Have You Done
= Highest Rating
Every convention of the giallo formula
is used to terrific effect in the Italian-German
co-production What Have
You Done To Solange? A disturbing, unsettling
film, it's also a fine mystery thriller expertly
lensed by cinematographer Aristide Massaccesi
(alias "Joe D'Amato", director of Beyond
Enrico Rossini (Revolver's
Fabio Testi) is a protagonist in the Bill Clinton
basically a good guy with a fidelity problem:
he cheats on his stern, rather chilly wife. Originally
from Italy, he works as the gymnastics instructor
at an elite Catholic girls' school in London.
His spouse, German-born Herta (Karin Baal), is
also a teacher at the school. The youngest, hippest
member of the faculty, Enrico has a good rapport
with his students... So good, in fact, that he's
fallen into an affair with Elizabeth (beautiful
Christina Galbo), an 18-year old senior from a
prominent English family. One Sunday afternoon,
the clandestine lovers are necking in a rowboat
floating down a wooded stretch of the Thames when
Elizabeth swears she just now witnessed something
terrible on the riverbank. A frightened girl,
a figure in black, the flash of a blade —
she only got fragmentary glimpses of what happened.
Enrico blows her off, sure that she's just trying
to distract him from getting in her knickers.
(Though it would seem they do everything else,
including oral sex, Elizabeth is still a virgin;
she has not been penetrated.) Next morning Enrico
learns that a murder took place near the very
spot where he and his young mistress were boating.
Even worse, the victim was a fellow student of
killer's method was particularly — unspeakably
— heinous. The poor girl was brutally stabbed
in the vagina with a huge knife. As the police,
led by Scotland Yard's Inspector Bart (German
actor Joachim Fuchsberger), begin making inquiries
at the school, Enrico and Elizabeth collude to
keep silent about their tryst. After all, he maintains,
Elizabeth didn't see anything that could really
help the cops catch the killer; the revelation
of their affair would bring scandal to the school.
(And the wife down on Enrico's head.) But when
more students turn up dead in the same horrible
fashion the truth can't help but come out. With
his already strained marriage at the breaking
point and Bart zeroing in on him as a suspect
(though he couldn't have committed the first murder),
Rossini sees no option but to launch his own private
investigation into the crimes. Then Elizabeth
herself is found slain, drowned in the bathtub
of Enrico's "love nest" apartment by a mysterious
figure in black...
date this is the best giallo I've seen which doesn't
have the names Mario Bava or Dario Argento listed
in the credits. There is much to like here. Though
it takes its time getting up to speed, all the
disparate plot elements come together in a most
satisfactory fashion. Loosely based on an Edgar
Wallace novel, the mystery in Solange
is a solid one, not just a framework on which
to hang stylish set-pieces. It should keep you
guessing, and, just as important, keep you wanting
to guess. The horrifying M.O. of the killer is
not a throwaway device used merely to ratchet
up the film's 'creep out' factor — it genuinely
has great relevance to the story's denouement.
Director Massimo Dallamano advances the plot carefully,
avoiding a rushed, hasty climax of the type detrimental
to many a giallo. (As full use of the widescreen
frame is made, this is a film that'd certainly
be compromised if seen in "Pan &
Scam" mode.) A haunting score by Ennio Morriconi
nicely compliments the visuals. And unlike quite
a few Italian thrillers of the period, the voice
dubbing and acting actually aren't half bad.
few words of warning: While not a particularly
gory film (thus not earning an EC "Blood 'n' Guts"
icon), the maniac's method of killing is
truly horrible. The stabbings are never graphically
shown; the filmmakers were thankfully aware that
this was one place the audience really
didn't need to go. Just the thought of it is quite
enough. (This was the first time looking at a
simple x-ray sent a cold shiver down my spine.)
Also, some people would doubtless find a key element
of the plot highly offensive... Happily, they
aren't the sort of folks to watch this type of
film to begin with.
as jam-packed with extras as Shriek Show's previous
slate of Eurohorrors, the company's Region 1 disc
of What Have You Done To Solange?
is nonetheless a more than satisfactory effort.
The video transfer used looks quite good, marred
only occasionally by a negligible amount of print
damage, while the mono audio track is serviceable
if a bit flat. (Voices are clear and intelligible,
though it doesn't do justice to Morricone's music.)
A substantial image gallery, set to the film's main
theme, showcases posters, lobby cards and promotional
materials from a number of different countries.
Five trailers are included, for Solange
and four upcoming Shriek Show releases: Sweet
House of Horrors, House
of Clocks, House
on the Edge of the Park, and Spasmo.
A booklet of liner notes is accentuated with numerous
stills from the production. 9/03/02
The DVD reviewed here went OOP in 2009, and is
now fetching up to $50.