The Weapon, the Hour, the Motive (1972)

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Directed by: Francesco Mazzei
Actors: Renzo Montagnani, Bedy Moratti, Eva Czemerys
Language: Italian | English Subtitles
Country: Italy

Also known as: L’arma, l’ora, il movente, Die Waffe, die Stunde, das Motiv, La proie des vierges, The Weapon, the Hour, & the Motive

Description: The priest, who experienced a weakness for women, is found dead. One of the suspects soon commits suicide, and the police closes the case, accepting her suicide for repentance. But the boy, an orphan who became the casual witness the murder of a priest, claiming the opposite.

“The Weapon, The Hour and The mobile are the 3 most important things you need to know about a murder” say Renzo Montagnani. It’s also the title of this classic giallo.

It’s not a revolution of the genre but a classic expression of what a good suspenser must be. No crazy & wild camerawork but a genuine suspensful screenplay, with sharp dialogues & excellent, coherent and plausibles twists. Where directors such as Umberto Lenzi who rather play upon the incredible twists & turns a giallo is supposed to bring then on flashy camera angles, Francesco Mazzei choose the simple way.

Discreet yet precise camera work, less murders and actors than usual but a gloomy script revolving around a priest having two affairs at the same time with two women. When he decides to stop both, he gets killed in his church.

The cleverness of it all is in the way the script chooses to focus on the relationships between the characters than to elaborate murder after murder. The tensions between all of them are more visible than usual. At the same time, it also shows the private life of the detective investigating the case. Disenchanted but always professionnal, he gives some touch of humour which always hit the mark.

Some scenes ar quite surreal & nightmarish as when the nuns decide to expiate the crimes the priest committed before he died. They just whip their bare back with screaming preys til they faint. Just incredible. the other FX are very effective and the murders scenes look impressive : master Carlo Rambaldi (King Kong, ET) did it again.

The actors are all first rate : Renzo Montagnani proves he really can act, Eva Czemerys is always as magnetic & mysterious than in Giuseppe Bennatti’s poor L’ASSASSINO HA RISERVATO NOVE POLTRONE and Bedy Moratti shows some incredible capacity to be both & strong at the same time in one single scene. Amazing actress.

L’arma, l’ora, il movente is a superior giallo in quality. Sleaze addicts & euroschlockers will be disappointed but movie buffs will certainly go for this very entertairning and chilling suspenser til the very end.

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