Double Face | Riccardo Freda’s 1969 Euro thriller with a pyscho-delic bent
When his wealthy lesbian wife Helen (Margaret Lee) dies in a car crash, businessman John Alexander (Klaus Kinski) finds himself under a police investigation when they discover the car had been tampered with. But when he discovers a recently-shot pornographic movie which appears to feature Helen, her suspects she staged her own death and begins his own investigation. Can he get to the bottom of the mystery before police lock him in handcuffs?
In the post-war years, the proliferation of transnational European co-productions gave rise to a cross-pollination of film genres, with the same films sold in different markets as belonging to different movements. Among these, director Riccardo Freda’s Double Face from 1969 was marketed in West Germany as an Edgar Wallace ‘Krimi’, while in Italy it was sold as a Giallo.
It’s certainly a visually-atmospheric Giallo with a terrific score from Nora Orlandi (who also sings), and Kinski does give an uncharacteristically subtle performance. But it’s a bit too subtle at times. He moves from one gorgeously-lit scene to another just staring – but then so does the audience.
The Arrow Video Blu-ray (originally released June 2019) includes the following special edition contents…
• 2K restoration of the full-length Italian version of the film from the original 35mm camera negative
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Uncompressed mono 1.0 LPCM audio
• Original English and Italian soundtracks, titles and credits
• Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
• Optional English subtitles
• Audio commentary by author and critic Tim Lucas
• Interview with composer Nora Orlandi (This was my favourite extra, – Nora and her scores so deserve renewed appreciation)
• The Many Faces of Nora Orlandi, a new appreciation of the varied career of the film’s composer by musician and soundtrack collector Lovely Jon (this guy really knows his stuff)
• The Terrifying Dr Freda, Video essay on Riccardo Freda’s gialli by author and critic Amy Simmons (very informative and well worth checking out)
• Extensive image gallery from the collection of Christian Ostermeier, including the original German pressbook and lobby cards, and the complete Italian cineromanzo adaptation
• Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
• Reversible sleeve featuring original artwork by Graham Humphreys
• Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Neill Mitchell