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DVD Review: A Taste Of Excitement (1970)


Heard of Don Sharp? He directed one of our favourite cult classics, Psychomania. So when I saw his name attached to a new DVD from Odeon called A Taste Of Excitement...well..I made a point of getting a copy pretty sharpish. After all, it starred everyone's favourite moustache man, Peter Bowles, had a Keith Mansfield soundtrack and a South of France setting (in the days when it was the swingin' place to be). What could possibly go wrong...? After watching the opening scenes, I suspected very little could go wrong to be honest.

That scene shows and unknown assailant trying to ram Jane Kerrell (Eva Renzi) and her Mini off a particularly dangerous road somewhere in the French Riviera. She survives (just), but she's shaken enough to go to the police about it. But the threats don't end there, continuing in her hotel and as she drives around the area, not that the police seem interested. She's eventually befriended by a rather menacing psychiatrist, Dr. Forla (George Pravda) and a British artist by the name of Paul Hedley (David Buck), as well as being continually pursued by the villainous Alfredo Guardi (Peter Bowles).

It turns out that the threats are connected to a death on the Dover ferry - Jane being the last person the victim spoke to. Indeed, Inspector Malling (Peter Vaughan) and Mr. Breese (Francis Matthews) arrive in France to find the link between Jane and the dead man, as well as trying to keep her alive and out of the clutches of the people who believe she has vital information passed to her from the dead man (prior to his death obviously) concerning an international crime network. Got that? Good. Because it's not the easiest plot to follow.

Which is basically the problem with A Taste Of Excitement. It's not a bad film - far from it - but it is a tough one to follow. On the plus side, it plays out like an Italian Giallo, without the blood and the sensationalism. After all, this was a British thriller that had to pass the censors (although there is a bit of nudity squeezed in). It also has some stunning scenery that'll have you reaching for the holiday brochures and something of a laid back, cool vibe.

I just wish the plot was just a little easier to follow and the characters were more developed. At the end, I was still unclear as to who the 'baddies' actually were and what they were looking for. Maybe some of the time and effort devoted to the 'love story' of the two leads could have been given over to the rest of the cast and to simplifying the plot. Some extra care and attention here (as well as a bigger budget and a bit more action in the middle part of the movie) would really have turned A Taste Of Excitement into a contender.

As it stands, it's an interesting late 60s period piece that's very easy on the eye as well as the wallet. Not a classic, but well worth watching or renting if you like a 60s thriller.

Find out more about the DVD at the Amazon website


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