Una sull'altra

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Una sull'altra
Una sull'altra poster.jpg
Directed by Lucio Fulci
Produced by Edmondo Amati
Maurizio Amati
Written by José Luis Martínez Mollá
Screenplay by Lucio Fulci
Roberto Gianviti
Story by Lucio Fulci
Roberto Gianviti
Starring Jean Sorel
Marisa Mell
Elsa Martinelli
John Ireland
Alberto de Mendoza
Jean Sobieski
Faith Domergue
Music by Riz Ortolani
Cinematography Alejandro Ulloa
Edited by Ornella Micheli
Empire Films
Les Productions Jacques Roitfeld
Trébol Films C.C.
Distributed by Fida Cinematografica
Release date
15 August 1969
Running time
97 minutes
107 minutes (uncut version)
Country Italy
Language Italian
Box office 869,000,000

Una sull'altra is a 1969 Italian giallo film directed by Lucio Fulci. Written by Fulci and Roberto Gianviti, the film stars Jean Sorel, Marisa Mell, Elsa Martinelli, Alberto de Mendoza and John Ireland.

Una sull'altra was filmed on location in several United States cities, including a scene filmed in San Quentin State Prison's gas chamber. The film went on to gross 869,000,000, and has been cited as a thematic precursor to later films such as Basic Instinct and Body of Evidence.

Plot summary[edit]

George Dumurrier (Jean Sorel) is a wealthy doctor with the emphasis on the business. He runs a clinic with his younger brother Henry (Alberto De Mendoza), but leaves care of his asthma-stricken wife Susan (Marisa Mell) to her sister Martha (Faith Domergue) and a local nurse. George is soon revealed to be having an affair with Jane (Elsa Martinelli), the personal assistant to Larry (Jean Sobiesky), a trendy photographer. Although very much in love with George, Jane is fatalistic about the future of their relationship.

George and Jane travel out of town for a romantic break in Reno. But after arriving at the casino, George receives a phone call from Henry telling him that Susan has died during a violent asthma attack. Returning home to his plush San Francisco home, George is consoled by Henry, but frozen out by the hostile Martha who has always disapproved of George marrying her sister. However, a $1 million insurance policy left by Susan is a timely bonus for George's recklessly extended business enterprise. But perhaps too likely as an insurance agent (Bill Vanders) begins tailing George, discovers his affair with Jane, and brings his suspicions to the local police detective, Inspector Wald (John Ireland).

Meanwhile, an anonymous tip-off leads George and Jane to 'The Roaring Twenties', a strip club where they are both astonished at the appearance of Monica, a nightclub stripper who, although a luxuriant blond, bears an uncanny resemblance to the dead Susan. George is morbidly attracted to her and soon embarks on an affair that is part detection, part willing seduction. When the police, who have been tailing him, arrest Monica, she tells them that she was paid to pose as Susan by a woman calling herself Betty. Monica, as the police discover, is a popular fixture lately among the city's high class prostitutes. She has a devoted wealthy client, named Benjamin Wormser (Riccardo Cucciola), whose hopeless passion she toys with. When Benjamin hears about Monica's arrest, he arrives at the police station with her exorbitant bail, but soon discover that she has already been spring by someone the police will not name.

A police search led by Inspector Wald of Monica's apartment turns up an envelope containing money. When George's fingerprints are found on the envelope, the police arrest him and charge him with murdering his wife for the life insurance policy. Monica goes missing, and George is tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. Some months later, on the eve of George's execution, his brother Henry arrives for a visit where in the privacy of an interrogation room, the gloating Henry reveals all that has happened: he and Susan have hatched up this entire plot to get him out of the way and get the insurance money all for themselves. Monica is really Susan all along and faked her own death to implicate him. After Henry leaves, George tries to get a stay of execution by informing his lawyer about what Henry said. But despite some last-minute investigation by Inspector Wald, George is unable to clear his name. Only Jane continues to believe his innocence, but she is held in check by Larry.

