The Devil Is in the Detail: The Visual Kinship of ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘The Perfume of the Lady in Black’


mitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, the great Oscar Wilde once mused. An irrefutable game-changer for scary movies, it’s no real surprise to spot the aesthetic witchery—and, indeed, narrative kernel—of Roman Polanski’s 1968 satanic stunner looming palpably over The Perfume of the Lady in Black (Italian: Il profumo della signora in nero, 1974), an arresting and gorgeously dreamlike jigsaw of a giallo conceived by co-writer/director Francesco Barilli. From the painterly appliance of bold primary colour, to an employment of extreme close-ups, illusory mise en scène and offbeat framing, comparisons between this spiritual double bill are plenteous—and, as the following visual essay exhibits, a veritable banquet for the eyeballs.


Copyright © 2021 Nate Roscoe

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