Death Occurred Last Night

Death Occurred Last Night

"I wanted to see their faces. I wanted to be the first."

Amanzio Berzaghi (Raf Vallone) has raised his developmentally disabled, 25 year-old daughter Donatella (Gillian Bray) on his own, so when the girl suddenly goes missing from their locked apartment, he turns to Detective Ducca Lamberti (Frank Wolff) for help. Lamberti and his young partner Mascaranti (Gabriele Tinti) aren't afraid to circumvent standard police procedure by planting evidence and blackmailing criminals into helping the investigation. While the investigation takes Lamberti into the dangerous world of human trafficking, Amanzio takes matters into his own hands, discovering important clues on his own. Who kidnapped Donatella and what became of her? The answers can be found in a tangle of witness testimonies and in a small teddy bear.

Like The Suspicious Death of a Minor, Death Occurred Last Night walks the line between giallo and poliziottecschi. In fact, murder isn't even discussed until nearly 50 minutes into this 94-minute movie. A strong argument could be made that hard-boiled Ducca Lamberti, who frequently crosses moral lines in his investigation, is a classic polizotteschi archetype. But after the investigation gets going and after an exceptionally long montage of the police questioning prostitutes, the conspirators start killing to cover up their crimes and getting killed in retaliation. It may walk the genre line, but it qualifies as a giallo - an unusual giallo, but a giallo none the less.
  • Mrs. Lamberti (who is never given a first name) is played by Eva Renzi, whom you may recognize as gallery owner Monica in The Bird With the Crystal Plumage. One of the five movies she made in 1970.
  • The screenplay was based on the book I Milanese Ammzzano al Sabato (The Milanese Kill On Saturday). That title actually makes sense, but not until the very end of the movie.
  • Not only did Duccio Tessari write and direct the movie, he also co-wrote the two original songs, "Incompatibile" and "I giorni che ci appartengono"
What the Hell Am I Watching?

Lamberti goes home each night to a loving wife, who works at a newspaper. They banter flirtatiously, compare war stories about their days, commiserate about their jobs, and Duca unwinds by playing his guitar. It's not really a shocking or crazy moment, but a surprising and refreshing choice to show the calm, off-the-clock private life of a police detective in the middle of a case.

In fact, Mrs. Lamberti and her husband are so close that he enlists her to plant a giant brick of cocaine in a suspect's car. And she gracefully pulls it off as if it's not her first time.

When Berzaghi goes to the morgue to identify a body, they only uncover the corpse's feet. How can he identify a body by just looking at the feet?

Fashion Moment

This movie has a lot of prostitutes. A lot of prostitutes. And that means a lot of garish, unflattering clothes. Luckily, Mrs. Lamberti is around to class things up and she dresses in this smart white trench coat and wide-brimmed hat for her undercover mission at the car dealership.

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