So Sweet… So Perverse Film Details
Overview: Jean, a rich Parisian socialite, comes to the aid of a frightened young woman (Nicole) who is under the domineering control of her abusive boyfriend, Klaus. Although married, Jean develops …
Review: The giallo may have been pioneered by the great Mario Bava and spectacularly refined by Dario Argento, but Umberto Lenzi was developing the techniques and stylings we now know and love from the mid-1960s. Before he became known for schlocky horror trash like Eaten Alive!, Nightmare City and Cannibal Ferox, Lenzi was toying with rich socialites and exploring pulpy, dime-store stories that often involved ridiculous, labyrinthine plots, psychedelic interiors, and beautiful, untrustworthy women. These are all ingredients of the giallo, and some of these early Lenzi efforts hint at a director with an eye for kitschy visuals, something that certainly doesn’t come to mind when you watch a native tribesman scalp a poor traveller in the despicable Cannibal Ferox. These eye-catching visuals are certainly present in his 1969 film So Sweet… So Perverse, but there isn’t much else to hold the attention in this plodding soap opera. Handsome, jet-setting socialite Jean Reynaud (Jean-Louis Trintignant) enjoys a lavish lifestyle of cocktail parties and shooting ranges, but he has grown bored and frustrated with the lack of passion in his marriage to the beautiful Danielle (Erika Blanc). To counter this, Jean sleeps with anybody who happens to catch his eye, including his friend Helene (Helga Line), and his head is turned by the woman who has just moved upstairs, Nicole (Carroll Baker). When he hears screams coming from above, he rushes to Nicole’s aid, learning that she is stuck in an abusive sexual relationship with her husband Klaus (Horst Frank). As they spend more time together, the couple inevitably fall in love, yet whenever they escape for a weekend, Klaus always manages to track them down. After a night of passion, Nicole reveals that she and Klaus have actually been paid a hefty sum to lure in and eventually kill Jean, but that the one doing the hiring has not yet revealed themselves. With such a cool-sounding title (yet another famous trait of the gialli), there is nothing sweet and little perverse about the film itself. Argento eventually set a high standard for story-telling and the slow-building of tension within a vital set-piece, and the likes of Lucio Fulci and Sergio Martino added gory violence and a graceful style into the mix, but So Sweet… So Perverse is frustratingly tame, failing to ignite much interest in the plot or generate any excitement when events take a more sinister tone. Where Lenzi ultimately excels is in the glossy cinematography and dazzling interiors, which are garish enough to amusingly satirise the world of these detached characters and their materialistic lifestyles. Images of sun-drenched locations, expensive suits and beautiful, provocative women add a sleazy glamour and seductive glaze to the film, a hedonistic way-of-life Lenzi is happy to indulge as he shrewdly condemns it. It isn’t quite enough to prevent So Sweet… So Perverse from becoming little more than a curious cinematic artefact, that ultimately paved the way for better directors to come along and take this new genre by the scruff.
Country: Italy, France, West Germany
Duration: 92 min
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Also known as: Così dolce… così perversa,Si douces, si perverses,Möte i skräckens hus,So Sweet… So Perverse,To doloma tis amartias,Así de dulce, así de maravillosa,Tan dulce… tan perversa,Møde i skrækkens hus,Kauhun hetket,Tão Doce Quanto Perversa