MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN (1960)
(a.k.a. IL MULINO DELLE DONNE DI PIETRA)
Article #992 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12/2/2003
Posting Date: 4/30/2004
Directed by Giorgio Ferroni
Featuring Pierre Brice, Scilla Gabel, Wolfgang Preiss
A writer has an affair with a sculptor’s daughter who suffers from a mysterious illness. Her death brings on a series of strange events.
You don’t have to be a genius to figure out what one of the horrible secrets of the mill will be; the print ads and trailers actually leave little doubt to the nature of one of the revelations in this story. On the down side, the first half of the movie is very slow, confusing, and the dubbing is very awkward. Things do pick up quite a bit during the second half of the movie, though; once certain key events take place, it becomes a better-than-average Italian-French horror thriller. It also benefits from some truly eerie moments, and a wonderful milieu; it mostly takes place in a mill where the wind causes a parade of stone figures to pass by on a stage, and it makes for an exotic and unusual setting. Unfortunately, the movie opens with some stupid and sexist narration about the perfidy and evil of women that implies that the horrible events perpetrated by the two villains of the piece are really the result of the daughter, who (unavoidably) plays a passive role during much of the proceedings; this isn’t logic, this is trying to pass the buck. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression.