The Young, the Evil and the Savage


1h 22m 1968

Film Details

Also Known As
Nude ... si muore
Release Date
Jan 1968
Premiere Information
New York opening: 14 Aug 1968
Production Company
B. G. A.; Super International Pictures
Distribution Company
American International Pictures
Country
Italy

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 22m

Synopsis

A trunk containing the unclothed dead body of a young woman arrives at the fashionable St. Hilda's College for Girls on top of a van carrying a newly-appointed teacher, Miss Clay, and the school's riding instructor, Richard. A mixup in the baggage prompts one of the students to check the contents of her trunk in the college basement, and she is strangled by an unseen assailant. Lucille, an orphan enrolled at the school, slips out of her room for a rendezvous with Richard and finds the body of her fellow student, but the corpse disappears before Richard arrives. A second girl is mistaken for Lucille and strangled in a shower, whereupon Police Inspector Duran and his aide Gabon enter the case. The voyeuristic gardener is suspected of the crimes, but before he can be questioned he is found murdered. Lucille is detained from keeping a nighttime rendezvous with Richard at the college pool and sends her roommate, Denise, to explain. A figure in a black wet suit attempts to drown the girl, but she is saved by Jill, a student who fancies herself a detective. Inspector Duran's suspicions fall on Richard. Meanwhile, Lucille, realizing that she was the intended victim of the poolside attack, searches for Richard and finds him seriously wounded. Suddenly, she is confronted by the real killer, who reveals himself to be her distant cousin. In order to gain Lucille's inheritance, which becomes due on her 18th birthday, he had strangled Miss Clay and had assumed her identity to kill Lucille. Before he can accomplish the murder, a walkie-talkie hidden in a davenport by Jill reveals his whereabouts, and the police arrive in time to save Lucille.

Film Details

Also Known As
Nude ... si muore
Release Date
Jan 1968
Premiere Information
New York opening: 14 Aug 1968
Production Company
B. G. A.; Super International Pictures
Distribution Company
American International Pictures
Country
Italy

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 22m

Articles

Naked You Die - Antonio Margheriti's 1968 Giallo NUDE..SI MUORE on DVD For the First Time


Sure, a film with a title like 1968's Naked You Die doesn't appear to be a candidate for detailed critical scrutiny, no structuralist probing, no New Critical close reading of its ambiguities, no neo-Marxist dissection of class implications. Of course that's a smug thing to say because you don't have to just watch it and toss it aside. Just ponder that Naked You Die will appear to be a different film depending on your background knowledge. An average viewer who finds the DVD may be entertained by a mostly solid story with stylish execution though a bit disappointed (or not depending on preference) that there's not more nakedness or dying in it. A smaller number of viewers, including all of you who read this review, will recognize the film as an early example of giallo, a peculiar Italian cross of horror film and murder mystery that erupted in full fury for a few years though it's lingered for decades. These viewers can place the film's connections to an earlier Mario Bava film or trace its later influence on cruder slasher films. Popcorn-chomping thrills or link in film history?

Just for example, the idea of strange goings on at a isolated girls school will remind many of Dario Argento's Suspiria. But that would be nine years in the future. Naked You Die follows teachers returning to school after a break where they discover the students in various stages of arguments, pursuit of the studly riding instructor, sunbathing or even working on a novel. The staff includes a grim principal, an eccentric professor who cares for birds and insects, a handyman who likes to climb trees outside the showers and predictably for a film of this type a woman teacher who takes a very keen interest in the young ladies. Not long after, one of the students goes missing-well, we see her being killed but nobody else knows that-and one student is convinced that she's the target. Is she? If so who's after her? If not then who's after who?

For a film called Naked You Die there's surprisingly little nudity and the violence isn't particularly explicit; you can see far worse many nights on regular TV. And let's be fair, the story relies a bit too much on an astonishingly inept murderer as well as on the characters' denseness: the student who thinks she's being stalked doesn't hesitate to run down a long, secluded country road at one point. Still, Charles Foster Kane didn't always act very reasonably either. In Naked You Die not only is the mystery aspect well played-you're not likely to guess the killer's identity and the film does play fair with the solution-but there's legitimate suspense to much of this, especially if you're open to those of the "prowling around the old dark house" variety. The proceedings are done with an unexpected dash of visual style courtesy journeyman director Antonio Margheriti (Castle of Terror, Cannibal Apocalypse) and cinematographer Fausto Zuccoli. Many shots show some thought to the composition beyond just sticking the characters into the frame and an adroit use of camera movement keeps this far away from tedious point-and-shoot filming. One scene, for example, is a conversation in the principal's office that could easily have been a numbing, unload-the-exposition moment but it's done in long takes with the camera creeping through the room to realign characters as they discuss what on earth to do about the murders. No razzle-dazzle for sure but an confident craftsmanship that would be welcome anywhere.

