Quelli della calibro 38
Thus far on every occasion that a film directed by Massimo Dallamano has crossed my line of sight and made it to the screen, I’ve generally been impressed by the results. I say generally because his 1969 take on Venus in Furs left me cold, unimpressed, and most damagingly of all; bored! But since that fateful afternoon where I lost ninety minutes of my life to that asinine garbage, the films of his I have screened have had me reaching for the superlatives. The giallo double of What Have They Done to Solange? (1971) and What Have They Done to Your Daughters? (1974) were remarkably consistent examinations of not only corrupted innocence, but also how a mask of innocence and youth can conceal all manner of perversions. The former totally outgrew the Edgar Wallace pot-boiler which it took tacit inspiration from, and the latter injected some of the high octane action strategies of the Polizio/Euro-crime cycle into its formulaic gialli narrative. It is this fusion of elements which points forward to Dallamano’s inevitable full blown entry into the Polizio/Euro-crime cycle with the fast paced thriller Colt 38 Special Squad. He seems far more confident amongst the chase sequences, shootouts, fistfights, and vengeful violence of this cycle than the muted atmospherics of the passable The Night Child (1975), the rather dry and forgettable horror flick that preceded it. One of the great tragedies of popular Italian cinema was that Colt 38 Special Squad would be Dallamano’s last picture; certainly on the evidence displayed here Dallamano could have made a number of vital contributions to the cycle, and would no doubt have further enriched a variety of generic soil.
© Shaun Anderson 2012