Blu-ray Review: Double Face (1969)

May 18, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Tycoon John Alexander (the ever sedate and totally sane Klaus Kinski) has found himself in a marriage with the comely Helen (Margaret Lee) who gets the seven year itch five years t early and begins an affair with her friend Liz. John gets wise to this but Helen soon finds herself tits up as her car crashes due to an explosive device planted on the vehicle.

How does our hero deal with his never-ending grief at his wife’s demise? Why by attending one of those “hippie parties” that the kids are so into these days, with a chick that decided to take up residence at his pad while he was away. At that soiree John featuring a chick (sporting a veil) with the same ring and scar Helen had! John then attempts a mad quest to find the woman…

Since Double Face contains elements of murder and mystery, and was directed by Italian Riccardo Freda, you may expect this flick would play out like a giallo, but the influences of German screenwriter Paul Hengge and funding from German Rialto Film company makes it more of a Krimi (German crime film)/Noir style affair…though admittedly the murder element isn’t much of a mystery. Replacing that element in the forefront of the narrative is the thread of John searching for the mystery woman and just who she may be. This makes for a well-constructed and fascinating narrative that is only accented by another top-notch Kinski experience.

Also of note is the inclusion of a special effect involving a train and an automobile so brazen in it’s shittiness you will be amazed anyone saw it and decided to use it in a feature film. Bravo Double Face, brav-fuckin’-o (though the scene of ol’ Klaus and his lover careening down a snow covered slope utilizing blue screen is a real howler too).

As a bonus the film also features eye-popping lurid color and some choice femme flesh on display…which brings it closer to the Italian genre cinema side of the equation.

Speaking of “bonus”; this Blu-ray release from Arrow Video has some great special features present including: the English and Italian language versions of the film, an expert analysis of the film courtesy of an audio commentary from film critic Tim Lucas, an appreciation of the work of the film’s composer Nora Orlandi by soundtrack aficionado Lovely Jon followed by an interview with Orlandi, a video essay exploring the gialli work of Freda by author and critic Amy Simmons, image galleries, and two theatrical trailers for the film.

All in all; Double Face is a stylish mystery picture that will easily appeal to both Krimi and giallo fans alike, not to mention fans of Kinski’s oeuvre…maniacs that those lot are!




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