A Quiet Place to Kill (1970) Poster

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More triky bizness for Baker
Bezenby24 January 2018
Notable actors: Carroll Baker! Jean Sorel!

I'm required by law to explain that the alternative title for this film is Paranoia, but that is the real title of Lenzi's other Giallo, Orgazmo, and that there's another Umberto Lenzi film called An Ideal Place to Kill too. Also, at least four Umberto Lenzi gialli star Carroll Baker, and additionally they are all generally of the 'bunch of people scheming against each other' plots rather than 'someone carving up Euro-babes' variety. Got that?

*Absolute silence from the rest of the Universe*

Right. This one starts off with Carroll Baker as a racing car driver who has some sort of brain fart while driving and ends up in hospital. Once discharged, she finds that she's been invited to the big fancy house of ex-husband/complete jerk playboy shag machine Jean Sorel, who previously mooched all of her money. Being a character in a film, she doesn't just throw the invite in the bin, but instead immediately packs her bags and drives off there.

Once there, Carroll realises that Jean has remarried an extremely rich lady who owns oil fields. It also turns out that this lady is the one who sent the invite - but for what reason? To play footsie with her under the table while Jean is doing the same thing? This lady, Constance, wants to be Carroll's new special friend, but is it for the usual giallo reasons (i.e slow motion lesbian sex scene)? Much discussion of how men are bastards ensues.

It's hard to write about these films without revealing the entire plot, and the twists are the highlights of the film, so let's be as vague as possible. There may or may not be a murder halfway through the film but a tremendous amount of obstacles suddenly present themselves that the killer (or killers) that they have to surmount to avoid being caught (that's if they murdered anyone, which they might have). Someone with a film camera may or may not have unwittingly filmed the murder which possibly leads to a hypothetical scene where everyone involved has to watch the film, plus there might even be the sudden appearance of someone else later in the film to throw a spanner in the works. Or perhaps not.

What I will reveal is that Umberto Lenzi further cements his position as the top animal killer of Italian cinema by having a scene set at a pigeon shooting club. It isn't enough that the guy would go out of his way to kill animals in his cannibal films, but here's a giallo that racks up a few pigeon deaths for the sake of a film. LEEENNNNZZZIIIII!!!!!

Just like his other late sixties Gialli, Lenzi has the whole film look amazing, keeps the camera angles fresh, but reigns in the psychedelics. He does include the old 'dancing in the club' scene that's a favourite from this particular era, including a band who wouldn't have looked out of place in the early nineties!

Slow to start, but as usual Lenzi proves he can tell the same story, with the same actors, a different way, and have everything and everyone look like an ad for a holiday villa.

And that's it - that's all the Carroll Baker gialli watched too, with the exception of some obscure psuedo-giallo called The Body from 1974. Carroll would later go on to star as the pushy mother of the bad guy in Big Arnie's Kindergarten Cop!
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A QUIET PLACE TO KILL (Umberto Lenzi, 1970) **
Bunuel197631 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
To begin with, when I acquired this, I was under the impression it'd be the 1969 Lenzi/Carroll Baker giallo released in English-speaking countries as PARANOIA and originally given the lurid title ORGASMO; I watched that film, which was quite decent (and had a jaw-dropping final twist, to boot), during the 2004 Venice Film Festival – with the genial elderly director in attendance!

This one, then, was released in Italy as PARANOIA and, to confuse matters even more, its English title was very similar to the director's follow-up effort (and which I'll get to presently), UN POSTO IDEALE PER UCCIDERE – translating to AN IDEAL PLACE TO KILL – which was itself retitled OASIS OF FEAR for export purposes! For the record, Lenzi made eight giallos in all: none would perhaps rank among the genre's finest offerings – though, with this, I'm only half-way through them (having checked out KNIFE OF ICE [1972] and SPASMO [1974] as well, the latter also at Venice as part of a night-long marathon!). Anyway, the film turned out to be something of a disappointment: the plot recalls Henri Georges Clouzot's classic DIABOLIQUE (1955) but, given rather indifferent treatment, it's not particularly engaging in this case. Incidentally, both stars – Carroll Baker again and Jean Sorel – would appear in a number of giallos over the years: the two, in fact, had already made THE SWEET BODY OF DEBORAH (1968) together and, while the former would make four for Lenzi alone, the latter appeared (among others) in two of Lucio Fulci's best films…one of which, ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER aka PERVERSION STORY (1969), was also partly inspired by the aforementioned Clouzot thriller! Perhaps the most determining factors in PARANOIA's lack of stature are its positively underwhelming credentials (the film is an Italian/French/Spanish co-production); that said, the glossy look – particularly in the beautiful widescreen print I viewed – and Gregorio Garcia Segura's bouncy lounge score easily emerge as its most pleasing (and durable) assets.

