Dec 22, 2021

A Spiral of Mist (1977)


(Original Title: Spirale di Nebbia, Una) A whodunit which basically feels like a game of Clue, but with gobs of gratuitous nudity.


The Sangermano family discusses the best way to proceed. The wife of a Sangermano has just died in a hunting accident and suspicion is upon the husband.  They'll have to find a way to rig and manipulate the justice system.

The crime scene.

Detective Renato Marinoni (Stefano Satta Flores) speaks with the husband Fabrizio Sangermano (Marc Porel) on the logistics of how his wife died.

His dead wife, Valeria (Carole Chauvet)

Flashback to Valeria when she first met Fabrizio.

Dr. Vittorio Conte (Flavio Bucci) and nurse Lavinia Gallo (Martine Brochard) treat Fabrizio after the murder/accident/suicide.

The doctor is cheating on his wife with Lavinia.

Valeria has a harsh conversation with Fabrizio's brother...

She tells Pietro Sangermano (Corrado Gaipa) that Fabrizio is more of a poet, and doesn't want to be a part of the family business.  Pietro thinks Valeria is just a golddigger from the lower class.

Maria Teresa (Claude Jade) is a meek member of the Sangermano family married to Marcello Testa (Duilio Del Prete) a lawyer who can help sway justice in favor of Fabrizio.  However, Maria Teresa genuinely doesn't believe Fabrizio is guilty.
Armida (Anna Bonaiuto) the maid

Marcello tells Maria Teresa that he's seeing a neurologist.  He's been impotent for years, and now he may have a more serious condition.

Maria Teresa spends her life unloved and largely ignored.

A surprising nude scene from acclaimed actress Anna Bonaiuto

Valeria gets out of the bath for some gratuitous nudity.

Valeria is disgusted how Maria Teresa allows herself to be treated.

After the conversation Maria Teresa gets enough courage to tell Marcello she wants to leave. But in the end she can't go through with it.

Valeria takes matters into her own hands and sets Maria Teresa up with a man.

But Maria Teresa can't go through with it with Cesare Molteni (Roberto Posse).

We find that Valeria is a bit unhinged.  She doesn't want to have sex with Fabrizio and screams that she wants to die.

Lavinia tells the police her side of the story.

She reveals that Dr. Conte is a bit of a scumbag who may have not been completely fair in his statements to the police about Fabrizio.

Lavinia and the doctor have sex.

A great nude scene from Martine Brochard.

Lavinia gives a shot to the the housekeeper (Victoria Zinny) and learns some interesting information about Fabrizio and Valeria's relationship.

The housekeeper reveals that Fabrizio would beat Valeria... of course, she doesn't see what's really going on, that Valeria seems to be going mad.

The night she heard the fighting, she was secretly having sex with another of the household servants.

Full frontal from Victoria Zinny

Renato discusses the perplexing case with a journalist, Lidia (Eleonora Giorgi).

Predictably, they're soon in bed.

A flashback to that fateful hunting outing. Fabrizio is seen carrying Valeria's body by a fisherman.

Marcello reveals to Maria Teresa that he's impregnated the maid Armida, but she doesn't truly think he's capable. She's able to divorce him nonetheless.

We learn that Valeria and Fabrizio had sex on the hunting trip.

Valeria sees a frog jump on Fabrizio and freaks the fuck out.  Indicating she's really and truly unhinged.

And she's found dead.

Fabrizio puts her in the back of the jeep. 

Fabrizio is interviewed by the police.

In the end, Maria Teresa finally makes a stand.  We learn that the Sangermano isn't going to be able to stop the case from going to trial.  But it's left open ended as to how Valeria died.

Genuinely good acting; the film feels like it could be a Masterpiece Theater episode, but with nudity (which feels very out of place).  The constant flitting back and forth between timelines can get a little confusing - and there a lot of characters to keep track of.  I'm not sure I like that Valeria's death remains a mystery.  It feels like she either killed herself or Fabrizio did it out mercy or per request. But your guess is as good as mine.


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