The Curator of Schlock #286 by Jeff Shuster
What are you doing this weekend?
Anyone catch the latest season of Grantchester, the gem of Masterpiece Mystery on PBS? This season was a tsunami of mystery and heartache. Reverend Sidney Chambers fell in love with a woman of color visiting from the American South during the Civil Rights movement. He moved to America to be with her. Leonard was struggling with his role of curate while trying to keep his homosexuality a secret. DI Geordie had to contend with his wife working as a sales associate at a fancy new department store in town. Oh, and Geordie’s wife ends up getting sexually harassed by a coworker resembling Orson Welles. And let’s not forget about new vicar of Grantchester, Will Davenport, a dashing young man with his own dark secrets. But I’m wasting my time, aren’t I? None of you want to hear me talk about fine British television. Such is my lot in life.
This week’s Giallo is 1970’s The Weekend Murders from director Michele Lupo. Like Grantchester, The Weekend Murders takes its cues from the British cozy, the quaint mysteries that take place in the country as opposed to the big city. Sure, a murder or two may take place, but at least the surroundings are pleasant. The movie begins with an English bobby named Sgt. Aloisius Thorpe (Gastone Moschin) cycling through the English village of Somerleyton. He’s a rather goofy looking chap, complete with a bobby mustache and big teeth. He looks like the kind of bobby they make lamps out of.
Anyway, Sgt. Thorpe rides through town on his bicycle. He rides up next to a milk truck, pops one of the bottles open, drinks his fill, and pays the driver. I’ve never seen that in a movie. He then travels to a golf course where some well-to-do members of the gentry are enjoying a game until one of them finds a hand sticking up out of the sand trap. Someone’s been murdered! The movie then sets us back a couple of days where we’re introduced to these well-to-do members of the gentry, showing up at a rich estate to find out about their inheritance. The old geezer bequeaths his prized flowers to Sgt. Thorpe, who openly weeps to the disgust of various playboys, snobs, and a prodigal daughter or two. Everyone else gets nothing with the exception of the old geezer’s niece, Barbara (Anna Moffo), who inherits the estate.
Of course, if Barbara were to die, the estate with be divided evenly among the remaining family members. Naturally, bodies start showing up. I think the first is the family butler, ruling him out as a murder suspect. I think someone points that out in the movie, so it’s not that funny.
Scotland Yard sends over their finest detective, Inspector Grey (Lance Percival), to solve the case. The rest of the movie shows off the sublime incompetence of Detective Grey counterbalanced with surprising ingenuity of Sgt. Thorpe. Together they’ll get to the bottom of the murders. This is an odd one, an Giallo movie rife with English stereotypes, but I enjoyed it … though not as much as Grantchester.
The Weekend Murders is streaming on Amazon Prime.