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Cock Crows at Eleven (1978)

L'immoralità (original title)
Federico is a child-killer running from the law. Wounded, he is taken in by a 12 year old girl named Simona. Their strange love affair is interrupted by Simona's depressed, oversexed mother... See full summary »


Massimo Pirri


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Cast overview:
Lisa Gastoni ... Vera / Mother
Howard Ross Howard Ross ... Federico / child-killer
Karin Trentephol Karin Trentephol ... Simona / Daughter
Andrea Franchetti Andrea Franchetti ... Lieutenant
Mel Ferrer ... Vera's husband
Franco Ferri Franco Ferri
Deborah Lupo Deborah Lupo
Ida Meda Ida Meda
Wolfango Soldati Wolfango Soldati ... Antonio / the avenger (as Volfango Soldati)


Federico is a child-killer running from the law. Wounded, he is taken in by a 12 year old girl named Simona. Their strange love affair is interrupted by Simona's depressed, oversexed mother Vera, who concocts a plan with Federico to kill her wheelchair-bound, reclusive husband. Simona does not take kindly to this new relationship between Federico and Vera. Written by lonamer

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Drama | Thriller


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Release Date:

20 November 1978 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Cock Crows at Eleven See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Telecolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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User Reviews

L' IMMORALITA' (Massimo Pirri, 1978) ***
12 June 2007 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This is the third Lisa Gastoni "mignotta-movie" (to borrow a phrase from Italian Euro-Cult authority Marco Giusti) I've watched – after THANK YOU AUNT (1968) and Fernando Di Leo's SEDUCTION (1973) – in which a middle-aged woman is seduced by a much younger man. Also, like SEDUCTION, here the man is, in turn, seduced by Gastoni's sexually precocious daughter. However, this fact is even more disturbing than the earlier film because the girl involved in this case is not yet 12-years old! There is even one rather graphic love scene between the girl and the man in the bathroom, which follows further nudity as she is seen coming out of the bath and drying out; that it does not feel reprehensible or exploitative is a tribute to the remarkably sensitive performance of Karin Trentephol (who, perhaps unsurprisingly, never made another film appearance) as the girl.

Lisa Gastoni (at 43) is still a sensual and attractive woman and has her hair dyed reddish blonde here, but this proved to be the last of several roles in a similar mode – to which I alluded above and of which I wouldn't mind catching Jerzy Kawalerowicz's MADDALENA (1971) and Giulio Petroni's LABBRE DI LURIDO BLU (1975); in fact, she went into a long period of retirement right after this one before re-emerging two years ago. A welcome surprise is the appearance of veteran Hollywood star Mel Ferrer (as Gastoni's wheelchair-bound cynic of a husband) who adds some much needed dignity to the proceedings; while he had been appearing sporadically in Italian films since 1954, interestingly, his role here does not feel like a mere "meal ticket" – unlike some of his other Italian film work of the period, namely THE ANTICHRIST (1974), THE VIOLENT PROFESSIONALS (1975), etc. Unfortunately, Howard Ross' one-dimensional characterization of the rapist/serial killer sticks out like a sore thumb alongside this caliber of acting and, in any event, the actions of the characters strain credibility on occasion – Ferrer is conspicuously absent most of the time (although he is inherently aware of all that goes on in his household and his eventual suicide arises more out of selfishness than resignation at his crippled condition or the immorality of his kinfolk), not to mention the fact that the investigating police officer decides to consummate his obsession with Gastoni while the manhunt for the rapist is in full swing.

Still the film is buoyed by Ennio Morricone's unusually subtle yet effortlessly haunting piano-led score and Massimo Pirri's firm directorial control that ensures the impact of several sequences on the viewer: the powerful opening scene in which Ross is holding his latest victim in his hands on his way to burying her; the lengthy, moving stairway confrontation between Gastoni and Trentephol; the confrontation between Ferrer and Gastoni in which the latter sadistically taunts the former by taking a hysterical spin on his wheelchair, and the twist ending which concludes the film on an admirably ironic note. While the central premise of a girl hiding and aiding a fugitive is reminiscent of WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND (1961) and THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE (1973), the action set-piece around the mid-point – where a band of villagers break into Ferrer's house with the intention of smoking the rapist out – is straight out of Sam Peckinpah's STRAW DOGS (1971). An odd attribute of the Italian DVD I watched is that some over-exposed shots jarred alongside the more naturalistic lighting within these same scenes, but I'm not sure whether this is a fault of the DVD transfer or if they were filmed that way to begin with...

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