The Suspicious Death of a Minor (aKa Morte sospetta di una minorenne & Too Young to Die) is a 1975 Giallo film directed by Sergio Martino. Martino might not always get mentioned with the bigger Italian directors but he’s one of the best & definitely deserves the same respect as them! A jack of all trades filmmaker, he delivered in every genre he put his creative work in. As for example Giallos like The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh, The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail, All the Colors of the Dark, Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, Torso, & The Scorpion with Two Tails. Spaghetti Westerns such as Arizona Colt Returns & A Man Called Blade. Crime dramas features like The Violent Professionals, Chopper Squad, & Gambling City. Very impressed with his Sci Fi/Exploitation stuff such as Mondo Sex, The Mountain of the Cannibal God, Island of the Fishmen (Screamers), The Great Alligator, 2019, After the Fall of New York, & Hands of Steel. Plus he directed LOTS of comedy & many other different genres in cinema. The Suspicious Death of a Minor was also put together by Sergio’s brother/producer Luciano Martino (Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh, Case of the Scorpion’s Tail, All the Colors of the Dark, Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, Almost Human, Eaten Alive!, & A Blade in the Dark)!
The films opens with a young woman Marisa (played by: Patrizia Castaldi in her only acting role, she was a costume designer for “The Persian Lamb Coat” & “Sorry if it’s not”) waiting outside at a restaurant to meet up with someone. She gets a note from the waiter, she’s been stood up. A stranger approaches her flirting with some witty lines & trying to convince her to give him a shot. She has no interest until she notices a man in sunglasses (played by: Roberto Posse from ) is lurking around. She uses the stranger as a distraction from the mysterious stalker. She tries to make a call after she flees from the cafe. Something isn’t right, she has a secret & she’s running from her past. The unknown predator catches up to her & starts to choke Marisa but luckily she gets away from him. She goes to a familiar place looking for help but no one is there. Unfortunately the killer followed her & trapped her into destruction. This time she didn’t get away, she is brutally murdered with a knife. This opening kinda reminds me of “Psycho”, Marisa is built up as the main character & all the focus is on her in the beginning until she is killed off right away which leaves you shocked!
Two Inspectors arrive at the crime scene to do an investigation for this gruesome death. The investigators questioned the landlady, she doesn’t seem to know anything. All identification were fake & didn’t lead to any clues. The stranger from the beginning wants to know what she said to the police so he confronts & tries to get more information from the woman until the inspectors show up again. The stranger introduces himself as Paolo Germi (played by: Claudio Cassinelli from “Flavia, the Heretic”, “What Have They Done to Your Daughters?”, “Slave of the Cannibal God”, “The Great Alligator”, “Hercules”, & “Murder Rock”). He noticed a local pickpocket outside Giannino (played by: Adolfo Caruso from “La mazurka del barone, della santa e del fico fiorone”) stealing from the Inspectors without any hesitation so he offers him a way to make more money to support his family & asks him for his help to look into the crime with the woman he ran into from before.
Turns out she was a prostitute so he goes into the place she worked requesting a date. He tells her his boss is looking for younger girls & they make a deal. This leads to Floriana (played by: Barbara Magnolfi from “Suspiria”, “Cut and Run”, “The Sister of Ursula” ) coming over for business. Paolo says his boss isn’t there but still pays her with a check for barely doing anything. After a few questions, she leaves & goes straight to her pimp. Paolo & Giannino follow her to the location. The Pimp instantly notices the check she received wasn’t signed & he is furious! Paolo confronts the man & he starts blaming her this intrusion. He claims Floriana betrayed him. After arguing he shoots her & Paolo shoots her boss, both are killed in the gun fight. Two men arrive to the pimp’s house with a bag of cash. Paolo gets into a shoot out with the criminals as they flee the house. The money connects the pimp to the recent kidnapping of a kid that’s been all over the local news. This leads to a crazy car chase with the police! It is revealed after it’s done that Paolo is one of them! He was doing undercover work this whole time. He goes to the amusement park with his new side kick to interview the kidnapped girl’s best friend Gloria (played by: Jenny Tamburi from “The Psychic”, “Smile Before Death”, “Women in Cell Block 7”, “Seduction”, & “Blood and Bullets”) but before he can one of the criminals from the previous day starts shooting at the Inspector on a roller coaster!
Yes, you heard that right! I don’t remember seeing much of that in cinema history. The chase & gun fight goes from the amusement park to the subway. After digging into more clues & interviewing others close to the victims he discovers a underage girls trafficking ring that has connections with powerful people. After a long absence the mysterious villain with sun glasses goes back to where it all started. The landlady meets a gruesome demise in daylight where a girl witnesses everything. Soon after he tracks down another victim in a relentless killing spree! Paolo & Giannino finally get to talk to Gloria when the unknown monster with sun glasses shows up to take them all out. They protect the girl & after the chase Giannino proves he’s more than a thief. This brings the investigation to the powerful businessman Gaudenzio Pesce (played by: Massimo Girotti from “Baron Blood”, “Last Tango in Paris”, “In the Name of the Law”, & “Passion of Love”) that gets his attention to Paolo’s helpers. Giannino & Gloria receive a mysterious package & when opened it explodes. A vengeful Paol does everything in his power to give his friends justice!!!!
From the start, Luciano Michellini’s (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”, “Gambling City”, “Silent Action”, “Screamers”, & “Secrets of a Call Girl”) ) score/soundtrack really stands out & sounds amazing on this new Blu Ray from Arrow Video. Honestly, if I didn’t look up the credits for this I would have thought Goblin did this music. It reminded me of their early work in all those great giallos & Italian horror they did. It’s the perfect type of sound for this genre. I think it’s a little misleading to call The Suspicious Death of a Minor a typical giallo because it’s very different from most of the other ones I’ve ever seen. Don’t get me wrong, it has flashes of it throughout the film but it was more of a buddy cop crime drama with a decent amount of humor thrown in. It has a running joke where the main character keeps breaking his glasses. It’s a little wierd compared to Sergio Martino’s previous but it’s highly enjoyable with a solid cast that includes legend Mel Ferrer (“Nightmare City”, “Eaten Alive (76)”, “Eaten Alive! (80)”, “The Antichrist”, & “Brannigan”)! I’ve never seen this film before until today but I was impressed with the picture quality. As for the special features/extras: Troy Howarth (the author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films) does a very entertaining & knowledgeable audio commentary. You also get an almost 43 minute interview with director Sergio Martino called “Violent Milan”. I was VERY impressed by this release from Arrow Video. Recommended from Today’s Haul for any fans of Italian cinema, it’s a unique take on a popular genre from back then.