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Cosa Avete Fatto a Solange? / Das Geheimnis der grünen Stecknadel

What Have You Done to Solange?
Solange / The School That Couldn't Scream

Italy/West Germany 1972
produced by
Fulvio Lucisano, Leo Pescarolo, Horst Wendlandt for Italian International Film, Clodio Cinematografica, Rialto Film
directed by Massimo Dallamano
starring Fabio Testi, Karin Baal, Joachim Fuchsberger, Cristina Galbo, Camille Keaton, Günther Stoll, Claudia Butenuth, Maria Monti, Giancarlo Badessi, Pilar Castel, Giovanna Di Bernardo, Vittorio Fanfoni, Marco Mariani, Antonio Casale, Emilia Wolkowicz, Daniele Micheletti, Antonio Anelli, Rainer Penkert, Carla Mancini
story by Bruno Di Geronimo, Massimo Dallamano, screenplay by Bruno Di Geronimo, Massimo Dallamano, Peter M. Thouet, based on the novel The Clue of the New Pin by Edgar Wallace, music by Ennio Morricone, conducted by Bruno Nicolai, cinematography by Aristide Massaccesi (= Joe D'Amato)

Rialto's Edgar Wallace cycle, Edgar Wallace made in Germany, Edgar Wallace: The German-Italian co-productions

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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When Italian teacher Rosseni (Fabio Testi) makes out with one of his students, Elizabeth (Cristina Galbo) in a rowing boat, she suddenly interrupts him , telling him she's just witnessed a murder. Initially, he thinks she just made that up, only to learn the very next day that a murder actually took place there and then - and furthermore the victim was one of his students. But since he wants to hush up his affair with Elizabeth not only because he's her teacher, but also because he wants to keep it a secret from his wife Herta (Karin Baal), he is soon the main suspect of police inspector Barth (Joachim Fuchsberger). These suspicions are further nourished when, only a few days later, a second student of Rosseni's (Pilar Castel) is killed the very same way (knife into the vagina) as the first one. Elizabeth meanwhile testifies to her school's personnel that she witnessed the murder, and thought the murderer to be a priest, but to avoid a scandal, she keeps Rosseni's name out of the story. However, before she can testify to the police too, she also is killed, and not only that but in the lovenest Rosseni rented for him and her. Rosseni is of course immediately arrested and only set free when a neighbour testifies he saw a priest coming out of the appartment. Now Rosseni and his wife, who sticks to him despite his infidelity, take up their own investigations, soon learning that all 3 murdered girls were part of a gang that was at one point heavily partying with some college students, but not anymore, "... not after what happened to Solange", as one witness tells Rosseni - and this Solange (Camille Keaton) is the key to the whole case, without anyone knowing though who she might be - until she appears on the scene, but she's obviously mentally retarded, perhaps through shock, and creates more confusion than she helps to solve anything. And all the while more girls who were friends of the killed trio disappear and turn up dead ...

 

Nice giallo with a script that is actually thought through (even though some coincidences are just too elaborate to be true) and makes sense from beginning to end, giving the audience the clues only by and by instead of presenting just a host of suspicious characters and then coming up with a solution that has the least suspicious person actually be the culprit ("I never thought that he ..."). Actually, in this one, the key to the mystery is not presented until about halfway through the movie (though it  is hidden in the title quite obviously), thus it keeps the story/mystery moving forwards instead of circling around a center of suspects making every one of them look like the guilty party at a time (not that there would be necessarily anything wrong with that). Now add to that an elegant direction, some sexy bits, the right amount of shocks and suspense, and a competent cast, and you've got yourself a pretty good movie.

 

PS: Made at the tail end of the German cycle of Edgar Wallace adaptations (that were precursors of giallo cinema as it is) and co-produced by German Edgar Wallace headquarters Rialto Film, this movie actually dropped the Edgar Wallace monicker in most international editions (while proudly credited to the writer in Germany) and is much closer in style to Italian genre productions as to German "krimi"-cinema.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD