with his actors
 Brass directs with derivative verve throughout with every cinematic trick he can think of, from split screens, black and white sequences, angled shots and a mountain of decorative pop art. It’s a deliberate and successfully pop-arty statement in its own right and more interesting than many a cast-off British attempt to exploit the UK scene.

Jean-Louis Trintignant and highly-collectible 14 Hour poster
Another feather in the film’s cap is the male lead Jean-Louis Trintignant (star of Michael Hanke’s recently Oscar nominated Amour) who is pretty cool and carries the right amount of actorly skill to play off the film’s potential flippancy… he just about carries off drumming like a Muppet in one scene and swinging like Tarzan in another. But, overall, his Bernard is street smart and tough. Not quite sure if he’s a private eye or just an adventurer though.

The bad-scene of the crime...
But this doesn’t prevent him from falling for the charms of Ewa Aulin’s Jane, the seventeen year-old daughter of a recently-murdered business man whom he spots at a nightclub dancing her grief away.

He follows her deeper into the club and finds a man bludgeoned to death… he turns around and she’s there, in shock. He takes her with him after purloining a gun and some money…he’s not a straightforward hero…

Ewa Aulin
Aulin fits in so much better here than in Candy and proves that she can act and not just adorn. In fact her character is tougher than she looks and gives her much more to play with than the obscure cipher of the later film.

The plot is convoluted and there merely to provide a backdrop for the style…  Daddy was being blackmailed by the murdered man and there are some photographs which are not to be found. Bernard drags Jane away from the scene and returns to try and find the incriminating images.

Richmond Park...only the deer have changed...
He’s greeted by two thugs (one of which is played by future Darth Vader, Dave Prowse) who he manages to over-come in true comic book style.

Bernard and Jane get closer in her flat…the only real flash of nudity from the celebrated soft pornographer Brass, which is a dream of 60s pop-imagery. I’ve always thought that the “sixties” never really stopped and this could be any student’s pad at any time since...

Jane's groovy pad
Bernard starts to dig into Jane’s story and whilst her wicked step-mother Martha (Vira Silenti) and her lover look hot favourites, he seeks out her brother David (Roberto Bisacco). Before he can find him, he and Jane are spotted by a dwarf (yep!) working for the bad guys (whoever they are) who arranges for Jane to be kidnapped.

David drives an E-type Jaguar!
Bernard and David stage a dramatic rescue of Jane, who has been tie up and stripped down to her lingerie by her captors… but hang on, this might actually be justified by the plot.

The rescue...
Jane and Bernard are spotted again by the heavies who chase them across London in one of the film’s most interesting sight-seeing sequences. Brass relishes his locations and it’s great to see the city as it was and still remains…

Underground, overground...
The chase ends up at Wimbledon dog track where Bernard is cornered and beaten up. Naturally he escapes and returns to Jane with remarkably little bruising…he’s tough alright.

By now we’re convinced that the Wicked Step-mother’s lover is to blame but Bernard and Jane find him dead in his bath and incriminating necklace on the floor…but where is his murderous lover?

Jean-Louis Trintignant, Vira Silenti & that very valuable poster...
For some reason the middle-aged socialite has decided to head to Alexandra Palace to check out Soft Machine and the rest of at the International Times fundraising 24 Hour Technicolour Dream – Granny Takes a Trip?

The Great Hall, Alexandra Palace...
Cue scenes of Bernard and Jane traipsing through Ally Pally whilst the chaos goes on all around and spaced out scene-sters freak out for the cameras…

Bernard tracks down Martha and the pieces begin to fall into place… the ending twisting in un-expected ways as dawn breaks over N22…

Dusty verdict: turn off your mind relax and float down stream… unchallenging, psychedelic-noir with engaging lead actors, swinging scenery and imagery. Available on DVD across the universe.

For more on the 14 Hour Technicolour Dream check out a Man Alive documentary on YouTube and Floyd-fan, Colin Turner's recollections of the event over here.

Look what's playing at the Pavilion!
Ewa acts
Trintignant's only percusive role?

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