Cinematic Void January Giallo 2023: What Have You Done to Solange? (1972)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Cinematic Void will be playing this classic on Saturday, Jan. 21 at midnight at the Coolidge Corner, Theatre in Brookline, MA. For more information, visit Cinematic Void.

London. The 70’s. Professor of Italian Enrico Rosseni (Fabio Testi, The Four of the Apocalypse) is on his boat, making out with Elizabeth (Cristina Galbó, The Living Dead at Manchester MorgueThe House that Screamed) and trying to get her to go further than she has before. Right when it seems like he’s going to finally conquer her, she looks up to see a woman being stabbed on the shore.

After angrily rowing to the shore, Rosseni and Elizabeth find no evidence of a crime. He accuses her of being too religious, like all the girls at the school her uncle sent her to. The next morning, while he dresses and argues with his wife Helga, he hears about a horrid murder on the banks of the Thames river. He drives to where he and Elizabeth were and finds tons of cops. And there are even more at the school where he works!

The victim was one of Elizabeth’s friends, so she wants to tell the police what they know. However, he doesn’t want the affair exposed. However, his pen has been found near the body and he shows up in the crime scene photographs in the newspaper.

More murders. More clues in Elizabeth’s mind. More priests doing evil things. More anger from Helga. More of Rosseni trying to solve the crime. And all he has is one clue: Who is Solange and what was done to her?

The movie takes a turn when Elizabeth is killed inside the apartment that Rosseni has rented for the two of them to continue their affair. And at that point, Helga starts being much nicer to our hero. As their relationship improves, her makeup grows softer, her clothing gets more fashionable and her hair comes down. How strange to find a giallo about a relationship coming back together as the result of murder!

What happened to Solange (Camille KeatonI Spit on Your Grave)? She was given an abortion that all of the murdered girls were there for. In a kitchen, no less. And all of those girls were involved in doing drugs and dating older men.

So what do the cops do? Oh, just set up a sting operation with all of the surviving girls. And of course, Solange just happens to show up, walking through the park. Here’s the second of course — the cops bungle everything and the killer takes Brenda, asking her the story of Solange, as he did every other victim.

This is one well-put-together film, thanks to Massimo Dallamano, who was the cameraman for Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More. Joe D’Amoto was the cinematographer and added plenty to the film. And you can’t deny the power of having an Ennio Morricone score!

This film is an interesting combination of the German krimi film and the Italian giallo and gave way to Dallamono’s Schoolgirls in Peril trilogy, which includes What Have They Done to Your Daughters? and Rings of Fear.

I always love seeing what titles films get released and re-released under. What Have You Done to Solange? has so many, including an attempt to sell it as a teen comedy entitled The Rah-Rah Girls! You can learn more at the amazing Temple of Schlock site. And for an awesome police report of the events of the film, head to The Giallo Files.

So who was the killer? No spoilers here.

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