What Have You Done to Solange?
|What Have You Done to Solange?|
Italian theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Massimo Dallamano|
|Music by||Ennio Morricone|
|Distributed by||Italian International Film (Italy)|
Constantin Film (West Germany)
What Have You Done to Solange? (Italian: Cosa avete fatto a Solange?) is a 1972 giallo film directed by Massimo Dallamano, and starring Fabio Testi, Karin Baal, Joachim Fuchsberger, Cristina Galbó, and Camille Keaton. The plot follows a series of violent murders occurring at a Catholic girls' school in England where a young student has gone missing.
While in a boat making out with a college professor, a young woman sees a man with a knife stabbing another woman in the woods on the nearby shore. The professor convinces his mistress to keep silent about what she saw, especially after it turns out that the dead victim was one of her classmates.
Shortly afterwards, the professor's mistress is murdered in her bathroom. Police suspect the professor, who admits his affair to his sexually repressed wife in hopes of getting her assistance in order to clear his name. While this is going on, other women begin to go missing at the school; the professor is cleared when a common denominator is determined by the later killings. The victims all had seen a local priest and were friends with a young woman named Solange, who began attending the school the previous semester but had mysteriously vanished.
The professor's investigation ultimately leads to the existence of a hedonistic secret club of college girls that his mistress and the other murder victims had belonged to. The police further learn that the priest that several of the victims had spoken to was not a real priest. He was instead Solange's father, a wealthy businessman.
The last member of the sex club is kidnapped and killed, by being stabbed vaginally with a sharp butcher knife. The professor, his wife, and the police confront the father, who at first denies any wrongdoing until his daughter Solange appears. Mute and appearing emotionally disturbed, she leads the professor's wife to the place where the final sex club member was murdered. The father then confesses to why he murdered his victims. His daughter Solange had befriended the members of the sex club and was granted membership. However, after her first orgy, she became pregnant and refused to abort the child. The other girls in the sex club kidnapped Solange and held Solange down, against her will, as a back-alley abortionist that they had hired murdered her unborn child with a knitting needle. The betrayal at the hands of her friends, who murdered her unborn child against her will (and left her unable to ever have any children, due to the nature of the abortion), caused Solange to go irreversibly insane. After confessing, the father then takes his own life.
- Fabio Testi as Enrico "Henry" Rosseni
- Karin Baal as Herta Rosseni
- Joachim Fuchsberger as Inspektor Barth
- Günther Stoll as Professor Bascombe
- Claudia Butenuth as Brenda Pilchard
- Camille Keaton as Solange Beauregard
- Cristina Galbó as Elizabeth Seccles (as Christine Galbo)
- Maria Monti as Mrs. Erickson
- Giancarlo Badessi as Mr. Erickson
- Antonio Casale as Mr. Newton
What Have You Done to Solange? was an Italian and West German co-production, and credits itself as being based on The Clue of the New Pin by Edgar Wallace. The film bears very little relationship to the novel, with authors and film historians Kim Newman and Michael Mackenzie believing that it was marketed this way to sell the film to a German audience as part of the krimi film genre. The relationship to the genre is enhanced by the appearance of cast members Joachim Fuchsberger and Karin Baal who appeared in several Edgar Wallace adaptations produced by Rialto Film in the 1960s. American actress Camille Keaton was cast in the film—her debut role—as Solange. Keaton had originally sent in photos for a casting call for a Franco Zeffirelli film. She was not cast in his film, but received a call from director Massimo Dallamano later to invite her in for the role. Keaton described working with Dallamano as challenging as she was only learning to speak Italian and he spoke very little English. For her role, Dallamano told her that she was looking for someone who looked frail and ordered her not to tan while filming.
What Have You Done to Solange? was released in both Italy and West Germany on March 9, 1972. Fulvio Lucisano stated that the film was the first giallo film to be shown at the Adriano Theater in Rome, which normally did not show films of the genre. In West Germany, it was released under the title Das Geheimnis der grünen Stecknadel where it was distributed by Constantin. The film has been released under various English-language titles, including The Secret of the Green Pin, The School That Couldn't Scream, and Who's Next?. It is most commonly known under the title What Have You Done to Solange?. In 2005, the Venice Film Festival had a day in honour of Fulvio Lucisano Day as part of its "Secret History of Italian Cinema" screenings, which included a screening of a restored version of What Have You Done to Solange?.
