La Morte Risale A Ieri Sera (1970)

Genres - Crime, Drama, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Detective Film, Giallo  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - Italy, West Germany  |  
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Though not a giallo film in the strictest sense, this crime/revenge film merits attention by fans for its genre cast and an unusual approach to familiar themes. Raf Vallone plays anguished father Avanzio Berzaghi, whose 25-year old daughter Donatella has been kidnapped. Donatella has the mind of a toddler, and her beauty and agreeable naivete make her a perfect choice for Milan's seedy prostitution racket. Frank Wolff is a dedicated Inspector with bad sinuses who shakes down a sleazy pimp and a desperate black prostitute (Beryl Cunningham of The Snake God), as well as visiting scores of local brothels for clues. Tragically, he is too late, and Donatella's corpse is found in a field, still smoking from having been burned alive. Wolff redoubles his efforts, but it is Vallone, using nothing more than his daughter's teddy-bear and a father's lust for justice, who finally tracks down the killers. His laundromat vengeance is brutal, but unsatisfying, leaving him a broken man. Director Duccio Tessari, best known for westerns and a memorable giallo called The Blood-Stained Butterfly, imbues this story with a great deal more humanity than is typical for the genre. The plot, adapted from G. Scerbanenco's novel The Milanese Kill on Saturday, has its problems, but Tessari's focus on character minimizes the inconsistencies, presenting a gritty, powerful portrait of a dehumanizing urban Hell. This neglected gem suffers only from Gianni Ferrio's inexplicably bouncy music, but is otherwise a winner all the way.

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Keywords

daughter, death, detective, investigation, investigator, killing, missing-person, murder, perversion, private-detective, prostitute/prostitution, search, simpleton, slave-trader, underworld, white-slavery