The day arrives as George is taken out of his cell to the gas chamber to be executed, still protesting his innocence. At the last moment, a phone rings where the state governor orders the execution halted as a telex arrives at the local FBI office that is forwarded to the prison authorities. In a twist of fate, the French police in Paris have informed the U.S. authorities that a woman identified as Susan Weston and her brother-in-law Henry have been shot dead in a local café by the spurned and jealous Benjamin Wormser.


Prior to Una sull'altra, director and screenwriter Lucio Fulci had mostly worked in comedies. The move to the giallo genre coincided with the suicide of his wife; although there is no indication that these events were related and that he was not simply dabbling in an emergent and popular genre.[2] Una sull'altra has been cited as having been inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's film Vertigo.[3] Fulci felt that the script for Una sull'altra was among his best work.[4] Fulci and fellow writer Roberto Gianviti collaborated on a number of films together, including Operazione San Pietro, Una lucertola con la pelle di donna, Zanna Bianca, Il ritorno di Zanna Bianca and Sette note in nero.[5] Producer Edmondo Amati agreed to work on the film as he was already present in the United States, working on Alberto di Martino's Femmine insaziabili.[4] Fulci worked with two assistant directors on the film, Mario Castellani and Albino Cocco; while Vittoria Vigorelli served as script supervisor.[1]

Much of the film was shot on location in San Francisco, Reno and Sacramento; however, interior shots were filmed in Italy. Production began on 2 December 1968 and lasted eight weeks.[4] The film's gas chamber scene was filmed on location in the gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison in California.[6]



Una sull'altra was released in Italy on 15 August 1969,[6] and went on to gross approximately 869 million.[4] The film was also distributed under the titles One on Top of the Other[7]—which is a translation of the original Italian title—and Perversion Story.[8] It has been released on DVD under the latter title by Severin Films, packaged together with the film's soundtrack.[9]


AllMovie's Donald Guarisco felt that the film was "a memorable example of [Lucio Fulci's] work", noting that it "isn't quite as masterful as Argento or Mario Bava's best giallo outings, but Una Sull'Altra is a worthy, well-crafted outing that fans of the genre will find impressive."[10] The film has been cited as a thematic precursor to the later films Basic Instinct and Body of Evidence.[3] Writing for DVD Talk, Ian Jane rated the film four stars out of five, calling it "a well made thriller with some great twists, a strong plot and some fine performances". Jane compared the film to Double Face, an earlier film Fulci had written for Riccardo Freda.[8] The film has been described as contributing to the emergence of the giallo genre as one of increasing eroticism during the late 1960s and early 1970s.[11]


  1. ^ a b "Una sull'altra | BFI". British Film Institute. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Hutchings 2009, p. 135.
  3. ^ a b Shipka 2011, p. 107.
  4. ^ a b c d Albiero & Cacciatore 2004, pp. 91–97.
  5. ^ "BFI | Film & TV Database | GIANVITI, Roberto". bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Fountain, Clarke. "Un Sull'altra (1969) - Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "BFI | Film & TV Database | UNA SULL'ALTRA (1969)". bfi.org.uk. British Film Institute. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Jane, Ian (15 March 2007). "Perversion Story : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". DVD Talk. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  9. ^ "Perversion Story |Severin". severin-films.com. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  10. ^ Guarisco, Donald. "Una Sull'altra (1969) - Review - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  11. ^ Moliterno 2009, p. 151.


  • Albiero, Paolo; Cacciatore, Giacomo (2004). Il terrorista dei generi. Tutto il cinema di Lucio Fulci. Uno monde a parte. ISBN 8890062967. 
  • Hutchings, Peter (2009). The A to Z of Horror Cinema. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810868873. 
  • Moliterno, Gino (2009). The A to Z of Italian Cinema. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810868962. 
  • Shipka, Danny (2011). Perverse Titillation: The Exploitation Cinema of Italy, Spain and France, 1960–1980 (illustrated ed.). McFarland & Company. ISBN 0786448881. 

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