The Fifth Cord

The Fifth Cord (Italian: Giornata nera per l'ariete, lit. Black Day for the Ram) is a 1971 Italian giallo film directed by Luigi Bazzoni. The film's Italian title reprises Dario Argento's practice of using animals in the titles of his thriller films.[1] The film is based on a novel with the same name by D.M. Devine.[2]

The Fifth Cord
The Fifth Cord Poster.jpg
Italian film poster by Ermanno Iaia
Directed byLuigi Bazzoni
Produced byManolo Bolognini
Screenplay byMario di Nardo
Mario Fanelli
Luigi Bazzoni
Based onThe Fifth Cord
by D.M. Devine
StarringFranco Nero
Silvia Monti
Rossella Falk
Edmund Purdom
Luciano Bartoli
Maurizio Bonuglia
Pamela Tiffin
Music byEnnio Morricone
CinematographyVittorio Storaro
Edited byEugenio Alabiso
B.R.C. Produzione
Distributed byJumbo Cinematografica
Release date
28 August 1971
Running time
90 minutes


"Mr. Bild" is a reporter with a drinking problem who is assigned to investigate an assault in a tunnel. In the meantime, a number of murders begin to pile up in which the killer is leaving a black glove with digits cut off to symbolize the number of people he has killed. The speculation is that the first victim was not killed due to the intervention of a couple making out near the tunnel, but now the killer has returned to finish killing his victims. The police have no clues, but as Mr. Bild gets closer and closer to the truth, the police begin to suspect him, his newspaper tries to take him off the story, and the killer makes threatening phone calls.


Critical receptionEdit

From a contemporary reviews, David McGillivray reviewed an 80-minute dubbed language version of the film in the Monthly Film Bulletin.[3] McGillivray commented that the film had too many "red herrings" to make up for the films "meagre characterisation, the scrambled course of its plot, or its shamefully deceptive ending."[3] McGillivray stated later that Bazzoni's "briskly paced direction (combined with the efforts of the British censor) contrives to sweep it all under the carpet as quickly as possible."[3]

AllMovie called it an "outstanding giallo thriller".[4]

Marina Antunes for the Alliance of Women Film Journalists while conceding that "Sometimes it’s just a bit too much and even the most astute viewer is likely to get lost among some of the weeds," praised the cinematography and Nero's acting, finally concluding that "While it sometimes loses its way, in the end The Fifth Cord comes together in an entertaining, occasionally awe-inspiring package that stands the test of time as a fine example of the giallo genre."[5]


  1. ^ Giovannini, Fabio (1986). Dario Argento: il brivido, il sangue, il thrilling. Edizioni Dedalo.
  2. ^ Poppi, Roberto; Pecorari, Mario (1996). Dizionario del cinema italiano. Gremese Editore.
  3. ^ a b c McGillivray, David (November 1973). "Giornata Nera per l'Ariete (Evil Fingers)". Monthly Film Bulletin. Vol. 40 no. 478. British Film Institute. p. 227.
  4. ^ Firsching, Robert. "Giornata Nera Per l'Ariete - Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 1 August 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Antunes, Marina. "THE FIFTH CORD – Review by Marina Antunes". Retrieved 4 July 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit