Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 26th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: 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
DVD released: September 14th, 2006
Approximate running time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
Subtitles: English, German, Dutch
DVD Release: Sazuma Productions
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL
Retail Price: $24.95
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 run down 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 Suspected Death of a Minor is a poliziotteschi / giallo hybrid that leans more towards the poliziotteschi genre. 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. There are only a couple more deaths in the rest of the film and there are rather tame and nearly bloodless.
Sergio Martino as usual delivers stylish set pieces that are offset by quirky moments like 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 gialli in this film. One recurring bit happens with Detective Paolo Germi who is constantly breaking his glasses wither he is dancing or making love he finds a way to break them. There are two standout action sequences the first takes place on a roller coaster. A hit man tries to kill Detective Paolo Germi on a roller coaster because he is getting to close to the truth. The other standout action set piece is actually a continuation of the roller coaster shoot out. Detective Paolo Germi chases the suspect through the subway. Both of these are perfect examples of how gifted of a director Sergio Martino was.
Actor Claudio Cassinelli is best known for his role is the Massimo Dallamano giallo What Have They Done to Your Daughters? The Suspicious Death of a Minor is the first of the six times Claudio Cassinelli has collaborated with Sergio Martino. And 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 Suspected Death of a Minor at times is reminiscent of Goblin’s work on Dario Argento’s Profondo Rosso. The screenplay written by Sergio Martino and Ernesto Gastaldi is a melting pot of ideas and at times there is too much going on in the film. Fortunately, the pacing of the film keeps things moving at a rapidly as there is rarely an opportunity to catch one’s breath while watching this film. Ultimately Suspected Death of a Minor is a tongue and cheek poliziotteschi that hits all the right notes.
Sazuma presents Suspected Death of a Minor in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Sazuma originally announced this title for release a few months back and delayed it to work more on enhancing the image and restoring the colors to the way they once looked. The final product which I now hold in my hands is well worth the wait as the black levels looks strong and the image looks sharp and stable through out. Colors look lucid and nicely saturated through out. Overall the transfer is on par quality wise with the poliziotteschi films released by No Shame earlier this year.
This release comes with one audio option the films original Italian language which is presented here in a Dolby Digital mono. The audio is clean and free of any distortion or any other sound defects. Overall the audio mix included in more then adequate as it gets the job done. Removable English, German and Dutch subtitles have been included for the main feature.
Extras for this release include the films original trailer in Italian with no subtitles, a poster gallery and a DVD credits menu that lists everyone associated with this DVD release. Other extras include the twenty six minute documentary titled Crime Scene Milian which is especially an interview with Sergio Martino who discusses the various names changes Suspected Death of a Minor, working with his brother Luciano who produced many of his films, Martino talks about several of the actors who he worked with on Suspected Death of a Minor and what is was like working in the poliziotteschi genre. Rounding out the extras is an audio commentary with film critics Christian Kessler and Robert Zion. This audio commentary is in German and comes with English subtitles. They discuss the giallo & poliziotteschi genres, Italian politics in the 1970’s and Sergio Martino.
Sazuma gives Suspected Death of a Minor one of Sergio Martino’s rarer films its first DVD release. Fans of Sergio Martino won’t be disappointed as a lot of TLC went into this release, recommended.