A Black Veil For Lisa

| November 6, 2015

Inspector Franz Bulon (John Mills) met his wife Lisa (Luciana Paluzzi) while she was being investigated for the murder of her former husband.  Convinced of her innocence, and intoxicated by her beauty, Bulon fell in love with her and after she was dismissed of any suspicion, he married her.  However, Lisa’s youth and beauty contrasted with Bulon’s age has him convinced that she must be cheating on him, which makes him insane with paranoia and jealousy.  So, he hires a contract killer, Max (Robert Hoffman), to test her fidelity and if she cheats, he wants Max to kill her.

The film is an interesting little noir thriller that’s reminiscent of Double Indemnity without relying on it.  It’s clearly its own thing, and despite its flaws, I enjoyed it.  Paluzzi’s performance could have easily gone in the direction of femme fatale, but that implies some inherent evil in the character, using her feminine wiles to tear apart men for money or her own pleasure.  Lisa’s motivations are much more human and grounded.  Yes, she is unfaithful to her husband, but it’s justified (in my opinion) by his monstrous jealousy and subsequent physical abuse.  It makes plotting her murder easier for Bulon by making her out to be this heartless monster, but everything that befalls him is his own fault, and that’s really interesting to watch.

The film’s biggest flaw is the rushed relationship between Lisa and Max.  Basically, he turns up to try to seduce her and to further the plot as quickly as possible, she just goes for it.  It’s soon after Bulon finally hits her and seals his fate as a cuckold, but it’s still very odd how quickly Lisa goes for literally the next man she sees.  This could have been fixed by introducing Max sooner, and giving him an early scene with Lisa in which he tries to seduce her and she refuses, so that it would make more sense later, but oh well.  The love triangle thriller that unfolds after the affair begins is really compelling and makes this little gen from the 60s something special.

No special features on the Blu-ray, but the transfer looks gorgeous.  I didn’t notice if it was technicolor, but the HD transfer is vibrant and wonderful like an old technicolor film tends to be on Blu-ray.

Available now on Blu-ray from Olive Films.

About the Author:

Joe Sanders Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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