Saturday, 22 October 2016

Giallo fever: part 2

Title: La morte cammina con i tacchi alti (Death walks in high heels)
Year: 1971
Composer: Stelvio Cipriani

The problem I tend to have with many Stelvio Cipriani scores is that the melodies aren’t that distinguishable between different films. It doesn’t diminish the quality of the music but causes the scores to have certain anonymity about them. This is unfortunately eminent again with the score to the giallo film La morte cammina con i tacchi alti in which a masked killer murders people in pursuit of stolen diamonds. It’s an easy album to spin occasionally but mostly just to have some background music.

Fantasia tragica introduces the main theme with vocals performed by Cipriani’s frequent collaborator, a fellow film composer Nora Orlandi. The theme is clearly similar to Cipriani’s other giallo melodies but the delivery sells it again as it is such a charming piece of 70s fluff. Night Club Girl presents another theme which is basically a short, simple melody that is repeated endlessly with lowering key changes. Again, not bad but nothing spectacular either. The fluffiness however prevents the listener to remember afterwards how a certain cue actually went if he isn’t paying a lot of attention. That’s why most of the album’s romantic material passes by without provoking powerful emotions. The romantic highlights include Shopping which is a waltz probably composed for a shopping montage and is as cheesy as you might suspect but oh so lovely, and Sensualmente which has an interesting electric guitar base on top of which the vocals bring sensual listening sensations.

However what distinguishes this effort from Cipriani’s other giallo scores is the suspense material which is among the composer’s best in the genre. Inseguita & un ospite inatteso starts the development of highly melodic, threatening music for twinkling musicbox and menacing strings. The other pair of cues Hallory mano di legno and Spiata keeps the suspense up with constant presence of guitars providing dark undertones that are pierced by jazzy flute flourishes that sometimes bring James Bond to mind and icy cold piano notes. Rivelazioni di un assassino is an action track dominated by strong string presence and pounding percussion line that is joined by strumming guitars. Though it is rather simple music, it’s highly effective in creating the feeling of despair and also providing much needed change of pace after all the fluff that preceded it. The short reprise of the title track, this time with a whistling solo, brings the album back to the comfort of the home base.

This score is more a romantic one with occasional moments of suspense rather than vice versa. Those suspenseful 15 minutes provide a fine collection of Cipriani’s more aggressive side. The rest is slightly forgettable, latin flavoured dance music that is a tad too scentless to leave a lasting impression.

Rating: ****

1. Fantasia tragica (Titoli) (02:03) *****
2. Night Club Girl (03:19) ***
3. Attimi di tenerezza (01:10) ****
4. Night Club Girl (versione 2) (04:04) ****
5. Inseguita & un ospite inatteso (03:47) *****
6. Shopping (01:19) *****
7. Felicità (Cena per due) (03:37) ***
8. Dopo cena (Piano) (01:30) ****
9. Hallory mano di legno (01:49) *****
10. Sensualmente (02:05) *****
11. Spiata (04:18) *****
12. Felicità (Bossa) (02:05) ****
13. Il comandante (02:18) ***
14. Al pub (02:49) ***
15. Sola in casa (02:12) ****
16. Fantasia tragica (Organo) (03:13) ***
17. Rivelazioni di un assassino (05:38) *****
18. Fantasia tragica (Finale) (01:09) *****

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