Venere di Ille, La (1979, ITA) C-60m. *** D: Mario Bava, Lamberto Bava. Starring Daria Nicolodi, Marc Porel, Fausto Di Bella, Adriana Innocenti, Fabrizio Bava. Elegant, intelligent fantasy drama set in 19th century Italy, where a rich landowner unearths a bronze statue on his property. The ancient Greek statue then seems to influence the events around his son's wedding to beautiful Nicolodi. Antique expert Porel becomes witness to the weird going-ons. Barely seen - never released outside Italy, where it was only shown on TV - but appropriate swan song for Mario Bava, whose last film also marked one of his son Lamberto's first. Beautifully poetic rendition of a novel by Prosper Mérimée is also surprisingly cinematic, including an excellent score by Ubaldo Continiello. A must for Bava fans. Previously filmed in 1922 (DIE VENUS), in 1962 for theaters and 1980 for French TV (both versions titled LA VENUS D'ILLE). English title: VENUS OF ILLE.

© Ron Altman