What Have You Done To Solange? (1972)

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And finally, I reach the last Giallo film I’m going to cover (or at least, the last one for now…). What Have You Done To Solange? was a Giallo film created by Massimo Dallamano, best known as the acclaimed Cinematographer of Sergio Leone’s A Fistful Of Dollars and For A Few Dollars More, but he was also the Director of cult, underground Italian films such as What Have They Done To Your Daughters? and Venus In Furs. Massimo Dallamano may not have enjoyed a grand cinematic career, but What Have You Done To Solange? remains his most popular movie to date, a cult classic of Giallo cinema by today’s standards and one of the most notable inclusions into the infamous Britsploitation genre of exploitation cinema (exploitation films set in England which are created by either British or non-British film-makers), and What Have You Done To Solange? definitely nailed the 1970’s English aesthetic. What Have You Done To Solange? was also noteworthy as the first film to star actress Camille Keaton, best known for her powerful role as Jennifer Hills in the legendarily disturbing I Spit On Your Grave, a role which seriously hurt her reputation as a rising star of 1970’s cinema.

What Have You Done To Solange? is a very traditional Giallo film, even down to the jazzy soundtrack created by the legendary Ennio Morricone. The story of What Have You Done To Solange? centers around a psycho-sexual gloved killer, an intelligent police inspector, and a witness – a teacher who’s involved in an illicit affair with a student – who becomes deeply involved with the crimes. In fact, in many ways, What Have You Done To Solange? feels very similar to the early works of Dario Argento. Both Dario Argento’s The Bird With The Crystal Plumage and What Have You Done To Solange? share many similarities: a gloved killer, a foreign protagonist, and a plot thread that involves a character recalling clues through memory – a trademark of Dario Argento’s movies. However, what makes What Have You Done To Solange? stand out from the works of Dario Argento is the film’s dramatic storytelling. What Have You Done To Solange? doesn’t focus on a deep mystery with plenty of twists and turns, instead the film focuses on the multiple characters, their emotional development and how the murders affect them and their relationships with one another. A lot of the film’s plot seems very coincidental as a lot of clues come out of nowhere with no logic, poise or grandiose reveal, but because of how well-written the characters are, and the fact that their relationship to one another is fleshed-out and detailed, the lack of mystery and suspense doesn’t hurt the film’s interesting story too badly.

These well written characters are supported by some incredibly strong performances from a cast of talented actors and actresses. Fabio Testi (Contraband) gives an excellent performance as main protagonist Enrico Rosseni, Christina Galbo (The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue) gives a strong performance as his young lover, and Joachim Fuchberger (The Face Of Fu-Manchu) is simply amazing as the film’s intelligently diligent inspector. But the best performance definitely comes from Camille Keaton, who plays the titular Solange. Despite not having any dialogue, Camille Keaton’s charismatic presence and delicate stature makes the character of Solange stand out amongst the other performances on show in What Have You Done To Solange?. Her sad, vulnerable performance of a traumatized young woman is one of a kind, and it definitely showcases her talents as an actress, one who can capture the plight of very emotional characters, talents which she would develop further in Meir Zarchi’s I Spit On Your Grave.

What Have You Done To Solange? isn’t an amazing film, however, as the production values are definitely the film’s weakest aspect. Despite being directed by an acclaimed Cinematographer, What Have You Done To Solange? doesn’t feature spectacular cinematography. The visual aspects of What Have You Done To Solange? aren’t bad, they’re passable at the very least, but I expected better from the man who created the visual style of two of the very best Spaghetti Western films. Aside from this, there isn’t really anything major that I can talk about when it comes to the film’s production. The production isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t stand out, it’s merely adequate.

All in all, I think that What Have You Done To Solange? may not be a powerhouse of Italian Cinema, but it is a Giallo film that’s much better than most. It’s a traditional Giallo film that’s very traditional. It doesn’t innovate the genre, nor does it do anything to try and elevate the genre, instead, What Have You Done To Solange? focuses on the conventions of the Giallo genre and manages to create a damn good film that stands on it’s own merits. In conclusion, What Have You Done To Solange? gets a firm recommendation from me, and in my opinion, it’s definitely a Giallo classic.

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