La morte ha fatto l’uovo, AKA Plucked
“I think that’s a peculiar way to put it, men and chickens mixed up like that.”–Death Laid an Egg (dubbed version)
DIRECTED BY: Giulio Questi
FEATURING: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Gina Lollabrigida, Ewa Aulin, Jean Sobieski
PLOT: The movie opens with a prostitute killed in a hotel room. The action then moves to an experimental poultry farm, largely automated but overseen by Marco, his wife Anna, and their beautiful live-in secretary Gabri. The plot slowly reveals a love triangle, with multiple betrayals, with Marco’s growing disgust at the poultry business brought to a boil when he finds a scientist has bred a species of headless mutant chickens for sale to the public.
- The title was almost certainly inspired by a line from Surrealist icon Federico Garcia Lorca‘s “Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias“: “Death laid eggs in the wound/at five in the afternoon.” Late in the movie Marco will mutter to himself “At 5 o’clock… the machine… the egg… the work…” and several shots focus on a clock approaching the 5 PM mark.
- The second of an unofficial trilogy of surrealist movies director Giulio Questi made in “disreputable” genres. For more on Questi’s odd career, see the last paragraph of the Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! review.
- Death Laid an Egg was restored in 2016 by Nucleus Films from a newly discovered negative that contained a couple minutes of footage not seen in previous releases. The film was available on VHS in a dubbed version, but outside of suspect bargain versions from overseas, it was unavailable on DVD or Blu-ray until 2017.
- Bruno Maderna, who wrote the atonal score, was an accomplished classical composer and conductor who died of cancer at the relatively young age of 53, a mere five years after Death Laid an Egg was completed.
INDELIBLE IMAGE: The exotic Lollabrigida and the nubile Aulin are a tempting pair of birds, but they’re upstaged by the actual poultry in this one. The oddest sight of all is hens stuffed into file folders for alphabetization (?) in a chicken functionary’s office.
THREE WEIRD THINGS: Playboy chickens; filed chickens; all-breast chickens
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: A juicy slice of Mario Bava breaded with a coating of Luis Buñuel and seasoned with a sprinkling of Jean-Luc Godard, Death Laid an Egg was the world’s first (and so far, only) deep-fried, chicken-centric Surrealist giallo.
Original Italian trailer for Death Laid an Egg
COMMENTS: Personal anecdote: the first time I watched Death Laid Continue reading 309. DEATH LAID AN EGG (1968)