Fifth Cord, The / Giornata nera per l'ariete (1971)

3.5 out of 5

Director Luigi Bazzoni delivers a very stylish, but sometimes convoluted giallo which stars Franco Nero as an alcoholic reporter investigating a string of murders that continually point to his involvement in them.

The plot isn't the greatest and a somewhat uninspired first half threatens to derail proceedings. Fortunately Vittorio Storaro's superb cinematography adds a much needed sense of claustrophobia and tension with wide angle lenses and oblique shapes and patterns photographed to a skill that rarely that is rarely seen outside of Argento's best work.

Bazzonni lays on the atmosphere with a Fulcilike trowel in the third act and tension is multiplied tenfold during the the last few nail biting minutes. Ennio Morricone delivers another fantastic score and Rossella Falk, Edward Purdom and Silvia Monti round out an exceptional cast.

The Fifth Cord isn't the best giallo around, but it benefits enormously from it's skilled direction, cinematography, acting and musical score that raise it into a higher league altogether.

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