What Have You Done to Solange? was first released on DVD by Shriek Show on July 30, 2002. It was released by Arrow Video on Blu-ray and DVD in the United Kingdom on December 14, 2015 and in the United States on December 15, 2015. Film Comment placed Arrow Video's release of What Have You Done to Solange? at 15th on their list of top Blu-ray releases of 2015.
In contemporary reviews, the German newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt found the film to be "too broad" but stated that quality acting from Karin Baal, Fabio Testi, Joachim Fuchsberger and Günther Stoll enhance the film. Italian newspaper La Stampa praised the acting of Fabio Testi, Joachim Fuchsberger and Karin Baal while stating the director developed the mystery in the story well.
From retrospective reviews, AllMovie called the film a "first-rate thriller," a "creepy mystery", and noted "Massimo Dallamano's direction is assured." Video Librarian stated that the film is "considered a classic of the Italian horror genre known as giallo" but "For all the characteristic sloppiness of the screenplay, this film remains unusual and surprising, with some well-directed murder scenes and startling imagery." and it was "shamelessly salacious in its exploitation of girls as sexual objects and unsavory in that these minors are assaulted in a vicious, sadistic, and hateful manner" and that ultimately "the extreme violence against young women makes it hard to enjoy". Danny Shipka, author of a book on European exploitation films found the film to be "One of the most satisfying gialli of its day" and that it had "the right amount of sleaze and story to carry the audience through all the twists and turns with an emotionally satisfying ending." The review commented that Dallamano took a "serious approach to the subgenre, creating situations that will stay long after you've finished the film." The Herald proclimed the film as "a prime example of "giallo"" and that the film was "better than it sounds" and described it as an influence on Peter Strickand's film The Duke of Burgundy.
Aftermath and influence
What Have You Done to Solange? is the first entry in a loosely linked series of film called the Schoolgirls in Peril trilogy, a series of films based on the sexual exploits of young girls and their reaction to the adults. By 1974, audiences began to grow tired of the giallo genre and began having interest in other European genres such as the poliziotteschi, urban cop thrillers that were influenced by American films such as Dirty Harry and The French Connection. Dallamano's next film in the Schoolgirls in Peril trilogy was What Have They Done to Your Daughters?, a film with similar themes to What Have You Done to Solange?. The final part of the series was Red Rings of Fear. It was released on August 19, 1978. Dallamano is credited as a screenwriter on the film, and was intended to direct the film, but he died before the film began production.
Director Nicolas Winding Refn announced in 2016 that he was seeking a director and screenwriter for a remake of What Have You Done to Solange?. The film will be produced by Refn's Space Rocket Nation banner along with producer Fulvio Lucisano.
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- Mackenzie 2015 (0:07:50)
- Mackenzie 2015 (0:08:15)
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Ein Edgar-Wallace-Film, in Kammerspielmanier gedreht. […] Leider ist der Film zu breit angelegt. Aber er fesselt trotzdem. Gute Schauspieler, u. a. Karin Baal und Fabio Testi, Joachim Fuchsberger (zieht seine elegante Kommissarmasche ab), und Günther Stoll (bleibt blaß), geben ihm Niveau.
- "Le Prime sullo schermo". La Stampa (in Italian). 24 March 1972. p. 6. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
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- Shipka 2011, p. 110.
- Didcock, Barry (December 23, 2015). "DVD reviews:The Bridge Trilogy (15); What Have You Done To Solange? (18); The Cobbler (12)". The Herald. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
- Mackenzie 2015 (0:07:35)
- Mackenzie 2015 (0:18:05)
- Mackenzie 2015 (0:19:05)
- Mackenzie 2015 (0:24:00)
- Hanley, Ken W. (May 23, 2016). "Nicolas Winding Refn Announces 'Remake Trilogy' with Vincent Price, Giallo Classics!". Fangoria. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
- Bergfelder, Tim (2000). International Adventures: German Popular Cinema and European Co-productions in the 1960s. Berghahn Books. ISBN 1571815384.
- Mackenzie, Michael (2015). Innocence Lost (Blu ray). Arrow Films. FCD1198.
- Schneider, Steven Jay (2007). 100 European Horror Films. British Film Institute. ISBN 978-1-844-57164-2.
- Shipka, Danny (2011). Perverse Titillation: The Exploitation Cinema of Italy, Spain and France, 1960–1980. McFarland. ISBN 0786448881.