Edited by Solomon on 6/17/2018, 4:43 am
In "An Angel for Satan", picture a horror story or what seems like a horror story whose resolutions are natural, not supernatural. Its mood will appear more to be the supernatural than crime, and the femme fatale will seem a witch. Yet appearances are deceiving. There will not be alienation or the usual qualities of an American noir, but there will be lots of passions that are twisted out of their usual courses by the machinations of twisted people. The time period is late 19th century. The settings are beautifully photographed and handled.
As for "The Whip and the Body", I stand by what I wrote at the time:
"This film has many merits, although the story leans to the lurid (shocking and sensational) at times. The credit has to go to the director, Mario Bava, for the results. The acting of the two main leads, Christopher Lee and Daliah Lavi, is among their best. But the real star of the show is the lighting, sets, production design, cinematography and the location, which is a castle set on a bluff overlooking the ocean.
"I see this film as an extension of film noir, both in theme and photography, but it goes further. The noir "Slightly Scarlet", done in 1956, is a precursor and there are other such noirs done in color that also qualify. This film, coming in 1963, is close in time to have been following in those footsteps. For example, the film opens with a magnificent sequence in which Lee returns on horseback to the castle at night. It ends with a long shot in which we see him in silhouette next to the castle's silhouette and deep shadows.
"As the film proceeds, we are inside the castle, whose corridors and crypt are heavily shadowed, but also lit in extraordinary ways in hues of green, red, and blue. The faces of Lee and Lavi at times receive similar treatment. It is the resulting look of the film that merits such a high rating.
"The story revolves around the antagonisms and attractions among Lee and the family members and their servants. Lee is stabbed, and a mystery is set in motion as to who did it. Lee and Lavi have formerly been lovers. He still wants her and believes they belong together. She has married his brother, plus she is aroused sexually by being whipped, and Lee accommodates her. Feelings run deep and high as do obsessions, and there is a crime, so that we are again in noir territory.
"The musical theme is haunting and fits the film perfectly."