So what's all this about giallo? "Giallo" is Italian for yellow and the genre took its name from the yellow covers of novels that inspired them, much as film noir was named after the novels in Serie Noire. The first giallo is usually considered to be Mario Bava's 1963 The Girl Who Knew Too Much and then his follow-up Blood and Black Lace. (Bava had originally worked with the late Tudor Gates on a screenplay called Cry Nightmare that eventually became Naked You Die though minus any credit to Bava or Gates. According to Bava biographer Tim Lucas, that first screenplay was similar to the final film, even including the joke at the end.) Giallo slowly built steam until exploding in the very early 70s with films such as What Have You Done to Solange?, Four Flies on Grey Velvet, The Case of the Bloody Iris and the rather disturbingly titled Don't Torture a Duckling.

Many elements of giallo can be seen in the plot synopsis for Naked You Die. There's generally a fairly standard murder mystery, compounded by an increasing body count. Usually knives are the weapon of choice and wielded by an attacker in a black hat and raincoat but of course variations were innumerable, particularly when filmmakers would strive for ever more outlandish effects and might unleash an array of edged objects that would put a medieval armory to shame. Often the film takes place in some secluded location, frequently involving tourists or other outsiders. While you might think this was to keep police from jumping in with their newfangled crime-fighting equipment in fact they frequently appear in giallo films, enough that the entire genre at times leaned over into police procedurals. There's an emphasis on psychological aberrations that's generally more prurient than clinical or at the least just another opportunity for Grand Guignol excess. Hey, if a director can't get audiences screaming with some hatchet-wielding psycho prowling rain-dampened city alleys then he's in the wrong business. A stylistic element that moved almost intact into slasher films is the first-person camera view of the murders, which originally served a more basic story-telling function of allowing the murder to be shown without requiring elaborate staging to hide the killer's identity. And that concludes Giallo 101.

The DVD is fully letterboxed and shows a nice transfer of the film. There's a bit of speckling and the image has a bit of softness inevitable in an anamorphic widescreen image but for a film of this kind that's nearly 40 years old this is more than acceptable. The print is Italian with original-language dialogue and optional English subtitles in case you prefer practicing your language skills on this rather than a Visconti film. Curious that all the credits are in Italian and give "Margheriti" as a co-writer but his directorial listing is under his Anglicized pseudonym Anthony M. Dawson. The only extras are a trailer and a gallery of stills and posters, including some that show the film's alternate American title The Young, the Evil and the Savage which is oddly misleading in a way that Naked You Die wasn't entirely since there are characters who become naked and who die.

For more information about Naked You Die, visit Dark Sky Films. To order Naked You Die, go to TCM Shopping.

by Lang Thompson
Naked You Die - Antonio Margheriti's 1968 Giallo Nude..si Muore On Dvd For The First Time

Naked You Die - Antonio Margheriti's 1968 Giallo NUDE..SI MUORE on DVD For the First Time