After a fairly dreary first half, the narrative gets pretty complicated, though the many plot twists aren't exactly surprising: one I liked, however, was when the scheme of playboy Sorel's two wives to get rid of him backfires, he's quick to take matters into his own hands and dispose of the current spouse (which would leave him tremendously wealthy) there and then! Even so, a third woman enters the picture soon after – the daughter of the deceased (gorgeous if perennially sullen Marina Coffa) who, then, conspires with him to oust his ex (Baker) by elaborately framing her for Sorel's 'murder'! The frenzied climax, in fact, sees the distraught heroine's car plunging from a cliff (she's being chased by the police when Sorel's phantom suddenly 'haunts' her) – but Baker has the last laugh after all as, in the search to find his 'missing' body, the corpse of Sorel's second bride literally turns up to incriminate him! Mind you, the film's still quite watchable – as much for the reasons already stated as for Baker's frequent nude scenes
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Impressive visuals, merely OK thriller
lor_7 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The other IMDb reviewers have done a fine job evaluating this Umberto Lenzi thriller, and I'll chime in with just a few comments.

With Joe D'Amato of all people as cameraman, this low-budget European B movie looks sumptuous, with excellent driving scenes (pegged to star Carroll Baker introduced as a race car driver) and consistently attractive Majorca locations befitting a jet set backdrop. The only crappy scene for me was the mandatory (and now dated/unwatchable) visit to a discotheque where Baker and many extras are shot in low angle montages attempting to do the frug and other dance steps.

While Lenzi dangles DIABOLIQUE as a red herring plot gimmick, the real ripoff here is from an equally distinguished source, René Clément's PURPLE NOON. Long one of my all-time favorites, that classic Patricia Highsmith movie presented the thriller format in sundrenched, always bright & beautiful settings, probably the best such example of that approach since LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN in the '40s.


Lenzi adopts the same against-the-grain (no Gothic or gloomy visuals) look and carefully imitates the key elements of PURPLE NOON's suspense. The murder takes place on a yacht, and the final twist of the film, the "return of the repressed" frisson moment, is identical, as the incriminating corpse is dredged up from Davy Jones Locker not as part of the official search but rather accidentally from another search instigated by the guilty parties.

Side note: In the '80s I was motion picture editor in NYC at Variety newspaper and I once asked our Rome correspondent Deborah Young about Italian directors' personalities, since she dealt with them on a one-to-one basis daily. She responded with a surprise for me, stating that Umberto Lenzi was the classiest of the lot, a true gentleman. Having been exposed in America to drive-in and 42nd St. showings of his often lurid and exploitation-oriented films I was surprised, but it was another lesson in the dangers of equating one's work (and its artifacts) with the creator's personal attributes.
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Umberto Lenzi & Carroll Baker go "Paranoia" ... again!
Coventry25 October 2006
Welcome to Umberto Lenzi's early 70's giallo/crime thriller "Paranoia" starring the unearthly beautiful Carroll Baker… Hey, wait a minute, haven't I watched and reviewed this movie a couple of days ago already? Oh right, that was the OTHER Umberto Lenzi early 70's giallo/crime thriller "Paranoia" starring the unearthly beautiful Carroll Baker, more commonly known as "Orgasmo". Confusing? Well, maybe a little, but rest assured these are two entirely different movies of which the stories & characters aren't linked to each other at all. The other "Paranoia" is also far superior to this one. That particular movie had tons of suspense, likable characters and convoluted plot-twists whereas this one is painfully boring. This film features TWO worthwhile scenes, both involving wild car accidents, one at the beginning and one at the end and everything in between is one gigantically uninteresting, predictable and overlong love-triangle between three characters. It all starts with Mrs. Baker stars as a rather free-spirited race car pilot who crash-parks her car on the circuit and ends up slightly wounded in a hospital. During her period of recovery, she accepts to stay at her ex-husband and his new wife's mansion. Two attractive women and one incomprehensibly handsome guy (really, Jean Sorel is way too good-looking!) in one house can only result in extended sequences of sexual intrigue, double-crossing and conspiracies to murder. It's all a lot less exciting than it sounds and only the good acting performances keep it endurable. The filming locations and music are stylish, but that's not enough in this case. Easily the most disappointing Lenzi-film I've seen thus far.
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The better Paranoia!
The_Void28 October 2007
A Quiet Place to Kill is not be confused with the earlier Orgasmo, though unfortunately confusing the pair is very easy as they're from the same director, both feature American actress Carroll Baker and they were both released under the title 'Paranoia'! Quite what the reason for both films featuring the same title is anyone's guess: I know that Italian filmmakers were more interested in making money than anything else, but surely releasing two films under the same title would do more harm than good when it came to the box office...but oh well. It's usually Orgasmo that gets most of the fans; but if you ask me, this second version of Paranoia is the better of the two. Like Lenzi's earlier 'So Sweet, So Perverse', it would appear that the plot has been lifted from the French classic 'Les Diaboliques', and focuses on a love triangle. Playboy Maurice is married to Constance, a woman who decides to invite Maurice's ex-wife Helen to stay with them. Helen doesn't question it too much and accepts the invitation, and soon learns that the reason she's there is to help Constance kill Maurice.

