Two professional con artist, seductive and tough brunette Carla and handsome but ruthless Arturo, try to seduce and blackmail each other, unaware of their real identities. Once they realize they're of the same kind, they team up to do a number on an older rich man called Luis and a younger beautiful blonde called Lola. Lola falls for Carla, who decides to play hard to get in order to avoid actually becoming intimate with a woman in any way, which frustrates Lola. A sudden death occurs which changes the playing field a bit, so Carla decides to use this to her advantage.
Edmondo Amati co-produce a film Italian / Spanish, strongly inspired by current-sexy thriller lenziani (style Paranoia and Orgasm) that, in many contexts, the direction-of-inspired little Nives Conde leads. Not everything works as it should, dealing with the usual intrigue character “hereditary”, but a cast of international (Sylva Koscina and Massimo Serato) and the beauty of Marisa Mell (not as clean as ever) title at least make it interesting.Music style’70s by the prolific and talented Carlo Savina.
This is somewhat of a lost gem in the eurotrash world, made in 1971, it remained unreleased in the US until after the 1974's THE STING ( which is mentioned on the US poster art for THE GREAT SWINDLE ). This is not a giallo with violent murder set pieces, but instead a well acted mystery with an ever twisting plot that even saves a revelation for the final seconds. The cast is above average here with the gorgeous Mell and Koscina in a lesbian relationship and providing plenty of nudity. Stephen Boyd and Fernado Rey are solid and while Boyd's character is central, the film is mostly about Mell's tortured Carla and her love life with men and women. This is top notch eurotrash, with sleazy characters, murder and mystery. This is a movie where no one is who they seem and motivations are suspect and then surprisingly reversed. I had no idea what to expect going in and and was pleasantly surprised with THE GREAT SWINDLE. The English language widescreen VHS on review here comes from Greece, and has burnt in Greek subtitles. The print featured is in tatters, with splices and missing frames, heavy scratching and general massive damage. The credits are missing and dialog is obliterated throughout. Still, I enjoyed it and would love to see a better looking copy. With a cast like this surely it could be considered for DVD?
A cool and sexy hidden gem
The Great Swindle is something of a hidden cult item. It's criminally unavailable on DVD and seemingly can only be sourced currently on a scratchy and battered VHS transfer. The condition of the print renders the film a little incomprehensible in parts but it doesn't prevent it from being enjoyable. Its story revolves around several dishonest characters that appear to be playing dangerous games on each other. The film's undoubted trump card is its lead actress, the ridiculously gorgeous Marisa Mell (most famous for her memorable role in Mario Bava's Danger: Diabolik). She is accompanied by Sylvia Koscina (also recognisable from another Bava film Lisa and the Devil). In this film Mell seems to possibly be a very high class escort girl who ends up in the middle of a complicated set of relationships with several people including – oh yes – a lesbian affair with Koscina. Things basically get complex with characters playing off one and other.
This is certainly a very cool and chic thriller. It has beautiful women, shady guys and sun drenched locations. As is extremely typical in Euro flicks from the early 70's almost every character is at least little bit bad. So there is a fair bit of melodrama surrounding this rich and decadent jet set. It's not a film with a great deal of thrills; it's much more sexy and stylish. With Marisa Mell on board the erotica is very much of the high class kind as well. What adds to the overall feel is a very fun soundtrack from Carlo Savina consisting of various styles from lounge, Euro pop, female vocals of the 'la la la' variety and even some tense dramatic sounds towards the end.
This one is crying out for a proper DVD release. Any movie with Marisa Mell in a starring role is well worth seeing as a rule, as she is simply one of the very best cult Euro actresses. Not only that but this movie in general just needs to be available for more folks to appreciate as it's a very nice flick overall.