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The Perfume of the Lady in Black (Il Profumo della Signora in Nero) (1974)

Mimsy Farmer , Maurizio Bonuglia , Francesco Barilli  |  Unrated |  DVD
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Mimsy Farmer, Maurizio Bonuglia
  • Directors: Francesco Barilli
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Restored, Widescreen
  • Language: English, Italian
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: March 22, 2011
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004H0M34A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,906 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Mimsy Farmer portrays Sylvia, a chemist who begins to suffer from strange visions. She sees a mysterious woman in black applying perfume in a mirror, strangers following her everywhere she goes, and a ghostly little girl reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, who may be Sylvia herself as a child. It turns out that Sylvia stabbed her mother's sexually abusive boyfriend to death long ago, and now her visions are driving her to madness and cleaver-murders. The other possibility, however, is that literally all of Sylvia's friends are Satanists conspiring to cause her suicide. This is a remarkable film, weaving reality, fantasy and memory into an almost seamless fabric to dizzying and poetic effect.


Italian horror fans may know this film well, but this wonderful new disc makes sure that neophytes at the very least have the best possible introduction to its twisted charms. Raro Video's transfer offers a superlative presentation. --The Wall Street Journal

An absolutely essential release for anyone with an interest in unheralded classics of Italian film making or just looking for some solid, potent chills. --Mondo Digital

Highly recommended for the Italo-cult/giallo fans out there! --Twitch Films

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The 'Scent of a Woman'(s) Psychosis... March 28, 2011
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(1974 - Italian with English subtitles / optional dubbed English audio). Finally in a Region 1 / NTSC release, it's time to toss out the old wretched copies of this much-lauded and impossible to find gaillo, comfortably sit back and enjoy this classy retro-artifact by director/writer Francesco Barilli (who also penned 1972's 'Who Saw Her Die?').

Starring Mimsy Farmer ('4 Flies On Grey Velvet','Autopsy','More'), who portrays a chemist as well as a psychologically fragile main character who finds herself sinking slowly into a kaleidoscope of hallucinations and past nightmares - or are they? Are these disturbing visions of her childhood with her mother just sediments of a past that are now being subconsciously re-evaluated, or do they conceal some dark machination of a trauma she once suffered and buried? The slow progression from successful scientist to a disturbed woman on the edge of insanity details the in-depth intricacies of the haunted mind, one that weaves fantasy, reality and memory into one seamless fabric. With a cast of interesting characters (especially Mario Scaccia, who stands out as the eccentric elderly next door neighbor) and threads of murder, black magic, blind psychics, flesh-eating, Alice in Wonderland and 'Rosemary's Baby' all tossed into a salad of sanguinary psychosis, all fans of gailli, cult and Eurohorror should stay well-entertained.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange but not in a good way June 1, 2012
Although most of the reviews for this film seem to rave about it, I can't be so positive. "Perfume of a Lady in Black" is dressed up as a giallo (the title alone is typical), but it doesn't seem to fit into that genre very comfortable. Basically the tale of a woman who is slowly going insane, the film echoes other films in several ways, so you could compare it to "Rosemary's Baby", as it features a woman in an apartment block with strange neighbours and a boyfriend who isn't much help, "Images", which features a similar case of the central character seeing phantoms and hallucinations, and "The Haunting of Julia", which also features a heroine tortured by guilt because of a past tragedy in her family. So with all these comparisons, I guess I was feeling that not much in this movie was original...the litle ghost blonde girl in a white party dress has REALLY been done to death.

I also found the film very fragmented, with scenes just cut together with no flow or sense of progression: you couldn't tell if a change of shot meant another view of the same action or the passing of time. Some of the imagery is very nice, and Mimsy Farmer looks good, but it was like watching a film that was all montage and no real progression.

The acting is also pretty lame. I've always found Mimsy Farmer a bit unfathomable, but she is the best actor here, it's the rest of them that let things down, Mimsy's boyfriend is terribly wooden, as are all the neighbours and supporting cast. Doesn't add any mystery when you don't know if behaviour is supposed to be weird or if it's just not been acted properly!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best horror films ever made. January 30, 2013
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Phenomenal direction, excellent photography, creepy atmosphere and a geniusly script. This is really one of the most creepy films i have ever seen!! Superb transfer by Raro! What else do you want? A horror masterpiece!! A must have for everyone-not only horror or giallo fans.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Italian Giallo/Psycho-thriller August 12, 2011
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This isn't a giallo in the traditional sense. Those looking for a movie like DEEP RED or WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? will be disappointed.

What we have is a movie like Polanski's REPULSION. This is a movie about psychosis. I didn't think I was going to like this one because I generally enjoy the more straight-forward killer-with-a-razor type of Italian thriller. But this was really good. It's probably more of a 3.5 out of 5 instead of 4 but I think that one-starred review is uncalled for. Though THE PERFUME OF THE LADY IN BLACK is not a classic, it's still creepy and unsettling.. especially the ending.

Recommended for Italian horror fans.

-Jordan Krall, author of the spaghetti western/giallo FISTFUL OF FEET
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "A Woman on the Verge of An Explanation for this Film" December 15, 2013
If you've ever listened to a small child try and tell a lengthy joke, then you're probably familiar with how needlessly complicated the joke becomes before dissolving into complete nonsense and an outrageous punchline. "The Perfume of the Lady in Black" is just such an undertaking, a creative, convoluted joke that slaps the viewer over the head with a grotesquely miscalculated punchline that seems stolen from a Lucio Fulci movie. First-time director, Francesco Barilli (a former painter), has an eye for detail and infuses "Perfume" with scenes of languid glamour and creeping menace; his visual style is well-served by this lovely Raro Video restoration (which accounts for one of the two stars I awarded to this film).

Actress Mimsy Farmer plays Sylvia, an alleged chemist who spends most of the film calling in sick to work. Sylvia has violent secrets in her past that seem to be resurfacing in dreams and hallucinations. Concurrently, literally everyone who Sylvia comes into contact with--friends, neighbors, lover, co-workers, the local taxidermist--seems to be harboring some shady secret of their own as they slink around the colorful sets, whispering together, nodding knowingly as they head for midnight assignations in some crumbling ruin. Soon enough, Syvia is on the verge of full-fledged psychosis. Or is she? Do the wealthy voodoo experts know something they're not telling, or are they, too, part of Sylvia's madness. By the time the movie arrives at its unlikely and gruesome finale, I'd stopped caring.
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