The police break into an attic apartment where they have been given a tip off that something terrible has occured, and their lead is correct for there, hanging from the rafters by a rope is the body of a teenage girl. As far as they can tell it was a suicide, and later in the office of the Assistant District Attorney, Vittoria Stori (Giovanna Ralli), the work into finding out who the deceased was carries on. However, when it becomes clear that the girl was the daughter of a rich society couple, talk of a conspiracy erupts - particularly when it is discovered that she was actually murdered...
What Have They Done To Your Daughters? has a reputation of being a giallo in the manner of the director and co-writer Massimo Dallamano's What Have You Done to Solange?, but on viewing it you will find something more akin to the police procedurals that were equally popular with Italian audiences of the time. Not that there aren't any of the expected sensationalised murder sequences, it's simply that they take a back seat to the investigation, specifically the sleuthing of Stori and her two righthand men, Inspectors Silvestri (Claudio Cassinelli) and Valentini (Mario Adorf).
It is this trio who are our crusaders, and it is they who uncover a series of crimes that, such was the way of these things, goes all the way to the top. At first it looks to be a case linked to prostitution, as the dead girl was involved in a ring that whored teenage schoolgirls, but soon the cops have found a blood-covered room which tells them that someone else has been murdered in connection with the case. They manage to identify this victim, not another girl as the press think, but a man with ties to the corruption and although his estranged wife doesn't care, his mistress is now in danger.
Dallamano takes a fairly nuts and bolts approach to his story, but every so often he'll push the boat out for a stylish action sequence, as when the mistress is tracked down to the hospital, where she is recovering from an operation, by a killer in black biker leathers and crash helmet to cover his identity. Here the director charges his camera through the corridors as Silvestri and his underling attempt to catch him, something the underling presumably regrets when the cleaver-wielding villain chops off his hand. Despite moments like that, this is not an excessively violent film for the most part.
In fact, much of what could be termed near the knuckle material is left to the dialogue, with plenty of explanations and conversations about the sleazy crimes being committed. This adds a professional air, but does leave you wishing for more sequences like the exciting car chase where the patrol vehicles hunt down the murderous motorcyclist only for him to evade capture in a way that is hard to believe - surely he would have been killed? For depth, the themes on worrying for the fate of modern teenagers, all of whom seem certain to end up in a bad way according to this film, in Italy at any rate, are more convincing than usual, in spite of the more exploitative elements which occasionally intrude. Best thing? The great music by Stelvio Cipriani.
Aka: La Polizia chiede aiuto, meaning The Police Want Help.
[Shameless' DVD has only trailers as extras, but it's a decent, uncut print.]