"Don't worry, Uncle. I promise I won't go near the river banks today. Bye!"
Enrico Rosseni (Fabio Testi) is a handsome, popular teacher at London's St. Mary's Catholic School for Girls. His wife Herta (Karin Baal) is also a teacher there, but their marriage is strained and Enrico has been having a secret affair with a student, Elizabeth (Cristina Galbó, credited as Christina Galbo). During one of their secret rendezvous, Elizabeth witnesses the murder of a classmate – but she and Enrico can't come forward without revealing their affair. With his tarnished reputation and no solid alibi, Enrico is a suspect in the case, but things turn quickly as more schoolgirls are murdered in the same brutal manner. Now Enrico must investigate on his own to discover what dark secrets link the victims. Who would want these girls dead and why? Are they as innocent as they appear? Could one of the school's priests be the killer? And how does a mysterious girl named Solange fit into the puzzle?
Besides having a fantastic title, What Have You Done To Solange? is an engaging, twisty, and complex thriller, ending in a place you'd never suspect. It also features something rare and wonderful in depicting the complex, grown-up relationship between husband and wife Enrico and Herta. They start the movie as ice-cold enemies, even taking separate cars to the same job, but the mystery unexpectedly brings them closer and, by working together to solve the case, they re-discover their love for each other. Watching a relationship re-kindle over the course of a movie is the stuff of serious art films and here it is in a giallo alongside Porky's-style scenes of a peeping Tom in a girls' shower and teenagers getting stabbed in their lady parts.
- The screenplay was based on a novel by Edgar Wallace
- The original Italian title (Cosa Avete Fatto a Solange?) uses the plural form of "You," which doesn't translate exactly into English. The closest we can get would be the colloquial What Have Y'all Done to Solange? It's a subtle difference, but it changes the meaning of the title dramatically.
- Ennio Morricone's score expertly transitions from a gauzy love theme to eerie dread and tense action.
- The main staircase of the school sort of does a half-twist, but I'm counting it as a spiral staircase anyway.
- The title, as I said, is brilliant. Using the unusual name "Solange" and taking the form of a question creates a sense of intrigue and anticipation before the movie even starts. Then the title character isn't even mentioned until about an hour and 12 minutes in, creating an even greater sense of mystery.
Not to give too much away, but there's a gruesome and upsetting flashback scene that takes place in a kitchen.
This movie's most jaw-dropping move is making an adulterous pedophile its hero and somehow redeeming him in the end. In that sense, he's sort of like Norman Bates in Psycho – the deranged sicko for whom we're compelled to root.
Herta starts the movie stern and cold, angry at her estranged husband. Her hair is a tight blonde helmet and she wears crisp, masculine suits.
But as she starts to re-discover her relationship with her husband, her look softens a little.
She lets her hair down, has more femenine makeup...
Brava to costume designer Elisa Gut for engineering a complete character arc through Herta's wardrobe.