Giorgio Gaslini wasn't a prolific film composer, but one gets a sense that by 1972 he might have been thinking, “Gee, I started with Michelangelo Antonioni in 1961, and now I'm scoring misogynistic drivel for a hack director.”
Although the tide would briefly change the following year when Gaslini would score Dario Argento's Door into Darknes TV series, The Five Days of Milan, and co-score Deep Red with Goblin thereafter, for Rivelazion, Gaslini was stuck with a film whose central message was ‘women who cheat are whores and deserve to die,' and a mean script that left the adulterous men unpunished.
In any event, Gaslini had two main problems: director Roberto Bianchi Montero depicted women with little intelligence, compassion, or humanity, and the director (who also co-wrote the script) also seemed to possess a facile approach toward applying score to picture (a serious handicap, which we'll get into shortly).
To give some humanity to the film, Gaslini composed one of his best main themes, and arguably one of the best for any giallo. It's a very simple melody that begins with a delicate pairing of Edda Dell'Orso's voice and woodwinds on opposite sides of the stereo spectrum (the film was released with a flat mono track), and with Dell'Orso's voice introducing the melodic line while the woodwinds establish the hesitant rhythmic pattern Gaslini rebuilds with percussion and flutes, twisting the latter into more plaintive renditions while increasing the thickness of the drum hits after a lovely recitative of intertwined woodwinds, including oboe, for added tenderness.
For a film that begins with a sliced up naked cadaver seen in full detail, Gaslini's main theme, heard first over the animated main titles, briefly shifts the viewer's attention from salaciousness and cruelty to a strange, haunting kind of compassion; he must have realized his theme would be the only element of humanity that would resonate in such a cold-hearted film, and more importantly, give some resonance to women starkly depicted as whores in waiting, or whores, once they committed adultery.
Montero either loved the theme far too much, or he lacked sufficient finesse in applying it in rational places, because he tracks almost identical versions throughout the film as rudimentary transition music to hasten the movement between banal scenes that lead up another murder. (One could also argue, however, that Gaslini knew the film was crap, and felt thematic diversity for the project was frankly undeserving.)
Until the final reel, most of Rivelazioni is just a series of killings separated by scenes with the investigating detective, and lead-ups to the kills (involving the adulterous woman sneaking off, being photographed by the killer, and then the standard stalk/torment/demise montage, punctuated by the killer leaving photos of the illicit lovers around the body).
Gaslini's theme isn't applied to the killings, however. Occasionally it's “Lamento,” an effective variation of the theme – the loose tempo, hesitant two-step percussive hits, and combination of wiggling woodwinds, harpsichord, and moody strings foreshadow the instrumental cues for Deep Red – but more often it's “Tema del maniaco,” where Gaslini repurposes the two-step motif using bass and drums, and Dell'Orso's voice paired with alto sax. The duet nicely captures the killer's enthusiasm as he first plays voyeur to his victims' nude vulnerabilities before he steps out and goes through his taunting routine prior to delivering the lethal stabs and slashes, but Montero overuses “Tema” whenever he isn't shoving the main theme down the aucience's throats.
The problem with the film, and less so on the album, is a lack of distinct variations for all themes, but Fin de Siecle's album – expanded with many alternate cuts from the original (and very brief) LP – has the cues unaffected by the sloppy edits and mixes that often reduced Gaslini's more intriguing and experimental cues to quick fade-up and fadeouts.
“Colori” is probably the most experimental, and is comprised of various percussion textures, metallic shimmers, and a concluding section for spiraling woodwinds and harpsichord. The 5 minute cue was probably intended to give Montero some alternative non-melodic material for the stalking sequences, but like a number of cues on the CD, it seemed to have been largely dropped from the film (although “Colori #3,” one of two alternates, does appear towards the film's final reel).
Another example of a neglected cue is a solo vocal track, “Voce senza scampo,” which is both haunting, compassionate, and could've been used as a chilling lament for any of the dead victims.
The CD also includes 7 source cues, including the piano lounge “Teneramente,” which recalls a bit of Christopher Komeda's elegant, cascading performance style; “Domani forse,” the ditzy bopping cue played at a teen party before mumsy sends the kids home, and her daughter subsequently sees their neighbour slashed (the bad lady's been boffing the teen's papa); “Sorridendo,” a Bossa Nova confection with short solos on electric guitar & vibes, and piano & chimes gliding between the improv chunks; and “Lievemente,” which keeps the same instrumental combo for a chime-heavy lounge composition. “Ricordando” is a slight variation of the prior source with a samba beat melodic bits gliding between the same batch of solo instruments, and lastly, there's an alternate version of “Teneramente” performed on solo piano.
The bonus cue section does get repetitive, but the original LP cues are presented first, and Fin de Siecle's production is first-rate, with an excellent use of the film's gorgeous poster art. John Bender's liner notes offer some fresh info on this little-seen film and Gaslini, although the text layout is compacted into two big paragraphs, making it very tough to follow.
© 2008 Mark R. Hasan