Eye of the Spider / L'occhio del ragno (1971)

2.5 out of 5

L'occhio del ragno operates from a relatively slim premise that would benefit from being led by a strong actor with the ability to hold the whole thing together with his sheer intensity. Unfortunately, we get Antonio Sabato instead, but the film is nonetheless an enjoyable slice of Eurocrime hokum.

An elaborate ambush frees Paul, Sabato, a convicted bank-robber. Paul's benefactor in this is one Professor Kr├╝ger, played by one-time Hollywood star Van Johnson, who facilitates Paul in tracking down his treacherous fellow heavies for a cut of the enormous bank heist take. The Professor performs plastic surgery on the fugitive to help him avoid being recognised by the law or his targets – a 'special effect' which is achieved by having Sabato spend the first fifteen minutes of the film sporting an hilarious fake nose and Paul Calf wig. One by one Paul tracks down and deals with his three former accomplices, culminating in a showdown with a black mop-topped Klaus Kinski.

So Sweet So Dead director Roberto Bianchi Montero keeps this potboiler moving along very nicely; it's low on car chases and slow-mo gundowns but big on suspense and grit. Klaus Kinski performs his usual trick of managing to be absolutely compelling whilst virtually sleepwalking through his scenes and Lucretia Love makes for an appropriateley sexy love interest.

No classic but worth a look. Export prints contain worse dubbing than your average early seventies Hong Kong Kung Fu movie.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics