LA MORTE ACCAREZZA A MEZZANOTTE or DEATH WALKS AT MIDNIGHT is an interesting and absorbing mystery motion picture which was produced in Italy in the early 1970,s and released in 1972. It was one of three detective films that were directed by filmmaker Luciano Ercoli during the 1970,s. The gripping and taught story was the work of now famed film director Sergio Corbucci and contained a screenplay which was courtesy of the combined efforts of Ernesto Gastaldi, Guido Leoni and Mahnahen Velasco (under the alias of May Velasco). Valentina is a beautiful fashion model who agrees to take part in a scientific experiment which involves the taking of a new drug. Whilst under the influences of the drug Valentina experiences a vivid vision of a young girl being brutally murdered, the murderer killing her mercilessly with a spiked metal glove or gauntlet. It transpires that Valentina had an hallucination or a nightmare of a murder that has actually taken place and soon she finds herself being stalked by the same killer. The movie features the talents of Susan Scott, Simon Andreu, Peter Martell. Claudie Lange and Luciano Rossi. All of whom contribute much to the movie and also bring a sense of realism to the storyline.
The musical score for the movie is the work of Italian film music Maestro Gianni Ferrio, who’s unique style and sound had already by this time established him as a highly polished and talented music-smith when it came to scoring motion pictures. Ferrio had been particularly active within the Italian western genre but he never conformed to what became know as the SPAGHETTI WESTERN SOUND, his works for the genre were original all on their own, the composer utilising a fusion of jazz oriented sounds and grand Americana styles to create his own particular “sound” for any westerns he scored. LA MORTE ACCAREZZA A MEZZANOTTE is in my opinion one of the Maestro’s best scores, it contains so many strong thematic passages and vibrant motifs which are arranged and orchestrated with such flair and imagination. Primarily an upbeat sounding work the composer makes effective use of percussion, choir, big band sounding brass and an ample amount of mysterious and dark atonal material.
The vocalist MINA makes a massive contribution to the soundtrack adding her fragile but sensual sounding voice to the proceedings, performing the haunting central theme from the score VALENTINA augmented and supported by harpsichord which is set to a bossa nova tempo. Hammond organ too is not in short supply giving us the true sound of the 1970,s with its groovy and rich sounding support.
The musicians who performed on the score read like a who’s who in Italian music from this period and beyond, Alessandroni’s distinctive sounding IL CANTORI MODERNI are present throughout as is Oscar Valdabrini on trumpet and flugelhorn, Carlo Pes on guitar, Dino Asciolla on viola, Antonello Vannucchi on piano and Hammond organ, Franco Chiari and Carlo Zoffoli on vibes, Dino Piana on trombone and Sergio Conti keeping the beats going on drums and percussion. All of which are under the baton of Gianni Ferrio. Originally released on a long playing record on the Ariete label (ARLP 2012) this compact disc includes a couple of bonus tracks that did not appear on the original release. Sound quality is very good as is the presentation by EASY TEMPO records, with colourful and striking art work present throughout. The soundtrack was also released on a double long playing record by Easy Tempo, ET 902 DLP. This is a joy to listen to and is a soundtrack that will become one of your firm favourites.