Nicole Rochard (Nieves Navarro) is a stripper. When her father, an international jewel thief, gets murdered on a train the Paris police question her about a million dollars worth of diamonds that were stolen. She insists that her father was no longer in the trade and that she knows nothing about any diamonds.
Soon after Nicole begins getting crazy phone calls from someone who believes she has the stones. She is then assaulted in her own home by someone dressed in black and wearing blue contact lenses. Nichole’s boyfriend Michel Aumont (Simon Andreu) doesn’t believe her and does very little except get drunk and sponge off her. The next day she finds a pair of blue contact lenses in her medicine cabinet. Believing Michel is her stalker Nicole races from the apartment.
Not long before that Nicole met Dr. Robert Matthews (Frank Wolff). Robert is an eye doctor who is married to the very rich Vanessa (Claudie Lange). He is also a big fan of Nichole so when she asks him to take her away to England with him he readily agrees. Robert takes her to a cottage on the coast not far from a small fishing village. For awhile Nicole relaxes and the relationship with Robert begins to deepen.
It doesn’t take long before what Nicole tried to leave behind finds her and comes back on her full force.
“Death Walks on High Heels” AKA “La morte cammina con i tacchi alti” was released in 1971 and was directed by Luciano Ercoli. It is an Italian mystery thriller and a giallo. Ercoli was married to the female star Nieves Navarro. Navarro used the name Susan Scott for the American release.
The first part of the film focuses on Nieves Navarro dancing naked. There are two dance acts; one in blackface no less, that she does as a stripper. Use to be that a stripper was someone who danced and took their clothes off one piece at a time. The anticipation was most of the thrill. Now they come out in basically just a g-string and maybe a boa. There’s nothing to take off other than something that’s already see through. Gone is any artistic talent. After that we see Nieves Navarro standing naked, walking naked and lounging naked.
Gialli is notorious for combining sex and murder. Typical of gialli, the movie is full of twists and turns and a few red herrings. Everyone looks and acts suspicious. The plot is a little busy but that too is part of the genre. Other than the first murder that happens before the credits, it takes awhile to get to the string of murders. There is also a squeamish close up of an eye surgery included.
Navarro’s co-star is Simon Andreu, who plays Michel Aumont. He is a drunken, jealous hot head that spends his time either criticizing Nicole or beating up other men. He ends up on a crusade that takes a lot of energy. In the first half of the film the focus is on Nichol and sex but in the second half it’s basically all Michel and violence.
It’s interesting and engaging film. The story is good and the cinematography is great. The plot may be a little confusing at times but if you stick with it the ending has an extra twist to it.