Plot: A mystery novel (giallo) author finds himself in the middle of a creative crisis as he struggles to come up with an idea for his latest novel and deliver it to his publisher on time. When a woman is murdered in the apartment above, his wife and agent persuade him to take his inspiration from the police investigation which is unfolding around them.
Directed by Giacomo Gentilomo in 1941, Brivido is very much a giallo in every sense of the word, with a narrative that could have been lifted out of any number of Agatha Christie novels. Based on the comedy Il Triangolo Magico/The Magic Triangle, by Alessandro de Stefani, (with a screenplay co-authored by Mario Monicelli and Mino Caudana) it is categorized as a giallo-rosa (pink giallo), a term used to describe films where there is an equal emphasis on comedy as well as mystery and suspense – in this sense Brivido continues in the tradition of Mario Monicelli’s earlier Giallo, which is also played for laughs as much as it is for thrills. Most of the cast and crew were reunited two years later in another very similar production entitled, Cortocircuito/Short Circuit, also directed by Giacomo Gentilomo.
Parts of the original audio track were destroyed or lost during WW2 and had to be re-recorded in 1947 – the video below identifies the different actors whose voices were re-dubbed.
Although filmed entirely in Italy with an Italian cast and crew, the fascist regime, led by dictator and film afficionado Benito Mussolini, forbade films like Brivido from being set in Italy – Instead encouraging more homegrown, realist productions, often emphasising the plight of the every day man, or dealing with social issues, such as separation, working conditions, the role of a woman, etc…. While this approach would soon give birth to the much celebrated neo-realism genre, it made life very difficult for producers to get approval for films like Brivido which were very clearly intended as light-hearted escapist cinema, inspired by their American counterparts which were banned in Italy during WW2. Film makers found a way to get around these new restrictions by simply changing the names and locations to places outside of Italy – For this reason, Brivido is set in Budapest, Hungary (although we never actually get to see any of Budapest) and all the characters have Hungarian names.