Sure, a film with a title like 1968's Naked You Die doesn't appear to be a candidate for detailed critical scrutiny, no structuralist probing, no New Critical close reading of its ambiguities, no neo-Marxist dissection of class implications. Of course that's a smug thing to say because you don't have to just watch it and toss it aside. Just ponder that Naked You Die will appear to be a different film depending on your background knowledge. An average viewer who finds the DVD may be entertained by a mostly solid story with stylish execution though a bit disappointed (or not depending on preference) that there's not more nakedness or dying in it. A smaller number of viewers, including all of you who read this review, will recognize the film as an early example of giallo, a peculiar Italian cross of horror film and murder mystery that erupted in full fury for a few years though it's lingered for decades. These viewers can place the film's connections to an earlier Mario Bava film or trace its later influence on cruder slasher films. Popcorn-chomping thrills or link in film history? Just for example, the idea of strange goings on at a isolated girls school will remind many of Dario Argento's Suspiria. But that would be nine years in the future. Naked You Die follows teachers returning to school after a break where they discover the students in various stages of arguments, pursuit of the studly riding instructor, sunbathing or even working on a novel. The staff includes a grim principal, an eccentric professor who cares for birds and insects, a handyman who likes to climb trees outside the showers and predictably for a film of this type a woman teacher who takes a very keen interest in the young ladies. Not long after, one of the students goes missing-well, we see her being killed but nobody else knows that-and one student is convinced that she's the target. Is she? If so who's after her? If not then who's after who? For a film called Naked You Die there's surprisingly little nudity and the violence isn't particularly explicit; you can see far worse many nights on regular TV. And let's be fair, the story relies a bit too much on an astonishingly inept murderer as well as on the characters' denseness: the student who thinks she's being stalked doesn't hesitate to run down a long, secluded country road at one point. Still, Charles Foster Kane didn't always act very reasonably either. In Naked You Die not only is the mystery aspect well played-you're not likely to guess the killer's identity and the film does play fair with the solution-but there's legitimate suspense to much of this, especially if you're open to those of the "prowling around the old dark house" variety. The proceedings are done with an unexpected dash of visual style courtesy journeyman director Antonio Margheriti (Castle of Terror, Cannibal Apocalypse) and cinematographer Fausto Zuccoli. Many shots show some thought to the composition beyond just sticking the characters into the frame and an adroit use of camera movement keeps this far away from tedious point-and-shoot filming. One scene, for example, is a conversation in the principal's office that could easily have been a numbing, unload-the-exposition moment but it's done in long takes with the camera creeping through the room to realign characters as they discuss what on earth to do about the murders. No razzle-dazzle for sure but an confident craftsmanship that would be welcome anywhere. So what's all this about giallo? "Giallo" is Italian for yellow and the genre took its name from the yellow covers of novels that inspired them, much as film noir was named after the novels in Serie Noire. The first giallo is usually considered to be Mario Bava's 1963 The Girl Who Knew Too Much and then his follow-up Blood and Black Lace. (Bava had originally worked with the late Tudor Gates on a screenplay called Cry Nightmare that eventually became Naked You Die though minus any credit to Bava or Gates. According to Bava biographer Tim Lucas, that first screenplay was similar to the final film, even including the joke at the end.) Giallo slowly built steam until exploding in the very early 70s with films such as What Have You Done to Solange?, Four Flies on Grey Velvet, The Case of the Bloody Iris and the rather disturbingly titled Don't Torture a Duckling. Many elements of giallo can be seen in the plot synopsis for Naked You Die. There's generally a fairly standard murder mystery, compounded by an increasing body count. Usually knives are the weapon of choice and wielded by an attacker in a black hat and raincoat but of course variations were innumerable, particularly when filmmakers would strive for ever more outlandish effects and might unleash an array of edged objects that would put a medieval armory to shame. Often the film takes place in some secluded location, frequently involving tourists or other outsiders. While you might think this was to keep police from jumping in with their newfangled crime-fighting equipment in fact they frequently appear in giallo films, enough that the entire genre at times leaned over into police procedurals. There's an emphasis on psychological aberrations that's generally more prurient than clinical or at the least just another opportunity for Grand Guignol excess. Hey, if a director can't get audiences screaming with some hatchet-wielding psycho prowling rain-dampened city alleys then he's in the wrong business. A stylistic element that moved almost intact into slasher films is the first-person camera view of the murders, which originally served a more basic story-telling function of allowing the murder to be shown without requiring elaborate staging to hide the killer's identity. And that concludes Giallo 101. The DVD is fully letterboxed and shows a nice transfer of the film. There's a bit of speckling and the image has a bit of softness inevitable in an anamorphic widescreen image but for a film of this kind that's nearly 40 years old this is more than acceptable. The print is Italian with original-language dialogue and optional English subtitles in case you prefer practicing your language skills on this rather than a Visconti film. Curious that all the credits are in Italian and give "Margheriti" as a co-writer but his directorial listing is under his Anglicized pseudonym Anthony M. Dawson. The only extras are a trailer and a gallery of stills and posters, including some that show the film's alternate American title The Young, the Evil and the Savage which is oddly misleading in a way that Naked You Die wasn't entirely since there are characters who become naked and who die. For more information about Naked You Die, visit Dark Sky Films. To order Naked You Die, go to TCM Shopping. by Lang Thompson

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Rome opening: 1968 as Nude ... si muore. Sources conflict in crediting the actor who portrays DeBrazzi. The following are pseudonyms: Anthony Dawson (Antonio Margheriti), John Simonelli (Giovanni Simonelli), Frank Zuccoli (Fausto Zuccoli), Alan Collins (Luciano Pigozzi), Frank Bottar (Franco Bottari).