The iguana with the tongue of VHS noise
My copies of The Mephisto Waltz and The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire arrived from Xploited Cinema this morning. The Mephisto Waltz is actually the Spanish release of the film, rather than the French version I’d assumed it to be, but it makes no difference, given that the disc itself features English audio, menus and subtitles, in addition to a variety of other languages. A quick glance at the transfer suggests that it’s pretty good: like many of Fox’s recent releases, it’s soft and a little noise reduced, but actually fairly attractive overall, and, needless to say, a massive improvement on my VHS dupe.
The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire, meanwhile, is a big disappointment, partly because the image quality is very poor (it’s in widescreen, but I suspect that the source is a VHS tape), but mainly because it’s a very weak giallo. This is actually the first Riccardo Freda film that I’ve seen, and I gather that his standard is usually somewhat better than this; the fact that he signed the film under the pseudonym of “Willy Pareto” suggests that he didn’t regard it particularly highly either. Even through the grime and haze of the poor transfer, it’s fairly easy to see that the visuals aren’t all that hot, while the plot itself, not to mention the characters, fail to be even remotely engaging. It lacks a strong protagonist, while the killer’s identity is a non-event and his/her motive non-existent, and the somewhat unusual Dublin location is never really exploited to its full potential. This is definitely close to the bottom of the barrel, as far as I’m concerned, although you might get a kick or two out of lines like “Well now, me fleet-footed filly, are we going to have it off in the bushes or on the bike?”