L'uomo dagli occhi di ghiaccio [The Man With Icy Eyes] (1971) January 01, 2019 16:54
The Man With The Icy Eyes marks Barbara Bouchet's first foray into one of Italy's most famous genres in the 1970's, giallo. Taking a vein from the genre's earlier entries the film is more of a murder mystery thriller than the macabre slasher that the genre would eventually evolve into.
Following the murder of a senator outside his home one night Italian reporter Eddie Mills (Antonio Sabato) hopes he can crack the case and achieve something that finally leads to him getting credited for his worked instead of being snubbed by his mildly discriminatory boss. He sets out to try and uncover clues behind the murder and manages to fall for one of the leading witnesses Anne Saxe (Barbara Bouchet) a model / prostitute who was frequently seen in the company of the senator, and also had connections with the main suspect in the crime a man by the name of Valdes.
Eddie gathers enough evidence, and Anne's testimony hammers the final death nail that appears to confirm that Valdes is the murderer, which leads to his conviction and death sentence, but something doesn't add up. Eddie begins to feel he's helped to wrongly convict a man. As he starts casing some of the loose ends, and begins questioning Anne's motives, he finds himself getting death threats by someone calling themselves The Man With The Icy Eyes. And Eddie's gut feeling that the killer may still be on the loose grows stronger as key witnesses in the case, who may have more information, suddenly start dying in mysterious ways.
With time running out to find proof that the man on death row is innocent, and to save his own life, Eddie's reporter skills are put to the test, this could be the story that helps make a name for himself, or this could be the last thing he ever covers!
The Man With The Icy Eyes is one of the few Italian giallo films shot entirely in the United States, specifically Albuquerque, New Mexico. This and the film's mystery thriller physique often lend comparisons to Lucio Fulci's 1969 classic One On Top Of The Other, which also uses another major American city as it's backdrop and shares some varying similarities in terms of story-line and execution. It's likely the director of this film Alberto De Martino, took some inspiration from Fulci's film but ultimately that's about as close as these two films get.
In comparison The Man With The Icy Eyes simply cannot match the quality of writing, acting and pacing as One On Top Of The Other. That's not to say the film isn't enjoyable, there's simply not anything overtly special about it, it's campy in all regards, a little choppy and hard to follow at times, but it does manage to hold your attention and concludes with a decent twist at the end.
Barbara Bouchet continues the trend of the sultry femme fatale that will leave you bouncing back and forth guessing whether her character is naive and innocent, or is she playing both sides of the field and can't be trusted. She notably gives the film some much needed eye candy, sprinkled throughout the story, giving this average story a little flavor.
Overall, The Man With The Icy Eyes is okay. There's nothing inherently awful about the film, though it does have some pace and consistency issues, but on the flip side there's nothing great about it either. The twist at the end is decent and a little surprising, but after it's all said and done the film is about as average as you can get and ultimately forgettable. If you're a Barbara Bouchet fan or a giallo completest then give it a go, it's definitely not the worst film you'll watch from the genre or Bouchet, but if you're looking dip your toe into Italian thrillers there's definitely better places to start.