The first half of the film is much better than the second, as A Quiet Place to Kill unfortunately looses a bit of steam once it gets the first part of the plot out of the way. In spite of that, however, the film is certainly a very interesting Giallo and definitely delivered many of the things I love about this type of film. Umberto Lenzi manages to ensure that all of the major players are interesting, and Lenzi also ensures that all are guilty in one way or another, which ensures that everyone deserves what they get by the time it finishes. Carroll Baker is not my favourite Giallo heroine, but I liked her in this one. She seems to enjoy acting alongside Jean Sorel, who is as charming as ever. Unknown actresses Anna Proclemer and Marina Coffa round off the cast, along with the experienced Alberto Dalbés - all of which fit into their roles well. The upper class setting does the film a lot of favours, and the locations and fashions are all nice to look at. The plot mostly flows well and while it's usually fairly clear where it's going, A Quiet Place to Kill still manages to be interesting. This is not the best Giallo that Lenzi made (that would be Seven Blood-Stained Orchids), but it's certainly a good one and I recommend it.
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Very much of the period this has the music, fads, colours and morals of the time.
christopher-underwood26 February 2020
Titled on my Blu ray as Paranoia, this is also known as A Quite Place to Kill which might be the better option as there is another Lenzi film made the previous year and also known as Paranoia. Thankfully, Umberto Lenzi himself is on hand on the disc to clarify the similarities and differences as well as how this ridiculous situation came about. Anyway the previous year's film, also with Carroll Baker is fine but this is probably even better. More original and more exciting, this is a crazy, colourful and involving gialloesque mystery involving fantastic clothing and furnishings, cars and telephones and lots of Carroll baker. She was nearly 40 when she made this but still strips down to order and looks great. Jean Sorell is as reliable as ever and always seems to give that look and twinkle those eyes as if to indicate love and hate at the same time. Marina Coffa appears around the halfway mark and really stirs things up. Apparently back in the day audiences would stand and applause, so stunned and delighted at the final denouement although she did very little after this for whatever reason. Very much of the period this has the music, fads, colours and morals of the time.
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Excellent scenic photography and suspenseful plot twists
Hollywoodshack23 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
This film has some great plot twists and turns that will keep you guessing what happens next. Baker is good as a race car driver(Helen) and Marina Coffa is magnetic as her ex-husband's stepdaughter who's been pulling the strings behind the mysterious events all along. Helen is enlisted by Maurice's new wife, Constance, to help murder him, but these plans backfire. There is a strange plot hole, maybe it was lost from the film. How did Maurice find his way unseen by others to the doctor when he accidently shot himself with a hunting rifle, leaving the tower empty so people thought he had been murdered? It kept me watching it over a few dozen times.
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Carroll Baker: paranoid and unstable once again!
moonspinner5513 September 2015
The third teaming of actress Carroll Baker with director Umberto Lenzi, yet another sex-and-murder soap opera made in Italy after Baker's Hollywood fortunes had dried up (temporarily, anyway). Here, Carroll is a racecar driver who cracks up on the track; she takes refuge with her handsome ex-husband, who has remarried a wealthy older woman with a daughter from a previous marriage. Double and triple crosses--as well as scenes featuring a nude, unblushing Baker--are in abundance, yet the 'shocking' plot taxes one's patience, particularly since the characters are so vapid. Excellent point-of-view cinematography from the driver's seat lends the narrative far more excitement than the guessing game of who is sleeping with who. ** from ****
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'Another splendid gialli from the master of sexual intrigue'
Darkling_Zeist23 January 2014
Another splendid gialli from the master of sexual intrigue Umberto Lenzi. Many say that this is inferior to his 'Orgasmo' (1969) but it many ways I find it to be of equal merit. Righteous lounge-core soundtrack and another winning performance from one of the true divas of gialli, Carrol Baker. Yet again, Baker suffers at the hands of a scheming; cock sure male; this time a particularly suave and dashing Marc Porel; a man seemingly born to wear pastel v-neck sweaters. His preference for Val Donican's wardrobe does little to mute his excellent performance as a Machiavellian, libidinous, uber-playboy, which is exemplary; making the twist-laden 'a quiet place to kill' a must see for Lenzi-Gialli-Baker fans.
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Don't worry about me,you're sitting in the death seat!
dbdumonteil19 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Both Carroll Baker and Jean Sorel began their career with great directors: the former was Lucky enough to be directed by George Stevens ,Elia Kazan (who gave her her lifetime role "baby doll" ),John Ford.

