A young newlywed couple from America returns to Geneva to visit Marcel's home town. Once there he is informed of his former lover's suicide and in turn is subjected to threats that accuse him of being responsible for her death and further, threaten his new fiancée's life. George Hilton plays a peculiar neighbor with voyeuristic tendencies who has an obsession with Deborah.
Convoluted thriller that benefits from a brilliant twisted conclusion
Considering the talent on display, it really has to be said that The Sweet Body of Deborah is something of a disappointment. The script is penned by Sergio Martino's long-time collaborator Ernesto Gastaldi (who put pen to paper on classics of the genre such as The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh and The Case of the Scorpion's Tail), the director is Romolo Guerrieri, who also made the highly rated 'The Double', and it stars a trio of Giallo regulars; Carroll Baker (Lenzi's Kiss Me, Kill Me), George Hilton (The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh) and Jean Sorel (Fulci's One on Top of the Other). There's also a producer's credit for Sergio Martino's brother and workmate, Luciano Martino. The Sweet Body of Deborah is a rather early Giallo as it was released prior to the boom of the subgenre in the early seventies, and so it's something of a front runner; which somewhat explains why the film doesn't stand up to best that the genre has to offer, although many directors; such as Mario Bava and Umberto Lenzi has already made successful films prior to the release of this one.
The plot is one of the film's strongpoint's, as a seemingly chance encounter between the central couple and a man who claims Jean Sorel murdered his girlfriend opens up into a twisted and complex tale of lust and greed. The major problem with the film stems from the handling, as although the twists and turns are well worked; there isn't a lot of suspense in the plot, and the film boils down to snail pace far too often. Furthermore, despite coming from soon to be esteemed Giallo cast members, the ensemble is rather flat and no one gives a particularly strong performance. The director does have an eye for detail, however, as the locations are stunning and Carroll Baker gets to don some of Giallo's most outrageous outfits. The film is typical of Ernesto Gastaldi in that there are a lot of twists and no one is ever quite what they seem. The climax is highly improbable and far too convoluted, but it's carried off well and director Guerrieri does a good job of presenting a number of twists in quick succession to ensure that the movie ends on a high. Overall, this isn't a classic of the genre; and Giallo fans can feel free to skip it, but I love a good twisted film and the ending really made it for me.
"Il Dolce Corpo di Deborah" is a lushly filmed romantic thriller, starring Carroll Baker and Jean Sorel, certainly one of the most beautiful on screen couples of all time. In fact everything about this production is gorgeous, from the actors and the magnificent interiors and fashions, to the absolutely fantastic film score from Nora Orlandi. All this combined elegance makes for an intoxicating viewing experience that takes the audience into an opulent world, where nobody is quite what they seem. Mistakenly labelled as a 'giallo' film, but this is hardly a giallo, so I don't understand the connection. There are no violent, stylish murder set-pieces to mention at all. So those looking for a giallo will most likely be disappointed, and I think that contributes to the films rather low score here. Instead we have a film more in the vein of Luchino Visconti; a study of deception and betrayal, and greed, among the beautiful "jet set," in opulent and exclusive surroundings. This reminded me of Visconti's "Conversation Piece" for instance. Filmed throughout Switzerland, and then the French countryside, this is escapist cinema at it's finest, with an intriguing story that unfolds at a leisure, elegant pace. It possesses the unique Euro-style film making that is most impressive here. "Il Dolce Corpo Di Deborah" is a classic in it's own right.
Atmospheric thriller with (a sensuous) Ms. Baker leading the picture
"The Sweet Body of Deborah" follows the American Deborah (Carroll Baker) who marries Marcel (Jean Sorel) in Europe. The two go to Geneva on their honeymoon, but find their marital bliss disrupted over accusations that Marcel caused his ex-girlfiend's suicide.
The first of many horror and giallo films that Carroll Baker made in the late 1960s–mid-1970s in Italy, "The Sweet Body of Deborah" is one of the more amusing ones—significantly melodramatic, and bolstered with atmospheric set-pieces and cinematography. The first half of the film feels fairly one-note, but it begins to gain steam at the midway point. Lush cinematography of the Geneva Alps contrasted with the sunny atmosphere of Nice leaves the film visually interesting.
The film was clearly dubbed in post-production (in English no less, the language it was shot in in the first place), so there is a disconnect between the filmed performances themselves and the vocal supply that leaves something to be desired. In any case, Baker seems to be enjoying herself here, playing the sensuous new bride who finds herself in grave danger. Jean Sorel is watchable as her hunky leading man.
Overall, "The Sweet Body of Deborah" is a decent giallo mystery with light tinges of horror. It's a treat for fans of Baker, but stands on its own as a solid early entry in the Italian thriller subgenre. Not a masterpiece by any means, but a surprisingly amusing, atmospheric romp.