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 brilliant Oscar Wilde once affirmed. An irrefutable game changer for big-screen scares, it’s no real surprise to spot the narrative crux and mesmeric visual witchery of 1968’s Rosemary’s Baby—Roman Polanski’s insidious reading of the satanic Ira Levin page-turner—looming palpably over The Perfume of the Lady in Black (Italian: Il profumo della signora in nero, 1974), a gorgeous, dreamlike Rubik’s Cube of a giallo constructed by co-writer/director Francesco Barilli. From painterly splotches of bold primary colour to an emphasis on weird framing, tight close-ups and illusory mise en scène, comparisons between this spiritual twosome are plenteous—and, as illustrated in this brief video, a veritable banquet for the eyeballs.


Copyright © 2021 Nate Roscoe

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