On December 15th, Arrow Video graced the US audience with the classic Massimo Dallamano giallo, ‘What Have You Done To Solange?,’ which is about someone mysteriously singling out girls from St. Mary’s Catholic School and gruesomely murdering them in a twisted revenge plot revolving around a girl named Solange. The killer was seen by Elizabeth (Cristina Galbo), while she was in a boat making out with Ennrico (Fabio Testi). Though she didn’t see much, throughout the film she starts remembering details and goes to the police. When she, the only witness, is killed, it is up to Ennrico and his wife, Herta (Karin Baal) to unravel the killer’s identity and how this mysterious Solange ties into it all.
‘What Have you Done To Solange?,’ is a damn fine giallo. While not very bloody, the offscreen kills and the aftermaths are damn gruesome. The story is very well written and with Solange not being introduced until the 3rd act, the viewer is left wondering throughout the movie: Who is Solange and what was done to her? From a screenwriting standpoint, not introducing a main character until almost the end of the film is highly unconventional, but in this case it works in spades, which makes the ending even more shocking.
A very large part of the film focuses on Ennrico and Herta’s marriage woes. She has such a strict and cold nature, she’d have been perfectly at home in a Nazisplotation film. She’s well aware Ennrico is screwing around with Elizabeth, but they still begrudgingly live together, existing merely as roommates. Here is an observation: Elizabeth ends up being murdered in Ennrico’s bachelor pad. Ennrico is arrested for suspicion of murder, but is cleared of any wrong doing. Then, at the police station, the Inspector lets Herta know that Elizabeth was still a virgin when she died. Herta smiles at this, seemingly not caring that a young girl was just murdered, but at least her husband didn’t screw her. Herta then picks up Ennrico, who is walking, and they decide to work things out, but that he must discover who killed Elizabeth. Nothing like the violent death of a mistress to reignite love’s flame. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a criticism, just something I found darkly humorous, like a violent Maury episode.
Everyone plays their parts very convincingly: Fabio Testi’s Ennrico is a smooth guy, whom all the girls probably have a crush on, Karin Baal’s Herta is the quintessential ice-queen, and all the girls are believable, bubbly teenagers, but the standout is the incomparable Camille Keaton (‘I Spit On Your Grave’), who just so happened to be performing in her first film. Though she’s only on screen for roughly a few minutes, and has only one line, she ties the whole film together with her catatonic, traumatized movements and expressions.
Ennio Morricone’s score is nothing short of masterful. He manages to capture the moods of the film brilliantly, especially in Ennrico’s and Elizabeth’s scenes where the score is very soft and pretty, giving the feeling that even amidst all this murder, nothing can happen to these characters.
Technically speaking, the picture is pretty much flawless, save for a few stray hairs in a couple places, but I personally like those little artifacts because, they let you remember that this was shot on celluloid a long time ago, and the colors are vibrant. The sound is presented in both its original Italian and English in DTS-HD MA Mono 1.0, and it sounds awesome.
While there is a bevy of extra goodies included on the discs, one of the best extras is the booklet, which includes a piece on Ennio Morricone’s score. The juiciest bit is the brand new interview with Camille Keaton conducted by Art Ettinger of the killer ‘Ultra Violent’ magazine entitled, “What Have They Done to Camille Keaton?,” which covers Keaton’s career beginning with ‘What Have You Done To Solange?’
I had only heard of this film by seeing a trailer for it years ago in some sort of Grindhouse trailer compilation, or something of the like, and the title intrigued me because, Solange rolls off the tongue so nicely. ‘What Have You Done To Solange?,’ is another beautiful release by Arrow Video and a great way to round out a stellar year of releases.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
- Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
- Original Italian and English soundtracks in mono audio
- Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
- Brand new audio commentary with critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman
- What Have You Done to Decency? A conversation with Karin Baal – the actress shares her thoughts on Dallamano’s classic giallo in this brand new interview
- First Action Hero – a newly-edited 2006 interview with actor and former stuntman Fabio Testi, including a look at his role in Solange
- Old-School Producer – a newly-edited 2006 interview with producer Fulvio Lucisano
- Innocence Lost: Solange and the “Schoolgirls in Peril” Trilogy – a brand new visual essay by Michael Mackenzie, exploring the themes of Solange and its two semi-sequels
- Original theatrical trailer
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Malleus
- Collector’s booklet featuring a new article on the giallo scores of Ennio Morricone by Howard Hughes, alongside a Camille Keaton career retrospective from Art Ettinger, comprising interview excerpts with the Solange actress, all illustrated with original archive stills and posters