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Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I

NoShame Films // Unrated // September 27, 2005
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Svet Atanasov | posted September 22, 2005 | E-mail the Author
The Film:
There are three key ingredients that make an excellent giallo production. First, you need a drop-dead-gorgeous starlet that will readily take at least two showers in front of the camera, naked of course, and during the course of the film will not shy away from further revealing her "acting skills". Second, you need a good amount of red paint, preferably not the Ferrari-red type. And third, you need a relatively good mystery story complimented with a few catchy tunes to bring that extra bit of chill. Now imagine that you throw in the mix one of the sexiest European stars to ever grace the exploitation genre canvas-Edwige Fenech, a legendary Italian director-Sergio Martino, and a script based on a short story by celebrated writer Edgar Alan Poe…and there you have it…Il Tuo vizio e una stanza chiusa e solo ion e ho la chiave a.k.a Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I have the Key (1972), a spectacular giallo production that mixes all the right ingredients with just about the right amount of style we pointed out above.

Based on the famous story "The Black Cat" Your Vice…follows a manic killer who terrorizes a local village by meticulously eliminating gorgeous young women. The film also traces the family debacle between Irina (Anita Strindberg) and Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli) as they struggle to keep their relationship in tact. When sexy and beautiful Floriana (Edwige Fenech) movies into their house a world of seduction, abuse, and humiliating torture will take over the seemingly peaceful villa tucked between the beautiful hills of Southern Italy.

Your Vice…is an interesting film that does not quite fit the standard giallo bill as you might have expected simply by glancing at the cast gathered by Sergio Martino. It is more of a crossover mix combining little bits of slasher-horror, gothic-mystery, and of course the mandatory erotica. In fact Your Vice…marks an interesting change in Edwige Fenech's career as a genre diva. Neither Tutti I colori del buio a.k.a All the Colors of the Dark (1972) nor Le Calde notti di Don Giovanni (1971) nor any of her previous efforts show Edwige Fenech as the merciless villain and dangerous seductress she transforms into while playing the role of Floriana in Your Vice… Also, this is the film that marks her first homosexual scene with Swedish star Anita Strindberg and not surprisingly Your Vice...scored big among Fenech aficionados. But wait, there is more...

This is without a doubt one of the most provocative films Edwige Fenech has ever made and her performance as the seductive Floriana is simply astonishing. The elegant manner in which she enters the film from the moment we first see her at the lavish Italian villa quickly suggests that she will be involved in some sort of a seductive role. The provocative mini-skirt she wears, a new and sexy hair cut that certainly suggest class, and the innocent marquee Fenech-look that would melt the heart of any hot-blooded male quickly transform Your Vice…into a unique film.

The biggest asset Sergio Martino's film boasts however is the splendid camera work. It is absolutely amazing to see how mature this film looks considering that many of the gialli that were filmed during the 70s simply had, well let's face it, a rather amateurish look. Your Vice…is a film that certainly defies such description. Sergio Martino delivers a stylish, at times even bizarre camera moves (take for example the one-eyed black cat shots that cut in unexpectedly) that would certainly satisfy even the most demanding fans of the Italian director. In addition the creepy tunes of Bruno Nicolai provide the perfect atmosphere for a film that in my opinion ranks as one of the best that were shot in Italy during the turbulent 70s.

How Does the DVD Look? I can not express in simple words how impressed I am with the latest direction No Shame have decided to follow. Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, part of the newest No Shame batch of titles, is properly flagged for progressive scan and the results are remarkable. The dreadful "ghosting" that marred all the good efforts No Shame put into their initial releases is gone and what we are left with is a beautiful transfer that delivers a top-notch quality to an excellent Italian production. Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and enhanced for widescreen TVs Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I have the Key simply looks amazing-deep colors, an excellent degree of contrast, and almost no edge enhancement that DVD reviewers would frown over. To make a long story short, you are not going to locate another print of this film as beautifully looking as this one. You could take my words to the bank-I keep a close eye on Alan Young and No Shame's R2 output and certainly this DVD presentation is a keeper!! To play the Devil's advocate…I must point out that there was one scene where I noticed some "combing-like" effect but considering the age of the film, the recent switch to progressive scan No Shame are now following, and the overall superb restoration work I have absolutely no reservations in giving this DVD my highest recommendation. Now, let's make sure that this is not a one-time miracle and continue with the excellent work.

How Does the DVD Sound? I am going to make an even bigger compliment to No Shame and their recent work- I was a little worried that they might reverse their current policy of providing the original Italian tracks (and where applicable original English dubs to their releases) but I am glad to report that the inclusion of the original Italian tracks is now a standard for No Shame. This is how all of their catalog titles must be presented and No Shame are certainly holding their end of the deal flawlessly. With this said Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I have the Key is presented with the option of an Italian Dolby Digital Mono and an English Dolby Digital Mono tracks (optional English subtitles are provided). Excellent job once again as the audio quality is steady throughout the entire film and I did not notice any overly distracting audio drop-outs.

Extras: Here's a little more praise for No Shame as they most definitely deserve it!! In one of my latest reviews I mentioned the classy booklets that No Shame provide for their releases filled with interesting info and often remarkable replicas of nostalgia-posters, photos, etc. So here we are being spoiled again with an enormously classy looking booklet including linear notes by, what appears to be regular No Shame contributor Richard Harland Smith, a Sergio Martino short biography notes by Matthew Williams (including a selected filmography), a collage of beautiful photo shots from the film, an interesting short essay about Edwige Fenech and her film career by Giona A. Nazzaro, and last but not least a short fact-sheet again by Giona A. Nazzaro. All in all we have yet another beautiful little gift by No Shame that further compliments a spectacular DVD package. Now, back to the extras on the actual DVD:

First we have a nice Sergio Martino gallery of trailers offering the original Italian theatrical trailer for The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, the original theatrical trailer for The Case of the Scorpion's Tale, the theatrical trailer for The Big Alligator River, and last but not least the trailer for Gambling City.

Next, there is the rather revealing interview with director Sergio Martino, screen writer Ernesto Gastaldi, and Edwige Fenech titled Unveiling the Vice (23min.).

Last but not least we have a beautiful still gallery complimented by audio snippets from the original soundtrack to the film.

Final Thoughts: I would like to make this very clear to anyone out there undecided about this new R1 presentation of Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key…if you consider yourself a serious Edwige Fenech fan, a Sergio Martino devotee, or a passionate giallo-fan you would RUN to your closest favorite store to pick a copy of this film. No Shame have listened to their fans and have completely changed their approach as far as progressive scanning/video presentation is concerned and everyone should respond with a passion. Here we have a company that is trying to establish itself on the R1 market where there are so many lousy, and yes I would say it, cheating players and we the "DVD-film-collectors" community must respond adequately to their efforts. This new presentation of Sergio Martino's Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key is what DVD buffs have been waiting for, heck, I would go on record and say that No Shame is the R1 company I have been waiting for. Some of their producers may not realize it at this point but with the stylish booklets, excellent cover designs that we in North America often see only on European imports (how about we start getting the original poster art as the cover work on a regular basis), and now proper video quality you certainly have gained a reviewer as a strong supporter of your "camp". I certainly hope that you No Shame go as deep as possible in those Italian vaults and bring not only all of Edwige Fenech's films but also Laura Antonelli, Serena Grandi, Ornella Muti, Monica Guerritore, and Adriano Celentano's films among others. The DVD presentation of Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I have the Key certainly shows that if they are to be released in R1 land No Shame is the only company that will do them justice. Until then, for all of you DVD fans enjoy what No Shame has to offer!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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