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Archive for September 23rd, 2010

Whip and the Flesh

by on Sep.23, 2010, under Daily Review

Chris Lee plays Kurt, and evil bugger who likes to dominate women. After returning home to the family mansion, he soon catches they eye of his brother’s  wife, Nevenka (Daliah Lavi). Soon, he’s cracking the whip against her bare back, waves crashing behind his deed and she seems to love it. Kurt has upset someone though, as the next morning he’s fund with this throat cut, but that’s not the last we’ve seen of Kurt as he returns as a ghostly whip cracking figure.

The film is beautiful, gothic, dark and devious with such a taboo channeling through the whole film, one of lust and desire, impossible love and longing from beyond the grave. Bava has a real risqué plot on his hand with this one which otherwise would fall right into the Edgar Allen Poe Corman movies. How does one take a story of a woman that craves the crack of the whip across her skin, love the feeling enough to leave her husband for his brother, even crave this when he’s dead and gone to the point of bringing him back for a little more. This is Lavi’s movie. She makes this work and it’s her performance which is solid and believable, dream like, desperate and full of lust and desire.

Bava takes all this and shoots it with the expert eye, perfect lighting  with coloured gels and glorious long shadows. The performance he coaxes out of Lavi is exceptionally good, whilst Lee is always a solid lead actor. The film is quite slow though and even though this can be addressed as setting the scene and building up the tension, it feels slow as the plot is a simple one which really doesn’t carry the full film. If it wasn’t for the glorious look and feel with Lavi in this outstandingly good role, the film would be a curio, but nothing else. Bava makes this a special film. Watch on a very large screen, dim the lights, sip some red win and indulge yourself in Bava goodness.

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