What Have You Done To Solange? Blu-ray Review

A great Giallo with a gripping mystery and brutal tendencies

What Have You Done To Solange? comes from director Massimo Dallamano, cinematographer on both A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More. The giallo classic is one of the more famous entries in the genre with its gripping murder mystery set in a Catholic school for girls.

Inverting many of the tropes common to gialli films, it’s a lurid piece of exploitation with memorable twists and brutal murders. The 1972 Italian film stars Cristina Galbo (Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue) and Fabio Testi (I Spit On Your Grave) with a diverse international cast. Master film composer Ennio Morricone provides the score.

A married Italian professor teaches at a Catholic school for girls in London. Enrico Rosseni (Fabio Testi) is carrying on an affair with one of his students, Elizabeth (Cristina Galbo). During one of their romantic escapades, she spies from a boat one of her classmates being viciously murdered.

In a stylish opening scene heavily inspired by the work of Argento, the masked killer finishes off the victim by brutally stabbing her in a very private area. Hiding his affair from his stern German wife played by Karin Baal, Enrico is reluctant to have Elizabeth come forward and in the process reveal their scandalous affair between teacher and student.

The film’s serious, carefully developed drama as the murders continue makes it a much more involving thriller than expected.

Inspector Barth hunts for the killer while Enrico comes under suspicion. It’s widely known by the faculty that Enrico likes sleeping around with the students so he quickly becomes a target of the investigation. When a second girl turns up dead, Enrico starts investigating the murders himself. What possible connection do the victims share and how is Elizabeth involved? The bodies mount up in this twisting Italian thriller. If you are wondering about the movie’s title, Solange is a mysterious character that plays an important role late in the narrative.

What Have You Done To Solange? is a first-rate example of giallo filmmaking at its finest. The well-crafted film unfolds nicely from its shocking opener with several unexpected twists and turns. First painted as a lecherous professor, Enrico receives a surprisingly sympathetic and rich characterization as we learn more about him.

Gialli rarely concern themselves with serious character development but Dallamano gives a fair amount of time developing each character’s personality. The film’s serious, carefully developed drama as the murders continue makes it a much more involving thriller than expected. It adds a realistic edge to what could have been another rote slasher. This is considered a classic in the genre for good reason and is comparable to the better films of Dario Argento.

Movie ★★★★☆

What Have You Done to Solange Blur-ay screen shot 9

The 1972 giallo has been restored for this release in 2K resolution from the original Techniscope 2-perf negative. A handful of shots, mostly near the end, were completed by a 4-perf internegative. This is a solid, mostly film-like transfer that pulls all the detail possible from its source elements. Indie distributor Arrow Video provides a tasteful color correction that is largely faithful to the film’s original release era. Soft on occasion, the scope film shows excellent grain reproduction and unfiltered texture.

Arrow Video provides their typically strong AVC video encode on a BD-50. It transparently renders the grain structure in nice detail. The 106-minute main feature is presented in its intended 2.40:1 aspect ratio at 1080P resolution. A wisp of ringing in select scenes barely affects the overall, organic video. Black levels are acceptable, this is not an older transfer with serious crushing issues. Its steady contrast provides a consistent, even color palette with natural flesh-tones.

What Have You Done To Solange? was shot on cheaper Techniscope 2-perf film stock. Keep your expectations in check if you’ve seen more expensive Hollywood productions from this era. Definition is mildly sharp in close-ups but falls flat in longer shots. Arrow Video has given the film a solid presentation for fans. There are no major problems and the negative survives in fairly strong shape.

Video ★★★★☆

The Italian film was actually recorded in English despite a cast mostly hailing from Italy, Spain, and Germany. Arrow Video provides both the English and Italian versions of the film with their dubbed soundtracks.

These are the original Italian and English soundtracks in mono audio at 1.0 PCM. The English dub provides the smoother experience for my tastes, with fewer obvious “dub” sync errors. Its audio quality is also better. The Italian dub has a thinner, harsher sound, mastered at a louder volume. It is more compressed and congested than the English dub. Neither are perfect audio recordings but Morricone’s music sounds a tad cleaner in the English dub.

Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack are included. Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack are the other option. Both display in a white font inside the scope framing at all times.

Audio ★★★☆☆

Arrow Video includes a DVD in this combo pack. They’ve dug up a few older archival interviews and produced a new one with Karin Baal, who basically trashes the film as exploitative garbage. A reversible sleeve features original and newly commissioned artwork by Malleus. The deluxe collector’s booklet includes a new article on the giallo scores of Ennio Morricone by Howard Hughes, alongside a Camille Keaton career retrospective from Art Ettinger, comprising interview excerpts with the Solange actress. It is illustrated with original archive stills and posters.

New audio commentary with critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman – This is an enjoyable discussion between the two critics, both knowledgeable in the genre field. Both men know what they are talking about and clearly enjoy the film, discussing its finer points along the way. One of the more entertaining commentaries I’ve heard lately.

What Have You Done to Decency? A conversation with Karin Baal (13:38 in HD) – The actress shares her thoughts on Dallamano’s classic giallo in this brand new interview.

First Action Hero (21:17 in SD) – A newly-edited 2006 interview with actor and former stuntman Fabio Testi, including a look at his role in this film.

Old-School Producer (11:02 in SD) – A newly-edited 2006 interview with producer Fulvio Lucisano about financing this production and other stories behind the scenes.

Innocence Lost: Solange and the “Schoolgirls in Peril” Trilogy (29:00 in HD) – A brand new visual essay by Michael Mackenzie, exploring the themes of Solange and its two semi-sequels. Mackenzie covers the films in depth, though he pointedly discusses major plot points from each film that act as spoilers.

Original theatrical trailer (03:05 in HD)

Extras ★★★☆☆

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.