ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sean Mitus grew up watching Chiller Theater & Pittsburgh UHF channels and has been a drive-in enthusiast for the last seven years. Sean enjoys all genres but has recently become interested in Italian Giallo and Poliziotteschi genres.
After screening many giallo and poliziotteschi films, a few have stuck for their gritty settings and pulsing plots. What Have They Done with Your Daughters? is a grubby, nasty film that blends both genres with some entertaining set pieces. It’s an angry film that reflects the socio-political turmoil raging in Italy at the time it was released. Best of all, tt’s a great film to introduce someone to get them interested in seeing more giallos or poliziotteschi!
Massimo Dallamano deftly directs the film whose central theme is of the exploitation of corruption of teenage schoolgirls who are treated as disposable chattel by the powerful and wealthy elite. Our heroes are the trio of Mario Adorf (my favorite supporting actor in poliziotteschi) as the gruff Police Commissioner, Giovanna Ralli as the strong, independent female Assistant District Attorney and Claudio Cassinelli as the relentless police Commissioner. Cassinelli edgy performance brilliantly anchors the film. The cast is rounded out by many familiar genre actors.
Some welcome elements to the drive-in mutants in the audience include salacious crime scenes, autopsy reports, secret tape recordings, tense chases, surprise mutilations, and two thrilling motorcycle chases. An early killer is decked out in an all-black motorcycle outfit trope present in many giallo/slashers like Strip Nude for Your Killer, Night School and Nightmare Beach.
What you won’t see are the gunfights ore senseless killing found in other contemporary poliziotteschi of the time. What you will see is an intelligent Eurocrime thriller with a social message accompanied by a great score by Stelvio Cipriani. In the end you really appreciate how the schoolgirls are used and consumed and discarded. Even the masked (helmeted) killer proves to be just another tool of his elite masters. Ultimately, you’ll root for the trio as they refuse to stop investigating into the higher levels of society and government!
If you like this film and would like to see more like it, I recommend checking out these giallo/poliziotteschi hybrids previously reviewed on the site:
What Have You Done to Solange aka Cosa avete fatto a Solange? (1972) by Massimo Dallamano, first in the girls in peril trilogy and a classic of the giallo genre.
Enigma Rosso aka Red Rings of Fear (1978) by Alberto Negrin, the loose third in girls in peril trilogy
Suspicious Death of a Minor aka Morte sospetta di una minorenne (1975) by Sergio Martino, cracking good crime yarn starring Claudio Cassinelli
Short Night of Glass Dolls aka La corta notte delle bambole di vetro (1971) by Aldo Lado, a prime example of a man versus the elite
All the Colors of the Dark aka Tutti i colori del buio (1972) by Sergio Martino, a classic starring Edwige Fenech and George Hilton
So Deadly, So Perverse, Vol. 2 – Troy Howarth; Midnight Marquee Press, Inc; 2015, pg. 27-30.
Italian Crime Filmography – Roberto Curti; McFarland & Company; 2013, pg. 124-126.
“What Have They Done to Society?” Michael Mackenzie – Arrow Video; 2018, pgs. 4-18.