Sister of Ursula (1978)

a.k.a. - La Sorella di Ursula (ITA)

Marc Porel stars in a sexy and well written giallo film from Enzo Milioni. Severin USA R1 DVD

The Film

After the death of their father, Ursula (Barbara Magnolfi) and her sister Dagmar travel down to a small Italian seaside hotel to try and get some rest - Dagmar starts to flirt with the rather unkempt Filipio (Marc Porel) but her sister disproves and resents even being touched. Meanwhile nearby a woman is brutally murdered - Ursula wakes up in shock after this happens and seems to have a psychic connection with the killer. As the kill count rises no-one is sure just who is behind the murders...

Lesser known Italian director Enzo Milioni wrote and directed this curious but surprisingly effective giallo entry. Despite very quickly presenting a gratiuitous nude scene and having a number of quite lengthy sex scenes throughout the film, Sister of Ursula does not fall into the trap of many of the more sleazy giallo films - sacrificing plot and logic for sleaze - instead it manages to work these elements into an impressively well written plot that will certainly keep you guessing right until the end with a good selection of red herrings. The storyline even avoids the rather dull police proceedurals that bog down many genre entries. Milioni's theatrical roots are evident in the well written dialogue between the characters, particularly Ursula's cry for help in a church. Pacing is solid and although there are no comic moments, the film never becomes particularly grim - mostly due to the frequent nudity.

As a director, Enzo Milioni serves the film well making the sex scenes erotic and the murder scenes quite tense, although some viewers will be disappointed that he goes quite easy on the gore - there is a lot of blood but no guts. Some beautiful Italian seaside locations give the film nice backdrop and are well used. The soundtrack credited to Mimi Uva is very strong, ranging from raunchy sex themes to some dramatic orchestral music during the giallo scenes - it really gives the film a boost.

Gothic beauty Barbara Magnolfi (recognisable to most Euro-cult fans for her brief role in Suspiria (1977)) plays the haunted lead particularly well, while genre favourite Marc Porel pleases the ladies even more than usual with a shaggy haircut and an effectively enigmatic performance. There are no big names in the rest of the cast but the performances are generally good and importantly the women all look good naked.

A well crafted mix of sex and mystery, this late giallo film is hardly the genre's best, but is certainly one of the more entertaining and rewatchable entries and genre fans could do a lot worse than to check this one out. Sleaze fans might be disappointed at the relative lack of gore - but the frequent sex scenes and the rather unique choice of murder weapon should do well to appease most viewers. A genuine Euro-cult gem, it comes recommended.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? Marc Porel - made his name with a duo of Lucio Fulci gialli, including Seven Notes in Black (1977)
Directed by anyone interesting? Enzo Milioni - a very little known Italian director whose only other credit of note was second unit work on the grim crime film La Belva col Mitra (1977).
Any gore or violence? Several very bloody scenes.
Any sex or nudity? Frequent female and some brief male nude scenes - several sex scenes bordering on hardcore in places.
Who is it for? Fans of the giallo and Eurocult cinema should enjoy this.

Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour
Print quality and the transfer are very good with strong detail, minimal print damage and only very light grain. The opening and closing titles are rather more grainy.
Audio Italian mono, sounds good and the music comes through very well.
Subtitles English.
Extras The disc includes:
  • A newly shot interview with writer and director Enzo Milioni. He talks in good detail about the reason for the film being made, the casting and the experience of shooting. Very interesting and well edited. Italian with optional English subs. (30m)
  • Original theatrical trailer - Italian with English subtitles.
Region Region 1 (USA) - NTSC
Other regions? Not otherwise available.
Cuts? Believed to be fully uncut as per the original print. A hardcore version of the film was later created by the producer using insert scenes - the director disowned this version. The print used on this DVD is Italian.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 7th March 2008.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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