Film #347: PASSPORT FOR A CORPSE aka LASCIAPASSARE PER IL MORTO
Passport For a Corpse (aka Lasciapassare Per il Morto)
2 out of 5 stars
From 1962 and first-time director, Mario Gariazzo (GOD WILL FORGIVE MY PISTOL, WHITE SLAVE, ENTER THE DEVIL) comes this Italian crime drama / existential art film. Maurizio and his gang make plans to rob a van loaded with bank notes. Things go sideways and everyone in his group is killed except for him. Now, the cops are hot on Maurizio’s heels, so he makes plans with his girlfriend to get across the Italian / French border. As he makes his way across the terrain, he finds the border is heavily guarded. So, through a unique happenstance, the opportunity to stow away in a casket so that he might avoid the authorities presents itself. Long story short, Maurizio unboxes himself to find he is not in France, but in an isolated Italian morgue. He then must break himself out of the icy confines of the morgue’s refrigerator. Once free, the film climaxes with Maurizio still trying to find his girlfriend and instead committing to one of the most protracted death scenes in cinema. Filmed in beautiful black & white, PASSPORT FOR A CORPSE sadly unravels far too slowly to justify its 90 minute run-time. Albert Lupo (THE AGONY AND THE ECSTACY), while an adequate actor, is in far too deep to prop up the premise. This might have made for a pretty dynamite TWILIGHT ZONE or NIGHT GALLERY episode, but a full feature… it’s just too much and unspools far too slowly. Fans of early '60s Italian cinema may dig this or folks who like odd, existential crime flicks / noir, but…you’re gonna want to keep your finger on the Fast Forward button to move things along.