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Sergio Martino is undoubtedly one of the premier luminaries of the Giallo genre, having made such as important classics as The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh and The Case of the Scorpion's Tail. Martino made a series of five Giallo's in the early seventies, and while this could easily be seen as the sixth entry; it rarely gets a mention in discussions about the others, and the reason for that is down to the fact that this film arguably isn't even a Giallo. The film features clear cut Giallo elements; we have a killer, young girls being murdered, fair amounts of gore etc etc; but then we also have a barrage of car chases, shootouts, police procedure and most strangely of all; a completely out of place dose of humour! It all starts like any other Giallo might, as we witness the murder of a prostitute at the hands of an unseen killer. Then we are introduced to a man who hooks up with a local thief and the pair go round stealing prostitute's handbags. The mystery man is later revealed to be a police inspector, and he has his own unorthodox methods for getting to the bottom of the convoluted plot.
The film was released in 1975, which is towards the end of the Giallo's golden period and near the start of the Polizi trend that took over it. This film falls somewhere between the two successful Italian exports and the result is a bit muddled - with the emphasis being more on general crime than the murders. Then we've got this comedy element, which really is completely misguided, and all the more strange for the fact that the screenplay was written by the great Ernesto Gastaldi. It really does add nothing; the only effect being the undermining of several tense and well worked sequences! It's all the more strange considering the plot - this is a dark film handling themes of underage sex, murder and prostitution so I really don't know what Gastaldi was thinking! However, the film is redeemed by plenty of tense sequences and a decent car chases which is sure to please the Polizi fans. The film also features a superb leading performance from Claudio Cassinelli as the unorthodox inspector. There's also an odd score which has shade's of Goblin mixed in with elevator music. Overall, this is not one of the great Martino Giallo's; but it's not too bad and should please a lot of Giallo fans.
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