As Greek tycoon Kostas Maras (Günther Stoll) prepares to sail in a yachting regatta his beautiful young trophy wife Io (Barbara Bouchet) lies in bed with his business partner, Nikos (Robert Behling). The two plot to kill Kostas during the race so it will look like an accident. Yet in the midst of a storm it is Nikos who goes overboard. Thereafter a string of convenient clues leave the police looking at Io for his murder. It slowly dawns on her that Kostas might not be quite so clueless after all.
Seventies Euro-cult cinema relegated women to either of two roles: victim or scheming minx. Few rode this train quite as well as babelicious Barbara Bouchet. While Bouchet shone in the occasional challenging or quirkier role, e.g. Don't Torture a Duckling (1972), Ricco the Mean Machine (1973), Valerie Inside Outside (1972), too often filmmakers in both comedies and thrillers simply invited viewers to cop an eyeful of her charms then hypocritically revel in her 'comeuppance' as a 'slut.' Indeed posters for the Greek production To Agistri (The Hook), re-titled L'Adultera in Italy, featured a bare-breasted Barbara Bouchet leaving punters in no doubt as to what was the principal draw.
Though often billed as a giallo, The Hook is based on a novel that was well regarded in Greece and adapted for the screen by its author Klearchos Konitsiotis. Even so it is a sluggish albeit sporadically sexy melodrama that plods through a lot of dull sailing scenes and traditional Greek dances where the cast show off their Zorba moves on the dance-floor before getting to the sub-The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) murder/love triangle. Errikos Andreou (who also made Act of Reprisal (1964) a drama pairing Ina Balin with future Sherlock Holmes star Jeremy Brett and remained active in Greek erotic thrillers up till Fatal Relationship (2009)) devotes ample time to delighting Bouchet fans with glossy, steamy art-porn scenes with the lovers reflected in overhead mirrors or framed between shafts of light. Yet to the film's credit Bouchet gets the chance to play a broader range of emotions than usual. As Io moves from scheming adulteress to paranoid murder suspect and even turns detective in the third act the star flexes acting muscles often overlooked in light of her luscious looks.
Even so neither Io, Nikos nor certainly Aristotle Onassis stand-in Kostas are especially likable or compelling. Both principal antagonists share the same self-serving ethos ("Let the strongest win"). The lack of a strong emotional hook leaves viewers watching a bunch of selfish rich folks double-crossing each other to the point of tedium before the limp, would-be ironic ending. It is the kind of one-dimensional Seventies Euro-thriller that simply takes it as given that adultery and murder are games played by the rich and decadent along with racing yachts. If the plot does not grab you, lovers of Seventies tat may yet savour the kitschy décor or Bouchet's glamorous outfits.