Wessex On Screen: May Morning

May Morning, also known as Alba Pagana and Murder At Oxford, is a 1970 Italian giallo film set in Oxford University. Giallo is an Italian genre of crime fiction, often with strong erotic elements, taking its name from the yellow covers of the cheap paperback books where the genre originated.

Italian student Valerio Montelli (Allesio Orano) disrupts the rigid social structures at Oxford, being all foreign and that, especially when he falls for Flora (Jane Birkin), daughter of one of his professors. Things come to a head at the titular May Morning revels, leading to tragic consequences.

May Morning has attracted controversy due to the brutality of its climax, but it provides an interesting outsider's view of decadent Oxford society at the time of the post-Woodstock comedown from the swinging sixties. Despite being filmed entirely on location at Oxford, I can find no evidence that it was ever released in Britain. However, it is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

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