Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 22nd, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1975
Director: Sergio Martino
Writers: Ernesto Gastaldi, Sergio Martino
Cast: Claudio Cassinelli, Mel Ferrer, Lia Tanzi, Gianfranco Barra, Patrizia Castaldi, Adolfo Caruso, Jenny Tamburi, Massimo Girotti, Carlo Alighiero, Franco Alpestre, Fiammetta Baralla, Barbara Magnolfi, Aldo Massasso, Roberto Posse, Carlotta Wittig
BluRay released: September 25th, 2017 (UK), October 3rd, 2017 (USA)
Approximate running time: 100 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: LPCM Mono Italian, LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English, English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video USA
Region Coding: Region A,B / Region 1,2 NTSC
Retail Price: $39.95 (USA) / £24.99 (UK)
Synopsis: At dance hall Detective Paolo Germi meets Marisa a young woman who is in trouble and needs his help. The girl flees when a mysterious man in shades shows up at the dance hall. She frantically tries to escape her pursuer who always ends up one step ahead of her. The next morning the police find her mutilated corpse at a rundown motel. Detective Germi launches his own investigation after hearing about Marisa’s death. He soon uncovers after the death of the next victim a friend of Marisa’s that there was a third girl and that they were all forced into prostitution. Will Detective Germi be able to find out who is behind these murders and expose them before all the witnesses have been murdered?
Sergio Martino’s rarely seen 1975 thriller The Suspicious Death of a Minor is a poliziotteschi / giallo hybrid that leans more towards the poliziotteschi genre. And outside of the opening murder and a montage of giallo like murders near the end of the film the rest of the film looks and feels like a poliziotteschi film. The first murder is the most violent murder of the film and the victim is killed with a blade, which is one of the genres more familiar weapons of choice.
Sergio Martino as usual delivers stylish set pieces that are offset by quirky moments like, a man nearly getting hit by a car and landing on his head or a bicyclist having his bike chopped in have by a speeding by car and leaving his with a tricycle. In fact, there is more elements of comedy then elements that are associated with gialli in this film.
In regards to this film’s use of humor. There is a recurring bit happens with Detective Paolo Germi, who is constantly breaking his glasses. It does not matter if he is dancing or making love, he constantly finds a way to break them.
Standout action sequences include, a scene where a hit man tries to kill Detective Paolo Germi while he is trapped on a roller coaster. And the other standout action sequence is actually a continuation of the roller coaster shoot out. With Detective Paolo Germi chasing the suspect through the subway.
Actor Claudio Cassinelli is best known for his role is the Massimo Dallamano giallo What Have They Done to Your Daughters? And The Suspicious Death of a Minor would mark the first of the six films that Claudio Cassinelli has collaborated with Sergio Martino. Performance wise, Claudio Cassinelli is a solid choice as Paolo Germi as he perfectly balances the characters flaws with his more serious side without making the character seem contrived.
The score for The Suspicious Death of a Minor is at times is reminiscent of Goblin’s work on Dario Argento’s Profondo Rosso. The well-constructed narrative is best described as a melting pot of ideas. And this film’s brisk pacing ensures that there is rarely an opportunity to catch one’s breath while watching this film. Ultimately The Suspicious Death of a Minor is a tongue and cheek poliziotteschi that hits all the right notes.
The Suspicious Death of a Minor comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer for this release was sourced from a 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative produced by Arrow Video exclusively for this release. The source used for this transfer is in great shape and when compared to previous home video releases, it is superior in every way. It should be noted that there are some very mild instances of source related damaged and depending on the language you choose, this release comes with two titles sequences, one in Italian and the other in English.
This Release comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in English and a LPCM mono mix in Italian. Both audio mixes are free of background noise and distortion. Range wise out of these two audio mixes; the Italian audio mixes is the more robust of these two audio mixes. With there being a few instances on the English language track where the dialog sounds underwhelming. The film’s score sounds robust on both audio mixes. Included with this release are two subtitle options, English SDH and English for the Italian language track.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (3 minutes 27 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an interview with co-screenwriter / director Sergio Martino titled Violent Milan (42 minutes 34 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) and an audio commentary with Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films.
Topics discussed in the interview with Sergio Martino include, the origins of the film, background information about the title of the film, screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi, Italian action cinema in the 1970’s, collaborating with his brother producer Lucio Martino, actor Claudio Cassinelli, how he died when a stunt went wrong while working on Hands of Steel, the cast, composer Luciano Michelini / the score, stunts, cameraman Claudio Morabito and his thoughts about the film.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art and a twenty-page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled The Suspicious Death of a Minor written by Barry Forshaw and information about the restoration / transfer.
Also, included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo release. Overall The Suspicious Death of a Minor gets an excellent release from Arrow Video.