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Bloodstained Butterfly, The

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Duccio Tessari
Helmut Berger
Evelyn Stewart
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 A young student is murdered in a park by an unseen assailant during a heavy thunderstorm. The murderer makes his escape, but is identified by a number of people at the park exit. A sports presenter from a local TV channel, Alessandro Marchi, is quickly arrested, and despite protestations of innocence, is charged with the murder. Marchi calls his lawyer, who promises to have him released very soon but, when it comes to the trial, the lawyer's case is a weak one, full of holes, and Marchi is duly found guilty.
All is not what it seems, however, and it soon becomes apparent that the lawyer is having an affair with Marchi's wife and obviously does not have Marchi's best interests at heart.
The young student was a French girl, Francoise Pignault, and it is not too long before her father (great character actor Helmut Berger) arrives in town, somewhat unhappy with the result of the court case, and he sets about trying to uncover the real truth behind the murder.
More murders occur, all of them set during a torrential downpour, and it quickly becomes apparent to the police that they have arrested the wrong man as the modus operandi is identical to the French students murder.
Marchi is released from jail, much to his relief. A meeting in the park of a number of the main characters builds to a shocking and suprising climax........
Bloodstained Butterfly is a terrific thriller. The opening murder scene and subsequent dash for freedom by the murderer is all whirling cameras and half seen glimpses of blade and clothing, overscored by a loud piece of classical music from Tchaikovsky, which gives way to a pretty cool jazz theme for the rest of the movie.
After this scene, the film becomes an interesting detective movie, somewhat reminiscent of Argento's Bird with the Crystal Plumage, and then switches back to a typical giallo framework during the second series of murders.
Many of the typical giallo staples are in place, but I dont want to say too much about the finale because it was a genuine surprise to this viewer, and the denoument of the murderer(s?) identity is expertly handled and indeed rather upsetting!!
Tessari's direction is as expert as it always is, making you wish had had spent more time dabbling with thrillers like this one and his other classic giallo film, Death occurred last Night, rather than being something of a jack-of-all-trades in his later years.
The acting is top notch, but a special mention must go to Helmut Berger who is excellent in the role of the student's father, his final scenes being genuinely shocking!
Bloodstained Butterfly is unfortunately not available in English language, but CAN be picked up in a bootlegged subtitled version if you look hard enough.
If you do get the chance to pick it up I urge you to do so-it's a marvellous film and is yet another title that I would love to see receive a DVD release.

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