YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY (1972) – The Dungeon Review!
This is my first viewing of Sergio Martino’s ‘Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I have The Key’. The only other title I seen from Martino was ‘Torso’. I definitely need to check out more of Martino’s films! I will watch and review at least one more before the month is over. In the meantime, let me tell you about this little nugget with the ridiculously long name.
Oliviero Rouvigny is an author suffering from serious writers block. He is an abusive alcoholic in a loveless marriage to wife Irina and regularly seeks affection from other women. He arranges a rendezvous with a young woman working in a local bookstore. He learns from a police detective the next morning that the woman had been slashed to death. Suspicions run rampant and bodies begin to pile up. Oliviero’s life becomes even more complicated when a niece invites her self to stay with the unhappy couple.
‘Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key’ is a twist on Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Black Cat’. The films strongest element is its incredible character development and performances by its three leads. ‘Your Vice’ is highly psychological and wallows in human cruelty. There is also a significant body count and a bit of the red stuff. The films weaker moments occur when it wanders off into territory that isn’t really relevant to the central plot. For instance, there is a lengthy motorcycle race scene that was really unnecessary. There is also a red herrings thrown in pertaining to the first two murders that I didn’t think worked all that well. It throws you off track, but it briefly messes with the films vibe. In the end however, these flaws felt pretty minor.
In the opening scene, Oliviero Rouvigny is hosting a party. He is going on yet another drunken rant about his dead mother. His wife Irina doesn’t feel like drinking, and in response Oliviero has the guests pour the remainder of their libations into a bowl, which he then forces her to drink. After Irina runs from the room he continues by making an unsavoury comment about their black maid. One of the guests starts singing and soon the room is singing along while a loan female dances naked on the dining table. The musical interlude scared the shit out of me; I thought I was about to watch the giallo version of ‘Hair’! Worry not; this is the films one and only musical interlude! The scene closes with Oliviero having sex with Irina on the floor while she wears his dead moms dress. So in the first brief scene we establish Oliviero has mom issues, he’s a bad host and an abusive drunk. But this is a Giallo, and all may not quite be as it appears. The relationship between Oliviero and Irina is impressively venomous and bitter. Their dialog and interactions are one of the films best features and they are a fascination to watch every minute they are on screen.
Anita Strindberg plays Irina nervous and twitchy and utterly distraught, while Luigi Pistilli plays the alcoholic and abusive husband somewhat reserved. The two play off each very well and carry the film beautifully. But as awesome as these two stand out performances are it is niece Floriana played by Edwige Fenech who steals the show. She invites herself to stay with the couple and seduces both Irina and Oliviero and plays them against each other. This sassy little minx owns the Floriana character and pulls off one of the most memorable performances I have ever seen in a giallo.
I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I have The Key’. It is a well-paced, moody, psychological head trip with a great score from Bruno Nicolai. The dialog is smart, biting and occasionally humorous and the outstanding character development really elevates this one! Viva Giallo! Highly recommended!
Dungeon Rating: 5/5
Directed By: Sergio Martino
Starring: Edwige Fenech, Anita Strindberg, Luigi Pistilli, Ivan Rassimov, Franco Nebbia, Riccardo Salvino, Angela La Vorgna, Enrica Bonaccorti, Daniela Giordano, Ermelinda De Felice, Marco Mariani, Nerina Montagnani