The latter was best remembered for his movies with such luminaries as Duvivier,Bunuel and Visconti:but even in these works ,his good looks went against him and his male co-stars easily outclassed him.Besides,he resembled Alain Delon and there was no room for both of them.

More than Clouzot's "LES Diaboliques" which anyway inspired hundreds of thrillers ,it's Clement's classic "Plein Soleil" (aka "purple noon" ) ,which put Delon on the map ,that provides the movie with two of its more important scenes:the murder on the boat ,and even more the final shot which is a complete ripoff.

That said ," paranoia " is probably the most satisfying of all Baker's soft porn extravaganzas :unlike "Cosi Dolce Cosi Perversa","or "Il Diavolo A Sette Facce" ,this one has a relatively firm screenplay ,with several unexpected twists ,and a few good scenes of its own:Constance's lesbian side ,the flash forwards (Maurice killed by the harpoon) and chiefly the film which scares the criminals (a great moment of suspense).

The cinematography is more painstaking than in your average B movie and there's a good use of the wide screen which takes advantage of the location.Maurice utters a few words in his first language ("Charmante N'Est-Ce-Pas?"),and there are soft erotic scenes .Miss Baker is not very credible as a racing driver(!) but she's really a babe.

NB:in the eighties,CB made a Volte face and went back ,for a while ,to great cinema: in "ironweed" ,she was convincing as Jack Nicholson's wife.
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Not Bad Lenzi Giallo
Kurohambe6 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
One of the other posters (Babycarrot67) has summed up quite nicely the film and the confusion between this film and another Lenzi title.

I recently saw this on a Japanese DVD (Italian language only) and it's a good if unremarkable entry to the genre. I personally think that the other gialli Lenzi made around the same time ('Knife Of Ice', 'So Sweet...So Perverse') were better films. If you are looking for some of the trimmings that occur in some of the more outrageous films in the giallo genre (like 'Torso' or even Lenzi's own 'Eyeball') you might be disappointed. This is very much a talky and plot driven film and relies less on murder set-pieces and gratuitous nudity than many films in the genre. It's always good to see Carroll Baker in the lead role- she gives a solid performance as do the other cast. The plot is not bad throwing in some interesting twists along the way.

So a solid but unremarkable entry to the genre. I would only suggest this one to people who have seen the better entries to the genre (like from Argento or Martino) only but I do hope it gets an English DVD edition some time in the future. If you are interested in Lenzi gialli the Region 1 versions of 'Spasmo' and 'Seven Blood-Stained Orchids' would be a better place to start.
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