Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 17: Suspected Death of a Minor

Day 15 and 16 were a total acid trip.  Between the pure craziness of Death Laid an Egg and the dreamy crashdown of Footprints, I decided to put the trippier gialli on hold for a day or two and go for some grittier works.

Suspected Death of a Minor isn't 100% giallo.  Instead, Sergio Martino's film is part, giallo, part police procedural, and at times, part spoof.  While I do enjoy the mixing of genres, this time it doesn't always work.

Inspector Germi is at a dance hall where he meets the intriguing Marisa.  Marisa speaks cryptically, acting as if she were hiding from something...or somebody.  After a dance and a kiss, Marisa leaves.

On the way home, Marisa is chased by a man with long hair and mirrored sunglasses.  She breaks free, only to run into him again in her boarding house.  This time it doesn't end well, as she is slashed to death.

Germi ends up getting involved in the case, which involves a teenage prostitution ring, a wealthy banker, and all sorts of sleazy lowlifes.  Along for the rise is Giannino, a petty thief who helps Germi.

The bulk of the film isn't really a giallo, but more of a poliziotteschi, another popular form of pulp cinema from 70's Italy.  When the giallo boom of the late 60's/early 70's began to die down, many directors either completely jumped ship or began mixing poliziotteschi elements to keep filmgoers interested.  Another example of the poliziotteschi/giallo cross breeding is What Have They Done to Your Daughters.

The film itself manages to be somewhat intriguing, even if it isn't filled with the true giallo elements we've come to know and expect.  Claudio Cassinelli proves to be a very charismatic lead as Germi, the cop who plays by his own rules.  Also noteworthy is Adolfo Caruso as Giannino, the petty thief who stays involved in the case long after he's needed.

The main problem lies in the comedic elements of the film.  While not nearly as horrible as that Franco and Ciccio movie from Day 5, these moments pull you out of the film.  Luckily these scenes don't completely ruin the film.

Short post, I know.  Forgive me.  Until next time.


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