Jean Sorel and Alberto de Mendoza are
brothers who run an upscale medical clinic in San Francisco. The business is in some financial trouble,
and Sorel is constantly planting fake news stories to gain a little publicity.
That is not Sorel's only problem. His wife, whom he doesn't get along with, is
not at all well. He hires a nurse to stay with her, and goes to visit his
mistress, Elsa Martinelli. Later, he is notified that his wife is dead.
Then come a series of surprises. A large insurance policy naming him as
beneficiary is found in her effects. Then he is told that they have found
traces of poison in his wife's body, and finds himself tried for murder.
The only catch? He has met an exotic dancer who looks much like his
wife, but with different hair and eye color. He thinks that his wife isn't
really dead at all.
The suspense derives from the uncertain fate of Sorel's character, and
director Lucio Fulci does an excellent job of building it. Una sull'altra (1969), or One on Top of the Other, is Lucio Fulci's first
giallo. As time went on he
would become known for gialli rather than horror stories, but his later
efforts had much more gore than this one. In addition to the suspenseful
storytelling, I enjoyed the period look at San Francisco. Aerials of Alcatraz
and San Quentin, and a visit to the San Quentin gas chamber were especially
The film has just been released by Severin in a newly remastered version they call "Perversion
Story." This marks the first time the uncensored version has been available in
the USA. The transfer seems grainy and a little saturated. No doubt the source material
was also that way, but it does not look as good as previous Severin
efforts. The DVD itself is devoid of special features, but the package does
include a bonus CD of the film's jazz score.
If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to
explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example,
by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie.
There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system,
this film is a:
Very watchable for a 1969 giallo.