Death Laid an Egg (1968)

This is a film I’ve waited a long time to see, having seen a trailer for it nearly 10 years ago at Mu-Meson Archives one night. Something about it looked so downright odd… I mean, look at that title, for one thing, and the prospect of a murder mystery set on a poultry farm? Too strange-sounding to not see it at some point. Finally I’ve done so (someone pointed me in the direction of a rip from what I presume was the OOP Japanese DVD that seems to be the only disc release of the thing), and holy hell. It was certainly worth waiting for, though not quite the film I was expecting. There’s no mystery over the identity of the black-gloved killer, we know that from the first scene; the mystery is of a different order entirely (and there is an astounding twist near the end regarding the killings that I never saw coming). Jean-Louis Trintingnant is the perpetually unhappy Marco, who’s married Anna for her money (she being extremely rich thanks to her poultry farm), and who’s having an affair with her younger cousin Gabriella, and who’s killing prostitutes on the side in a hotel room he maintains just for that purpose. And that’s actually not the main plot line at that. If I had to sum this up in one word, it’d be “jagged”; I noticed that co-screenwriter Franco Arcalli was also the editor, and if the script is kind of twisted so is the cutting… I think things come together in the end, at least the broad narrative does, although there are still some details I’m rather confused by (that business with the scarf covered in odd symbols). Still, like I said, well worth the wait, and I was impressed by how it pretty much screwed with my expectations…

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