Summary: Policeman (Frank Wolff) and father (Raf Vallone) search for kidnapper of Vallone's daughter
"Death Occurred Last Night" (1970) tells the story of the search for a girl in her twenties who was kidnapped and taken into white slavery (prostitution). The tragedy is compounded by the fact that she has the mind of a young child. Raf Vallone delivers a tremendous and emotional performance as the girl's father and caregiver. He manages to get police detective Frank Wolff on his side and Wolff conducts a meticulous investigation of Milan's brothels in the hope of finding the girl. Most of the story details this detection effort, but Vallone also stumbles across a clue that motivates his own search.
This is really a gripping story that maintains momentum and a feeling of realism and frustration of the search efforts. The personal elements of everyone concerned are brought out so well that the story never seems concocted or driven by obvious plot points. Rather, we move emotionally through the human landscape. Well-written police procedurals and detective-style pictures like this one manage to flow continuously and merge plot, character and emotion.
This movie lacks the standard features of a giallo: no horror, no multiple murders, no eroticism. It is not gruesome, features no gore, and does not have a mysterious gloved killer. The three other reviews that term this a giallo are therefore misleading. Only if that term is equated to a crime story does it apply, but that's a very general use and says nothing that we do not already know. Is this movie then a poliziottescho? Yes, it is much closer to that, because its main character is a policeman going about his job to solve a crime. But it should be noted that it lacks many of the standard features of that genre such as car chases, heists and gunfights. However, it does get into the theme of corruption, which is often found in poliziotteschi. I think of this film as a neo-noir, something along the lines of a movie like "The Detective" (1968). The movie definitely has a subtext of instability.