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Puzzle - Puzzle(Blu Ray) [VCI Entertainment/ MVD Visual - 2021]

Puzzle is a 1974 giallo movie directed by Duccio Tessari (The Bloodstained Butterfly, Death Occurred Last Night and A Pistol for Ringo). The film stars Senta Berger (The Ambushers, Kir Royal and most recently the TV series Under Suspicion), Luc Merenda (The Violent professionals, Hostel Part II and Torso), Umberto Orsini (Story of a Cloistered Nun, Alberto De Martino’s The Antichrist and Emanuelle II and III) and Anita Strindberg (The Case of the Scorpions Tale, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key and A Lizard in A Woman’s Skin).

A man (Merenda) wakes up after a car accident with no knowledge of his past or his own identity. His passport says his name is Peter, but after meeting a man called Phillip he is told his name is Ted and he has a wife in Italy called Sara (Berger), before Phillip can supply any more information to him he is shot and killed. Subsequently, Ted receives a plane ticket to Milan and heads to Itay to try and recover his past. Cut to Italy and after accompanying her young neighbour Luca to a swimming contest she returns to home where she is attacked by an unseen assailant who escapes but not before wrecking the house. Once Ted arrives in Milan, he arranges to meet with Sara and the two attempt to unravel the puzzle of who he is and what he’s mixed up in? Ted has been followed from the start by a man called George (Bruno Corazzari) who informs Ted that he was part of a crime group, which included both Phillip and George himself, and that he has stolen $1,000,000 worth of heroin. George aims to collect the heroin within a week or else both he and Ted stand to be killed. A whole host of plot twists ensue leading to an epic finale 

Puzzle is a classic slow-burn giallo whose plot twists and turns, keeping the viewer on the edge of their seat throughout. Whilst it is not the most original of films, Puzzle is a beautifully constructed thriller with a Hitchcockian feel to it in a similar vein to other films of the time such as Dario Argento’s classic The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. What it lacks in originality, it more than makes up for with good direction, a well-crafted script and some excellent performances from a very strong cast. 

Sadly, from a technical perspective, VCIs new print has colour issues, certain colours are badly oversaturated, specifically reds, however, this does not spoil one’s enjoyment of the film and to be honest, it looks better than it ever has during my lifetime. VCIs set includes two discs, featuring the movie on both DVD and Blu-ray, and whilst there aren’t a lot of special features, there is, however an excellent audio commentary track from the ever-knowledgeable Kat Ellinger, a giallo poster gallery and trailers for a couple of classic giallo movies, Bird with the Crystal Plumage and Blood and Black Lace

Until someone with the financial ability to fix the colour issues picks this up, this disc remains a must-own release for one of the most underrated giallo movies. Kat Ellinger’s commentary track adds value to this release as she is always interesting, well informed and a passionate advocate of the giallo movie. Puzzle remains one of my favourite gialli, and alongside The Bloodstained Butterfly is my favourite of Tessari’s movies. I would give this release a five for the movie, it only loses a mark because of the colour issues.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Darren Charles
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