Don't Torture a Duckling
|Don't Torture a Duckling|
Italian theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Lucio Fulci|
|Produced by||Renato Jaboni|
|Screenplay by||Gianfranco Clerici
|Story by||Lucio Fulci
|Music by||Riz Ortolani (as Ritz Ortolani)|
|Edited by||Ornella Micheli|
|29 September 1972|
|Box office||ITL 1,101,461,000|
Don't Torture a Duckling (Italian: Non si sevizia un paperino) is a 1972 Italian giallo film directed by Lucio Fulci. It is significant within Fulci's filmography as it is one of the first in which he began using violent gore effects, something he would continue to do in his later films, most notably Zombi 2, The Beyond and City of the Living Dead. The soundtrack was composed by Riz Ortolani and features vocals by Ornella Vanoni.
In the small Southern Italian village of Accendura, three local boys, Bruno, Michele, and Tonino are engaged in mischief. Giuseppe Barra (Vito Passeri) a local simpleton and peeping tom, who is seen spying on two swinging couples, is taunted by the boys.
When Bruno goes missing, reporters converge on the town. One of them is Andrea Martelli (Tomas Milian) a sharp-witted journalist from Rome whose insights into the case are acknowledged by the regional police commissioner (Virginio Gazzolo) working with village chief of police Captain Modesti (Ugo D'Alessio).
While researching his story Martelli, who's also spending time with local thrill-seeking girl Patrizia, interviews the local priest, Don Alberto. Elsewhere, Captain Modesti and his aide meet with Francesco (George Wilson), an old hermit living in a stone hut who practices black magic and offers charms and potions to the superstitious. He tells the police he has passed his knowledge of black magic to his disciple, a woman nicknamed "La Maciara" (the witch).
In the end Don Alberto is revealed to be the killer and is caught trying to throw his little sister off a cliff. In a fistfight with Martelli, Don Alberto loses his footing and falls off the cliff to a gruesome death.
- Florinda Bolkan as La Maciara
- Barbara Bouchet as Patrizia
- Tomas Milian as Andrea Martelli
- Irene Papas as Dona Aurelia Avallone
- Marc Porel as Don Alberto Avallone
- Georges Wilson as "Uncle" Francesco
- Antonello Campodifiori as Police Lieutenant
- Ugo D'Alessio as Captain Modesti
- Virgilio Gazzolo as Police Commissioner
- Vito Passeri as Giuseppe Barra
- Rosalia Maggio as Mrs. Spriano, Michele's mother
- Andrea Aureli as Mr. Lo Cascio, Bruno's father
- Linda Sini as Mrs. Lo Cascio, Bruno's mother
- Franco Balducci as Mr. Spriano, Michele's father
- Fausta Avelli as Malvina (uncredited)
According to Danny Shipka, the small Italian town of the setting turns out to be an Italian version of Harper Valley PTA, with suspects including voyeurs, drug addicted pedophiles, gypsies and priests. He finds that the film provides a thought-provoking depiction of life and politics in a small town of Italy. The main themes are "repression, sin and guilt".  The motive of the murder turns out to be a desire to rescue the boys from the effects of their own sexuality.  In other words, the killer attempts to preserve the innocence of the victims.  He is attempting to send them to Heaven while they remained in a stage of uncorrupted grace.
Shipka finds that the film also demonstrates the tendency of giallo filmmakers to seriously question religion and priesthood.  Mikel J. Koven points that predatory priests also appeared in Who Saw Her Die? (1972) and The Bloodstained Shadow (1978).
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When the film was first released in 1972 it received only a limited release in Europe, due to the film's themes, among which was criticism of the Roman Catholic Church. Though an English language audio track was created for the movie, it was not released in the United States and remained unreleased until 1999 when Anchor Bay Entertainment released the film on DVD and VHS.
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The film has received mixed to positive reviews from critics.
Bloody Disgusting awarded the film a positive score of 4 1/2 out of 5. Praising the film's cinematography, music, and gory special effects, calling it one of their all time favorite film by director Fulci. AllMovie gave the film a positive review calling the film "one of Fulci's more successful outings". TV Guide awarded the film 3 out of 5 stars. Complimenting the film's direction, atmosphere, and well executed murder scenes, stating "Lucio Fulci's murder mystery paints an exceptionally unflattering portrait of small-town Sicily as a backwater rife with perversion, ignorance, madness and murderous small-mindedness".
The film was made available for the first time ever in the United States on both VHS and DVD through Anchor Bay Entertainment as part of the "Lucio Fulci Collection", uncut and remastered, containing its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 for the DVD release. American distribution company Blue Underground released the same version of the film on DVD on 27 February 2007.
In the United Kingdom, Shameless Screen Entertainment made the film available on DVD on 29 August 2011 in a "Shameless Fan Edition", which contains, for the first time, optional English and Italian audio and subtitles, the Italian theatrical trailer and a booklet adapted by Stephen Thrower from Beyond Terror, his definitive book.
- Koven, Mikel J. (2006), "Space ans Place in Italian Giallo Cinema:The Ambivalence of Modernity", La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film, Scarecrow Press, ISBN 978-1461664161
- Koven, Mikel J. (2006), "Murder and Other Sexual Perversions", La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film, Scarecrow Press, ISBN 978-1461664161
- Shipka, Danny (2011), "Italy", Perverse Titillation: The Exploitation Cinema of Italy, Spain and France, 1960-1980, McFarland & Company, ISBN 978-0786448883
- Shipka (2011), p. 104
- Shipka (2011), p. 91
- Koven (2006), p. 66
- Koven (2006), p. 57
- Shipka (2011), p. 143
- "Don't Torture a Duckling -". Bloody Disgusting.com. Bloody Disgusting Staff. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
- Firsching, Robert. "Don't Torture a Duckling - Review - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- "Don't Torture a Duckling Review". TV Guide.com. TV Guide. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
- "DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING by Blue Underground, directed by Lucio Fulci (Zombie, House by the Cemetery, The Beyond)". blue-underground.com. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- "Don't Torture a Duckling". shameless-films.com. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- Don't Torture a Duckling at the Internet Movie Database
- Don't Torture a Duckling at Rotten Tomatoes
- Don't Torture a Duckling at AllMovie