Puzzle / L'uomo senza memoria (1974)

4.5 out of 5

This near perfect thriller, with the fine attention to the detail of it's sharp Ernesto Gastaldi penned plot, is marred only by an unfortunate dummy death resulting in an ocean impact mannequin-noggin-detachment that had would have been better off left on the cutting room floor as it adds an unnecessary layer of unintentional mirth to what is otherwise nothing less than brilliant.

The story centres around amnesia and the fragmented memory of a possible all round bad-egg who may be Ted or Peter but is definitely played, with a limited range of expressions, by Luc Merenda who may, or may not, have been married to Senta Berger in the past but definitely gets into her big style in between shots of J and B and wondering which of his friends want to do him in. If indeed they actually do want to do that all, which they probably do, since clues such as thumps in the face and guns pointed in his general direction indicate that, in all likelihood, this is indeed the case. Luc retains the expression of a puzzled, or possibly startled, Thunderbird throughout.

In the blink of an eye this psychological thriller turns up the action several notches for a brilliantly brutal and bloody finale featuring, amongst the mayhem, a chair versus chainsaw melee.

Portofino, the primary location for the action, looks great and finds perfect accompaniment with a bright and breezy Gianni Ferrio score.

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