Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 9th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1975
Director: Mario Caiano
Writers: Massimo Felisatti, Fabio Pittorru
Cast: Antonio Sabato, Luciana Paluzzi, Enrico Maria Salerno, Gabriele Ferzetti, Elio Zamuto, Ettore Manni, Marino Masé, Bedy Moratti, Franco Ressel, Gloria Piedimonte, Adriana Falco
DVD released: April 27th, 2010
Approximate running time: 99 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Mya Communication
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
At the core of Without Trace is a story about a young girl who is the daughter a prominent doctor. When the girl goes missing her father gets the police to jump into action because of his class status / wealth. Early on this provides one in the story this provides one of the many intricate back stories. There is a loose cannon detective who takes offense to the fact that the police bend over backwards when someone of wealth is involved and drag their feet when it is someone from a poverty background. Things quickly change when the young girls body is discovered and this detective become more sympathetic towards her.
The first two acts are in line with what one would expect from a poliziotteschi film. With the final act and conclusion shifting gears towards elements more associated with the giallo genre. Also the first two acts are mostly spent investigating the case. The majority of carnage is saved for this final act in which those who could identify who the killer is being knocked off one by one. The plot feature many shady characters who are all propped up as red herrings to divert ones attention away from where they should be looking.
Without Trace was directed Mario Caiano, who’s other notable films include Bullets Don’t Argue, Nightmare Castle, The Fighting Fists of Shanghai Joe, Weapons of Death and Nazi Love Camp 27. The screenplay for Without Trace was written by Massimo Felisatti (Silent Action) and Fabio Pittorru (The Lady in Red Kills Seven Times). The score for Without Trace was composed by Coriolano Gori, who’s other notable scores include Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs, Four Times That Night, The Sinful Nuns of Saint Valentine and Werewolf Woman. The cinematographers on Without Trace were Sebastiano Celeste (The Cop in Blue Jeans, Violent Naples) and Pier Luigi Santi (Blind Date).
The original Italian language title for Without Trace is …a Tutte Le Auto Della Polizia. The film’s international English language title Calling All Policecars is more in line with the original film’s Italian language title, than Without Trace is. Another alternate title that this film is also known by includes The Maniac Responsible.
Casting wise this film features several recognizable faces like Antonio Sabato (Mafia Connection, Seven Blood-Stained Orchids), Luciana Paluzzi (Thunderball, 99 Women), Enrico Maria Salerno (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Night Train Murders) and Gabriele Ferzetti (Once Upon a Time in the West, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service). Performance wise the entire cast more than hold their own in their respective roles.
The film’s pacing while sluggish at first. It eventually picks up by the time the young girl’s body is found. The film also does a good building tension through a series of misdirection’s. Visually the film is a stylish affair, especially the giallo influenced murder set pieces. When all is said and done, while it is easy to draw parallels between Without Trace and Massimo Dallamano’s poliziotteschi / giallo hybrids, What Have They Done to Solange? and What Have They Done to Your Daughters? Influences aside Without Trace is an first rate thriller that holds up well on its own.
Without Trace is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. The source used for this transfer is in very good shape with nicely saturated colors and flesh tones that look accurate. Details look crisp, black levels look strong and edge enhancement in minimal.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in Italian and removable English subtitles have been provided. Though the subtitles are easy to follow, it should be noted that there are several grammatical errors. The audio is also in good shape as it sounds clean, clear and balanced throughout.
This release comes with no extra content. Overall Without Trace gets a strong audio / video presentation from Mya Communication.