Double Face

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Double Face
Double Face (German poster).jpg
German theatrical poster to Double Face (1969)
Directed by Riccardo Freda
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Riccardo Freda
  • Paul Hengge
Story by
Music by Nora Orlandi[1]
Cinematography Gábor Pogány[1]
Edited by
  • Colt Produzioni Cinematografiche S.r.l.
  • Mega Film S.p.A.
  • Rialto Film Preben Philipsen GmbH & Co. KG[1]
Distributed by
  • Constantin (West Germany)
  • Panta (Italy)
Release date
  • 4 July 1969 (1969-07-04) (West Germany)
  • 26 July 1969 (1969-07-26) (Italy)
Running time
80 minutes
  • Italy
  • West Germany[1]
Budget DM 1.3 million
Box office ₤175.626 million

Double Face (Italian: A doppia faccia, German: Das Gesicht im Dunkeln) is a 1969 thriller film directed by Riccardo Freda and starring Klaus Kinski.



During the later part of director Riccardo Freda's career, the director began attempting commercially viable genres.[2] Freda met with Italian producer Oreste Coltellacci who set up a deal with the German company Rialto who created several work in the German subgenre called the krimi.[2] The krimis were inspired by the works of Edgar Wallace and had been popular since Harald Reinl's film Der Frosch mit der Maske (1959)[2] In Germany, the film was promoted as being based on Das Gesicht im Dunkeln by Edgar Wallace.[2] This was done for commercial reasons as the script had nothing to do with the book.[2] The original story for the film was developed by Lucio Fulci, Romano Migliorini and Giambattista Mussetto.[2] The films screenplay is credited to Freda and Austrian-born Paul Hengge.[2] According to Giusti, Fulci wrote the first treatment.[3] Fulci would claim in an interview in 1994 that he wrote the film for Freda.[2][4] He disliked the film, stating that Freda had "completely crushed it down to a pulp; at that time, he just didn't care anymore."[4][5]

When casting the film, Freda met with Klaus Kinski in Rome where Kinski initially refused to be in the film not wanting to play another psychopathic character.[6] Freda convinced him to take the role after learning he would play the part of victim instead.[6]

Double Face was shot between January 20 and March 15 1969 in London, Liverpool and Rome.[1] Freda and Kinski did not get along on set, with Freda referring to him as "the crown Prince of Assholes"[6] and eventually shot proceeding shooting the film with a Kinski double he found on the set of a Federico Fellini film.[6] When Kinski found out about this, he put aside his differences and continued work on the film.[6]


Double Face was released in West Germany on 4 July 1969 under the title of Das Gesicht im Dunkeln (lit. The Face in the Dark) with an 80 minute runtime.[1][7][8] It was distributed in West Germany by Constantin Film GmbH.[1] It was released theatrically in Italy as A doppia faccia on 26 July 1969 where it was distributed by Panta.[7][8] The film grossed 175,626,000 Italian lire domestically in Italy.[7][8]

It was released later in France as Liz et Helen (lit. Liz and Helen), Puzzle of Horrors[9][10] and also with added adult scenes involving actress Alice Arno as Chaleur et Jouissance (lit. Heat and Pleasure).[11]


Film critic Marco Giusti writes that Kinski "is mad, hysterical, but dominates the film", remembers the nice intrigue around Kinski's character, and praises the lesbian scenes.[5]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Das Gesicht im Dunkeln".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Curti 2017, p. 238.
  3. ^ Giusti 1999, p. 3.
  4. ^ a b Curti 2017, p. 239.
  5. ^ a b Giusti 1999, p. 5.
  6. ^ a b c d e Curti 2017, p. 240.
  7. ^ a b c Curti 2017, p. 325.
  8. ^ a b c Curti 2017, p. 326.
  9. ^ "Double Face". Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  10. ^ "A Doppia Faccia (1969) - Riccardo Freda - Related - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  11. ^ Lucas, Tim. Blood and Black Lace DVD, Image Entertainment, 2005. ASIN: B000BB1926


  • Brizio-Skov, Flavia (2011). Popular Italian Cinema: Culture and Politics in a Postwar Society. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 1848855729.
  • Curti, Roberto (2017). Riccardo Freda: The Life and Works of a Born Filmmaker. McFarland. ISBN 1476628386.
  • Giusti, Marco (1999). dizionario dei film italiani STRACULT [sic]. Cles: Sterling & Kupfer. ISBN 88-200-2919-7.
  • Paul, Louis (2005). Italian Horror Film Directors. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-8749-3.

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