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Francesco Mazzei
Renzo Montagnani, Bedy Moratti, Eva Czemerys
Writing Credits:
Mario Bianchi

A sexually-promiscuous priest is stabbed to death inside a church.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Italian LPCM Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 104 min.
Price: $99.95
Release Date: 7/26/2022
Available Only As Part of 3-Movie “Giallo Essentials (Black Edition)” Set

• Audio Commentary with Film Historian Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
• “A Man in Giallo” Featurette
• English Front and End Titles
• Image Gallery


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The Weapon, The Hour, The Motive [Blu-Ray] (1972)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 20, 2022)

My exploration of 1970s Italian Giallo films continues with 1972’s The Weapon, The Hour, The Motive. This one focuses on Don Giorgio (Maurizio Bonuglia), a handsome priest who teaches in a convent.

Despite his religious vows, Don Giorgio proves sexually active. He romances local women Orchidea Durantini (Bedy Moratti) and Giulia Pisani (Eva Czemerys).

Tormented with guilt, Don Giorgio attempts to end the affairs. This leaves Orchidea and Giulia displeased, and the priest winds up murdered.

With a few potential suspects, Inspector Franco Boito (Renzo Montagnani) finds a muddled web of intrigue. Eventually he must involve young – and potentially – unreliable witness Ferruccio (Arturo Trino) to help solve the case.

Immediately before I screened Weapon, I viewed Smile Before Death. Another Giallo from 1972, it toyed with the audience in terms of character expectations.

With Weapon, we also find a film that understands what viewers will anticipate and it plays with these notions. In particular, the movie sets up a mix of those with a grudge against Don Giorgio who could end up as the killer.

The story reveals these possible murderers in ham-fisted ways, but the clumsiness seems like much of the point. Because Weapon understands itself – and its audience – it revels in its genre conventions.

As such, Weapon feels friskier than a lot of its siblings, and a mix of vivid performances add to the package. In particular, Montagnani embodies the smart and somewhat weary detective well.

In demeanor and look, Inspector Boito gives off a bit of a Colombo vibe, albeit with a more sophisticated Italian feel. Montagnani creates a strong center for the film and keeps us involved throughout the investigation.

This becomes more important because Weapon can drag at times, especially during its middle act. After a good opening, the movie tends to feel a bit sluggish in the second section.

However, matters rebound when the body count starts to rise and more plot complications ensue. I still wouldn’t call this the tightest of murder mysteries, but it manages to keep us with it.

Given how tacky so many efforts in this genre can become, I’ll take it. Weapon delivers a reasonably compelling thriller that may not dazzle but it usually brings a good tale.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C+/ Bonus C+

The Weapon, The Hour, The Motive appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film brought a good if not great presentation.

As often becomes the case with older movies, print flaws turned into the primary distraction, as I found examples of blotches and marks. However, these remained fairly minor and didn’t cause too many distractions.

Sharpness usually worked fine. Some softness materialized along the way, but the movie generally seemed pretty accurate.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Grain felt natural as well.

Weapon opted for a palette on the subdued side of natural. The colors came across as well-rendered within those choices.

Blacks felt deep and tight, while shadows were generally positive. A few low-light scenes seemed a bit murky, but those became the exceptions to the rule. Overall, I thought this ended up as a mostly appealing presentation.

As for the film’s LPCM monaural soundtrack, it seemed decent and nothing better. Like pretty much all Italian movies of the era, it featured looped dialogue, and that meant the lines could sound less than natural and integrated.

Nonetheless, speech appeared reasonably concise, as the material showed only minor edginess. Effects followed suit and seemed thin but not problematic.

Music fared best, as the score showed adequate range and verve. Nothing here impressed but the mix worked better than many of the movie’s genre/era mates.

When we go to extras, we launch with an audio commentary from film historian Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. She offers a running, screen-specific discussion of genre domains, historical/cultural context, interpretation and cast/crew.

Most of Heller-Nicholas’s chat sticks with those historical/context topics I mentioned, as well as reflection on the Giallo genre. In other words: don’t expect to learn much about the actual creation of Weapon.

In theory, I like this focus, but it feels like Heller-Nicholas spends too much time on material that feels tangential to Weapon. While of course it exists as a product of its time/culture, I think it mainly offers a sex thriller, and it feels like her chat over-intellectualizes the film.

We do learn some insights along the way, but the track doesn’t become particularly interesting much of the time. Toss in more than a little dead air and this turns into a less than enthralling commentary.

A Man In Giallo brings a 13-minute, 32-second interview with actor Salvatore Puntillo. He covers his experiences during the production in this moderately informative chat.

English Front and End Titles span three minutes, 26 seconds. As expected, they show the credits in English.

Finally, an Image Gallery presents 10 examples of movie ads. It doesn’t show much.

A mix of sex, religion and violence, The Weapon, The Hour, The Motive becomes an above-average mystery story. With a good cast and an intriguing narrative, it mostly works. The Blu-ray offers fairly positive picture with adequate audio and a few bonus features. Despite a few flaws, I think this ends up as a largely engaging thriller.

Note that this Blu-ray of Weapon comes as part of a 3-movie package called “Giallo Essentials”. It also includes 1972’s Smile Before Death and 1974’s The Killer Reserved 9 Seats.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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