Saturday, 13 July 2013
Giallorama Double Feature
What Have You Done To Solange?
Directed by Massimo Dallamano
Starring Fabio Testi, Cristina Galbo, Camille Keaton, Joachim Fuchsberger, Karin Baal,
All the Colours of the Dark (1972) alias They're Coming to Get You
Directed by Sergio Martino
Starring Edwige Fenech, George Hilton, Susan Scott, Ivan Rassimov, George Riguad, Luciano Pigozzi
The giallo is an Italian mystery-thriller with elements of the slasher named after the Italian term for "yellow", in relation to the packing of mystery thrillers as yellow-jacket paperbacks in Italy similar to the Gollancz books in the UK. The giallo, in cinema arguably began with Mario Bava's 1964 Blood and Black Lace, and other directors, Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento and the two we will cover today, Sergio Martino and Massimo Dallamano.
Both these films are set and filmed in London with Italian actors, both rely on doomed pregnancy as a McGuffin.The two directors are different. Dallamano (1917-1976) was Sergio Leone's cinematographer, did other films including Dorian Grey (1970), Superbitch (1973) and The NightChild (1975), all UK-made. While they were co-productions with British actors such as Richard Todd, Stephanie Beacham, Richard Johnson and even Michael Sheard, Solange is an Italian-German film, produced by the German makers of the Krimi, the German equivalent of the giallo, based on the novels of British writer Edgar Wallace and German actors Baal and Fuchsberger (in his recurring Scotland Yard Inspector role) appear as part of this co-production deal.
Solange involves Testi as Enrico Rosseni, a teacher who has an affair with a rich pupil (Galbo) who then is mysteriously murdered. He tries to investigate, then hears about Solange (Keaton), a girl whose existence is denied by all. What is going on?
It turns out to be (Spoilers Alert! Spoilers Alert)
that the killer is a paedophile priest who got Solange pregnant, and the abortion Solange got drove her mad.
It's a dark but sublime movie. There's an excellent Ennio Morricone score, some nice London photography, including a foggy, grubby Tower Bridge and the dubbing is serviceable though in unlikely Mid-Atlantic accents. Testi is a captivating performer, and the schoolgirls are over-aged eye candy, but it is dark and an icky experience, not for the faint-heated.
All The Colours of The Dark is similar fare, involving giallo queen Fenech being haunted by a devil cult and Rassimov as a mysterious overalled killer, after a miscarriage. With appearances by good solid Eurocult stars such as Riguad (Horror Express) and Peter Lorre-alike Pigozzi (a Mario Bava regular), it is stylish, slightly pretentious but quite good.
Martino (1938-) is best known for his proto-slasher Torso (1973), as well as doing everything from cannibal movies (Mountain of the Cannibal God, 1978) to the post-apoclayptic extremes of 1983's 2019 - After The Fall of New York. He is a captivating, stylish director, and underrated, every inch the equal of a Fulci or a Bava.
If you like slightly sleazy, strange murder mysteries, these are recommended.