Sunday, 27 April 2014

Trauma (1978)

One of the problems with cheaply-dubbed police procedurals is never being sure if a witness's unconvincingly delivered lines are intentional, or just a result of the voice actor's limited skills.  This is a problem that crops up a few times in this film, which is something of a shame because by the standards of the cheaply-dubbed market, this is a pretty decent movie.

We begin with a scene where Inspector Di Salvo spots a woman shoplifting and takes her back to his place for some hanky-panky.  Are they a couple playing a sex game?  Or does he routinely do this?  The movie never explains, though given that he leaves her in the apartment when he is called on a case, I'm guessing it was the former.

The case in question is the rape and murder of a 17-year old girl.  Di Salvo begins the investigation by visiting the private school where the girl was studying.  He arrives just as the girls are coming in from sports class, and if you think this sounds like a cheap excuse to have lots of hopefully-legal actresses strip off, you'd be right.

Once the movie has its most egregious peep show segment over, it gets down to the business of the investigation.  It's actually a pretty fun one.  There are all sorts of weird clues, strange events, and further murders, as well as a ten year old girl (the sister of the murder victim) who keeps popping up with odd bits of evidence.  It's convoluted enough to give even a good cop a hard time, and given that Di Salvo's idea of investigation appears to be to burst into people's bedrooms shouting accusations, I'm not sure he qualifies.

The final resolution of the girl's murder is a pretty good one: neatly put together on the whole, and refreshingly non-crazy for an Italian film.

If you don't mind the sleaziness and the bad dubbing, this film (which is also known as Virgin Killer and Red Rings of Fear in English) is a decent way to spend 80 minutes.

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