Almost a decade prior to L’iguana dalla lingua di fuoco aka The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire was released, Director Ricardo Freda had already proved a hard hitting director with The Horrible Dr. Hichcock starring Barbara Steele and Robert Flemyng.
Where he strode to great lengths in producing a horrifying tale in the 60’s, the idea of Freda turning his head to the popular sensational Italian thrillers of the 70s called Giallo seemed like a logical one, but somewhere between pen and film a huge misfire took place.
Lost was the gloriously stylised visuals that the genre had become synonymous with and in its place was this hard-edged, brutal portrayal of murder.
The tone of the movie was set from the beginning when a woman is killed when acid is thrown into her face by an unknown assailant before having her throat slit by a razor. Her body is then discovered in the boot of a Swiss Ambassador (Anton Diffring – The Man Who Cheated Death), who it turns out was her lover and prime suspect, especially as he is unwilling to help the law in their investigations.
In comes Detective John Norton (Luigi Pistilli), a brutal cop who stops at nothing to get results, but is soon seduced by the Ambassador’s daughter, Helen (Dagmar Lassander).
The film then disintegrates through a messy script twists and turns towards a highly unsatisfying conclusion.
It’s a shame that it didn’t make the grade as on paper, it showed signs of potential, but by the film’s release even Freda had distanced himself from the production, unhappy with the result and replacing his name with a pseudonym.
Perhaps Freda had lost any enthusiasm to the material, especially as he was disappointed in the cast attached. Who knows if this would have been different, had Freda won his first choice to play Detective Norton, a certain Roger Moore. As it stands, L’iguana dalla lingua di fuoco is a poor representation of the giallo movement.
- Saul Muerte