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Lo strano vizio della signora Wardh
(AKA The strange vice of Mrs.Wardh)

Julie Wardh has a vice, not weird but perverse. We must say that relatives and friends are not, normal people too. A bizarre microcosm is the center of one of the most famous, most loved and discussed Italian thriller released in the golden age of the genre. After Bava and Lenzi, who wrote the rules and taught, had come the turn of the surprising Dario Argento, the change of the decade and indeed the desire of many to try this genre.

Tries it in 1971 the young and versatile Sergio Martino with his brother Luciano as producer and the result, says the history, is more than positive so that the two brothers and the group of actors of this movie, continue in the following years to in the genre.

"Blade of the Ripper" suffers in some way the fact of being the first, of the thrillers by Martino.  The Roman director creates a movie that seeks a balance between thriller and eroticism but it is more balanced in the second, with naked bodies sometimes completely free. The story dwells excessively, with some moments between the improbable and absurd, while the direction alternates good moments (taking some from Bava and Argento) to flat ones. But as said at the end result is pleasing, because despite the flaws and a final a bit long the story keeps good suspense and the actors are very good at creating their characters. Good is also Martino knowing how to exploit the interpreters to do their best, even if it's easy when you have Edwige Fenech in the cast, use her in all its sensuality. And good is also the soundtrack by Nora Orlandi (a song ends up in "Kill Bill").

The queen Edwige who plays Mrs. Wardh often is (half)naked pleasing the audience and playing the most important role for a film that in fact, as the title suggests, starts with a vice of her character. Next to her is her husband Neil played by Alberto de Mendoza, staid and austere, like to perfect diplomat. George Hilton and Ivan Rassimov play other two key roles. The Uruguayan actor is the handsome George seductive man who should be the new life for Julie Wardh. Rassimov is Jean a former boyfriend of the woman, morbid, obsessed and dangerous, what today can be described as a stalker. Complete the list of the main characters the spicy Carol a Julie’s friend funny and uninhibited, a kind of comic relief played by pretty Conchita Airoldi.

Julie Wardh tries to escape from her past, from her perversion and from her morbid former boyfriend Jean who continues to look for her. Anguished by her old life, represented by erotic flash back, marries Neil, a boring diplomat who neglects her. Julie finds in the beautiful George a possible rebirth a new life. Meanwhile in Vienna, where is set the most of the story, a serial killer kills women with a razor (and unfortunately one in a shower, "Psycho" docet). Apparently there is no link between the tormented life of Julie and the series of murders but is only apparent because everything is part of a diabolical plan.

Sergio Martino clever director able to revise concepts, rather than create new ones, using several ideas already seen (there is also a phone call with voice disguised) but it must be said that some things of "Blade of the Ripper" we will see in the work of other directors. From this film, to be precise by a note from Jean, born the title of another yellow Martino "Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key."

Original title Lo strano vizio della signora Wardh
Alternativi title: L'Étrange vice de Madame Wardh (France) Blade of the Ripper, The Next Victim! The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (USA) , Der Killer von Wien (Germany) Erikinaynoi anuronoi (Greece), O Estranho Vício da senhora Ward (Portugal), Uma Faca na Escuridão (Brazil) Hartstochtelijke nachten van Mme Wardh, Les Nuits folles de Mme Wardh (Belgium) Mannen med rakkniven (Sweden), Next! (UK) La Perversa señora Ward (Spain)
Country: Italy
Director: Sergio Martino
Lenght: 98'
Year: 1971
Cast: George Hilton, Edwige Fenech, Conchita Airoldi, Manuel Gil, Carlo Alighiero, Ivan Rassimov
Production Company: Copercines Cooperativa Cinematografica