‘All The Colors of Giallo’ or — An Introduction To Murder?
Federico Caddeo’s ‘All the Colors of Giallo’ (2019) is a very enjoyable documentary covering the Giallo genre in a decent amount of depth even if it is a little light on innate style itself.
Pulling in a lot of the big names of the Italian thriller genre — Lamberto Bava, Umberto Lenzi, Dario Argento, Barbara Bouchet, Ernesto Gastaldi, George Hilton, Sergio Martino etc — ‘All The Colors of Giallo’ covers the formation, heyday and legacy of giallo from its emergence out of the inspiration from the German Krimi genre combined with the work of Hitchcock and, more importantly, Clouzot this is an informative and insightful treasure trove for any amateur investigator to snoop about in.
For the uninitiated this is a good introduction and overview of one of cinema’s most exciting styles; for the initiated this might not contain many surprises or new insights but it’s great hearing the history of one of Italy’s cinematic crown jewels directly from the people involved. In that respect it’s Ernesto Gastaldi who provides the most pleasure, his enthusiasm blatantly on display as well providing the clearest declaration of a Giallo mission statement — Dario Argento might have ramped-up the pyrotechnics and murders at the expense of coherence but Gastaldi is the staunch advocate for the narrative logic and robustness of a plot if it is to be legitimately considered a Giallo (essentially, you can never, under any circumstances, trick your audience. Not every director or writer stuck to this decree).
It was also a thrill to see some of the other directors who might tend to get passed over included here and it made me especially happy to see the underrated Duccio Tessari and Giuliano Carnimeo getting the praise they deserve. I also never realised that English thriller writer Edgar Wallace, who’s mystery novels had become popular in Germany helping drive the Krimi boom, was also the same guy who wrote ‘King Kong’ (1933). It put a smile on my face knowing there’s a, highly tangential, link between Kong and Giallo.
‘All The Colors of Giallo’ is a delightful documentary that fans will love diving into whilst newcomers will find this a good crash-course, although it obviously works better with knowledge and context to the movies themselves. The film does feel a little like a glorified blu ray extra being, much like ‘Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD’ (2014), pretty much a series of talking heads but considering I eat up blu ray extras I had no problem with this and stops the film itself getting in the way too much of its subject matter, letting the genre and those involved speak for themselves and retain the attention.
Fans will get a kick out of this and if you’re new to Giallo then put on a pair of your finest black-leather gloves and give this one a stab.