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(aka "Suspected Death of a Minor" or "Suspicious Death of a Minor" or "Too Young to Die")

 

directed by Sergio Martino
Italy 1975

 

When a minor with a fake ID named Marisa (Patrizia Castaldi) is found viciously murdered in a sleazy boarding house, mysterious Paolo Germi (Claudio Cassinelli, MURDER ROCK) sets about tracking down the leader of a teenage prostitution racket he suspects Marisa was involved in. But what is Paolo's game? Is he an undercover cop or another pimp? He's not above roughing up the boarding house's concierge and various prostitutes to get information. He employs small-time thief Giannino (Adolfo Caruso, INHIBITIONS) to snatch prostitutes' purses for cash and contact information. His investigation leads him to a Milanese domestic agency which he suspects of being a front for a prostitution ring. Unsuspecting prostitute Carmela (Lia Tranzi, THE VIOLENT PROFESSIONALS) arranges an appointment with underage Floriana (Barbara Magnolfi, SUSPIRIA) for Paolo's nonexistent Arab employer, which leads him to procurer Menga (Franco Alpestre, THE LAST DECAMERON) who seems to have also been involved in the two billion lira ransom of a wealthy chocolate manufacturer's son. Paolo retrieves the money after wasting Menga in self-defense, but suspects that someone higher up is in control. Alternating attempts on his life - as well as the elimination of various witnesses - and bribery attempts suggest to him that the guilty party lies among the leisure class. Massimo Girotti (TEOREMA), Barbara Magnolfi (SUSPIRIA), Jenny Tamburi (THE PSYCHIC), and Roberto Posse (THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE) also appear. Mel Ferrer (who also starred in Martino's "nature attacks" film BIG ALLIGATOR RIVER - with Cassinelli - as well as the New World Pictures-appended US prologue for his ISLAND OF THE FISHMEN) stops in long enough to pick up a paycheck (all of his scenes are on the same office set and were probably shot on the same day). The movie theater scene features Martino's YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY projected on the screen. Never released in English-speaking territories, SUSPECTED DEATH OF A MINOR - as the disc cover calls the film in English - is not a Sergio Martino (STRANGE VICE OF SIGNORA WARD) giallo; rather, it fits in with the handful of giallo-poliziotteschi hybrids of the mid-to-late seventies which introduced Italian crime film elements to the thriller formula such as Massimo Dallamano's WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO OUR DAUGHTERS? - also with Cassinelli - which was titled LA POLIZIA CHIEDE AIUTO in Italy (which was also about a teenage prostitution racket, but with a more palpably unsavory bent than Martino's film) or THE POLICE ARE BLUNDERING IN THE DARK. The film was supposed to be released under the poliziotteschi-esque title MILANO VIOLENTA, but distributor Titanus gave it a new title that suggested that it could be either a giallo or a crime film. The patchwork score features one very DEEP RED/Goblin-esque theme amidst more action and comic-oriented cues) and the setpiece featuring Tanzi's character seems patterned after similar sequences in both CAT O'NINE TAILS and DEEP RED, but Cassinelli's cop is more like his character in KILLER COP/LA POLIZIA HA LE MANI LEGATE - also by Dallamano - than the more deadly serious one in the former Dallmano film. The polizioteteschi genre exploited the explosion of new "exotic" types of crime in Italy (kidnappings, terrorist attacks, money laundering, embezzlement, government corruption, and underage prostitution among others), some with titles - at least the original Italian titles - that provocatively questioned or commented on the loyalty of the government (CORRUPTION IN THE HALLS OF JUSTICE [released in the US as SMILING MANIACS], BLOODY HANDS OF THE LAW) and the police force's ability to protect the public (THE POLICE CANNOT MOVE, THE POLICE NEED HELP, THE POLICE SERVE THE CITIZENS?). The film's comic aspects gel better with the crime ones than those of the giallo, but charming lead Casinelli (who died in a helicopter accident while shooting Martino's HANDS OF STEEL), but Cassinelli in the lead is the only actor who has to play off characters who are either serious or strictly comic relief in separate scenes, and he is more than up to the task. The blunt resolution is also more suited to the crime genre than the giallo, as is the entertaining extended car chase sequence in the middle of the film.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 12 August 1975 (Italy)

Reviews           DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Sazuma - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Sazuma

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:36:15 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

2.40:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.79 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles English, German, Dutch, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sazuma

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.40:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by film critics Christian Kessler and Robert Zion (in German with optional English subtitles)
• Introduction by director Sergio Martino (16:9; 0:17 - in Italian with optional English and German su
• Crime Scene Milan featurette (16:9; 26:06 - in Italian with optional English and German subtitles)
• Italian theatrical trailer (16:9; 3:20)
• Poster gallery
• Booklet with liner notes by Christian Kessler
• English and German menu language options
• Menu Transitions On/Off option

DVD Release Date: September 10th, 2006
Digipack in Slipcase

Chapters 20

 

Comments

As with some of Austrian label Sazuma successor label Camera Obscura's Italian titles, licensing issues prevented the inclusion of the English dub track, but did not preclude the inclusion of English subtitles. The disc opens with an option of either English or German-language menus, which sets the default subtitle language for the film and extras. There is also a setup menu on both to choose English, German, or Dutch subtitles (although the Dutch subtitles are only available for the feature, not the featurette which has English and German subtitles only). The setup menu also offers the option of turning the menu transitions on or off. The negative-sourced transfer is not free from damage, but is satisfying overall with little evidence of edge enhancement (the DVD was pushed back from its original release date so Sazuma could do some additional digital work on the master). The Italian mono audio (although an English dub apparently exists, the film does not seem to have made it to VHS anywhere with that track). The English subtitles are well-translated and largely error free (although sometimes "millioni" is translated as "millionen" and the choice of English equivalents for some of the Italian slang might seem odd) and the rare spelling error.

Christian Kesler and Robert Zion are heard in a German-language commentary track (with optional English subtitles). They discuss Martino's career, his giallo and crime films, this film's events in the context of the explosion of "exotic" new types of crimes that hit Italy in the seventies. Martino appears in a 26-minute interview in which he discusses the film (one of his many collaborations with screenwriter Ernesto Gastldi, although Martino was more hands-on with the script than in other projects), the heavy use of slang in the film, his working relationship with producer brother Luciano Martino, working with Cassinelli, and distributor Titanus changing the film's title. The liner notes booklet features a German essay and an English translation (there is a disclaimer warning of spoilers, so read it after viewing the film). Barebones, non-English-friendly 16:9 editions are also available in Italy from Aegida and Spain from Filmax.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

 

Distribution

Sazuma

Region 2 - PAL

 




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