What Have You Done to Solange?
what have you done to solange? | massimo dallamano | bruno di geronimo | fabio testi | karin baal | cristina galbo | giallo | Ennio Morricone | mystery | thriller | italy | west germany | united kingdom | camille keaton | joachim fuchsberger | gunther stoll
Film: What Have You Done to Solange? (Cosa avete fatto a Solange?)
Director: Massimo Dallamano
Writer: Bruno Di Geronimo and Massimo Dallamano
Starring: Fabio Testi, Karin Baal and Cristina Galbó
This was a movie that I’ve heard about on a few different podcasts. The title intrigued me and giallo is a sub-genre I’ve been getting into more of as of late. It was on my list of films to see and thanks to Duncan and the TPUTS Collective show of Where to Begin with Giallo, I finally checked it out. The synopsis here is a teacher who is having an affair with one of his students takes her out on a boat. They see a knife killing on shore. Other gruesome murders tart occurring shortly thereafter and the teacher suspects that he may be the cause of them.
We actually begin with getting the titles over a sequence of teen girls riding their bikes. It has a red filter over it. It then shifts us over to what the synopsis states. Enrico Rosseni (Fabio Testi) is a in a boat with Elizabeth Seccles (Cristina Galbó). We don’t learn it here, but he’s her teacher at a nearby Catholic school for girls. He is also married. He wants to make love to her, but she refuses here. She sees a flash of something. Enrico tries to get her to ignore it. She freaks out though and he takes them back to shore. He does lose a pen in the grass.
At home, Enrico tells his wife of Herta (Karin Baal) who is also a teacher at the same school to change the radio station. They are in a loveless marriage and that is why he’s pursuing Liz. Before the station is changed, he hears a bit about a murder where he was the previous day. He lies to his wife and then goes to place where it happened before going to work. When he arrives there, it appears they’ve been waiting for him. There’s an Inspector Barth (Joachim Fuchsberger) that is talking to all of the teachers and starting to look into things.
Enrico doesn’t do himself any favors here. He was caught in a photograph that made the papers at the crime scene. Plus his pen was found at the crime scene. He becomes the prime suspect, especially because he won’t reveal the reason why he was there. He has to try to solve this crime. The deeper he looks into it; he becomes a target of whoever is doing the killing. The killer starts to pick off other girls and it is through this, we learn that Liz, Brenda Pilchard (Claudia Butenuth) and others from the school had a secret society. Many of them are still virgins, but they were having wild parties with boys and there might even have been some lesbianism.
What this all leads to though is the name of Solange (Camille Keaton). Who is she and what does have to do with all of these murders that are happening?
To break this movie down, we have some interesting concepts we’re playing with here. The first thing is that we’re getting more of the traditional giallo set up that I’m used to. Enrico is the prime suspect as I said for the initial murder that happened and mostly that is just due to carelessness. He then goes into investigating the crime to clear his name. Him being the prime suspect does go away fairly quickly. What is interesting here though is that the police aren’t bumbling. They don’t have all of the information which is why they can’t connect some of these dots. Enrico isn’t the most forthcoming until he needs to be or has exhausted a lead as well.
There is also the idea of this group of young ladies. It is set up in the beginning, but we learn more about them as we go. What is interesting is that as they are killed, we at first think they’re innocent. The more this gets looked into, they aren’t as ‘pure’ as we originally believed. That isn’t to say they shouldn’t be allowed to do the things they are. If they want to do drugs, party and have fun with boys, which is fine. What I do have an issue with though is what happens to Solange. I’m not going to spoil it here, but it is sad.
Going along with these young ladies, I think it is interesting that we have the backdrop of the Catholic school. Enrico is cheating on his wife. These girls are being pretty wild and not really following the religion that they’re practicing. I can’t fault them there as it does partially feel like it is pushed on them. We do learn that many of them are still virgins, so maybe they buy in at least enough. The prime suspect though is a priest. Father Webber (Marco Mariani) and others don’t believe it could be, as the priest in question doesn’t fit the description of those working there.
I think I’ll move over to the acting now. Testi plays a great character and has a good look about him. I hate him though. He no longer loves his wife and is cheating on her. They have this weird reconciliation. How he plays the role is fine, I’m just not a fan of how this is written. Baal is good as the brooding wife, but again, not a fan that she decides to take him back over a little bit of information. Fuchsberger is good as the inspector. What is interesting here is that he’s not bumbling. I thought that Galbó, Butenuth and the rest of the girls are attractive. This movie is a bit sleazy so we get to see them all nude. We also have an interesting cameo here by Keaton. I think the performance she gives works along with the rest of the cast.
Moving this over to the effects of the movie, I think they’re pretty solid. We actually don’t get a lot of them to be honest though. There are a couple of times we see the murder happening, but it isn’t overly graphic. What we really get is the aftermath. This is done practical and the way the murders are happening correlates back into why the killer is targeting these individuals. Aside from that, the filter over the opening sequence works and I think the cinematography is well done. The framing is good to progress the story and build mystery.
Then I would say the last thing to go over is the soundtrack. I was stoked to see Ennio Morricone’s name during the credits. I really like what did with the score here as it fits for what he needed it to do. It helped to build tension and also get my anxiety going. I’m not saying it is the best soundtrack he’s put together, but he was really a master of his craft for sure.
So now with that said, I’m really glad that I finally gave this a viewing. This is an interesting giallo film that follows many of the normal plotlines you would expect. I think that the mystery we get here works and it does feel like they’ve cheated. The acting of this movie is really good across the board, but I will say that I personally just have some issues with how certain characters are written. It is subdued on the effects, but I don’t think that hurts the movie. We also have good cinematography and soundtrack to help this movie for me. I would rate this as good movie that with more watches could definitely go up in my opinion.
My Rating: 8.5 out of 10