|release date||December 22 1975|
|writer||Gianfranco Baldanello, William Rose|
|starring||Daniela Giordano, Raf Vallone, John Scanlon|
|tagline||A Prison In Hell|
Dick Randall has a proclivity for producing goofy copies of concepts that work like gang-busters elsewhere, with the biggest difference being those probably had a pre-production period longer then a day. His output isn’t abysmal by any means; each film just happens to wear the haphazardness of its production on its sleeve. Pieces, which is by far one of the most enjoyable incomprehensible movies ever, is completely off-the-wall because very little of it makes any sense; there’s an incredible amount of continuity errors and general inaccuracies, and the level of randomness in every scene (glass movers from the Back to the Future NES game, anyone?) is unparalleled. Coming off of the slasher boom, Randall, along with the other writers, misinterpreted the need for suspense and mystery as cramming the film full of things that didn’t matter in order to hide the identity of the killer and lack of plot – everyone speaking a different language on set probably didn’t help things, either. Not many people would rank slashers high on their list of intelligent, challenging things, and boy, did they go out of their way to make sure Pieces wouldn’t rock the boat.
The Girl In Room 2A, an attempt to cash in on the burgeoning giallo market, functions in a similar fashion, except it’s nowhere near as entertaining. It’s too straight-forward and cuts out the mystery entirely, which is kind of bizarre considering the genre operates on crime and mystery!
Miss Italy 1966 Daniela Giordano stars as Margaret Bradley, a recently released – like really recently, one of the first scenes is her leaving the prison – inmate who moves into a boarding house and becomes unsettled by the strange blood stain on the floor and creepy, off-kilter residents. Turns out her feelings are on the money: there’s a weird Marquis de Sade inspired cult stealing girls out of the house and torturing them for their indiscretions. There’s really never a question of who’s in the cult or why they’re doing what they’re doing, so the film uneventfully plods along to the finale, which is moderately amusing thanks to some wacky chase music and really awful acting.
The expected cheesiness and numerous coincidences are there, like when Margaret misses her bus and wanders into a seedy bar to see someone playing pool with two cue balls and make a five second phone call, and then walks back outside no less than three minutes later to catch the next bus. BEST PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION EVER.
No one in The Girl In Room 2A has the acting chops required to make anyone in the audience care about their characters, especially Giordano, who blankly stares out into the audience for more than a quarter of her scenes – most likely for dialogue coaching. Mario Mancini’s cinematography isn’t much better, leaving the film with very little atmosphere and some really unconvincing torture while director William Rose lazily stands by and does nothing. It’s a shame he wasn’t asleep at the wheel, because the bad choices in the film aren’t reckless enough; they’re just boring.
Interview with Daniela Giordano (11:20) – Giordano talks about her entire film career and how she did anything tossed her way and why she left the business. She only talks about Girl in Room 2A briefly – she doesn’t like the movie – so don’t expect a lot of insight into what sort of insanity went on during the shoot.