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: ITALIAN CRIME FILMS: An Overview & Reviews  ( 70101 )
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« #150 : July 01, 2007, 08:03:59 AM »

I PADRONI DELLA CITTA' 1976- aka RULERS OF THE CITY aka MR. SCARFACE

Two young friends initiate themselves into a gang to get close to big time crime boss Mr. Scarface (Palance) to get revenge for a childhood murder and destroy his mob.

Fernando di Leo's third chapter in his second Euro Crime trilogy is a disappointing affair. The film starts out strong but slowly peters out after that and never regains steam until the final 15 minutes when the friend lure Scarface's mob into an abandoned factory where a ferocious gun battle complete with explosions takes place. There are very few action scenes other than numerous fist fights and nothing at all similar to other entries in the genre. Maybe I'll give it another view later but as of now, it's a big letdown considering reviews amp up the sleaze factor and aside from one brief bit of a gangster hanging by a meathook from his throat, the film is tame in comparison to other di Leo movies. No one even bleeds when they are shot.

The documentary on the Raro disc is very interesting (moreso than the film) including reminisces from di Leo himself. He says it is a film that gets regular play on Italian television.

Although Palance is featured prominently on the cover as well as the poster, he's barely in the movie. In fact, the US title of MR. SCARFACE is a bit of a misnomer. Palance figures in the nicely done opening but then disappears for large chunks of the film and is even killed off before the big confrontation.

Al Cliver is actually the films real star as he is the child that figures in the opening gundown. But it is Harry Bauer, a German actor, who gets the bulk of the screen time. One scene after another he engages in pseudo martial arts fights with various henchmen leading up to he and Cliver's big gun battle in the run down factory at the conclusion.

Edmund Purdom is also on hand but has even less to do than Palance. He plays Palance's lead rival and exits the film rather quickly and gets no time to shine.

Another beautful restoration from Raro with a fine documentary with subs. The film can either be viewed in Italian, Italian with english subs or the English dub itself. If only the numerous earlier releases from Raro had English tracks or subs.


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« #151 : July 01, 2007, 08:04:26 AM »

LA BANDA DEL GOBBO 1976- aka THE BAND & THE HUNCHBACK (literal translation) aka BROTHERS TILL WE DIE

Tomas Milian (dual role as Vincenzo & Monnezza), Nino Pazzafini, Sal Borgese

Vincenzo, a hunchback, plans a robbery of an armored police van with his gang. Once the job is pulled, his gang attempt to kill him and the band absconds with the loot. Vincenzo hides in the sewers before looking up his loony friend Monezza whom the police later interrogate for his involvement with vincenzo. Meanwhile, Vincenzo goes about getting revenge on his gang by knocking them off one at the time in various brutal fashion. He locks one in a freezer, lures Borgese away before putting a big hole in his head and greets one of them in the dentist office and performs some surgery with a big drill among other things.

The movie is very different from Lenzi's other cop movies. Humor is prevalent here often times somewhat dark. Milian owns this movie and is apparently playing characters from previous movies. Monnezza from LA BANDA DEL TRUCIDA and Vincenzo I assume from ROMA A MANO ARMATA. I do not speak Italian but understand some of it. Some of the scenes are quite humorous what I could make out. One involves Monnezza scarfing down lots of marijiuana as the police close in. He is taken into custody and upon being taken into an interrogation room, he sees a hippy and assumes it's Jesus come to take him away. There is even a line referring to a Claudia Cardinale movie!

It would be really interesting to know everything that is being said, but from what I gathered, some of the humor would be lost in translation. Another funny bit involves Monnezza inside a mental institution.

As a movie, the film is very average. There is very little action and in these scenes it would appear that Lenzi had little to no time to pull off convincing set pieces. The sole reason to watch is of course Milian. And not just one Milian performance but two. Also, it is most unusual to see a Lenzi Crime movie, much less a Lenzi movie period that features very little violence and what there is is often times offscreen anyways. The final battle between the crooks and the police is done well enough to make up for the shortcomings in the other brief action bits. The final scene with Vincenzo escaping on a bridge only to have a black cat cross his path proves hauntingly poetic.

This DVD from Federal Video is very good quality and the film has obviously been remastered. Recommended only for Milian's double performance and those that don't mind watching a movie in which they cannot totally understand the language.


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« #152 : July 01, 2007, 11:00:40 AM »

It was not.
Well the fact that Franco Nero/Commissioner Belli  lookalike Maurizio Merli was brought in to star in many of these movies following HIGH CRIME is just a co-incidence i take it?


« : July 01, 2007, 11:01:54 AM Banjo »
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« #153 : July 01, 2007, 01:24:30 PM »

I'm not even remotely an expert, Banjo. But, believe me, the wave of these movies started with the Steno's movie.


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« #154 : July 01, 2007, 01:31:27 PM »

I'm no expert either but from what i've seen or read its probably fair to say both movies had significant degrees of influence over this genre even if the Salerno film was the one that really kickstarted it all.

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« #155 : July 01, 2007, 01:44:11 PM »

I don't know about influence. Maybe.


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« #156 : July 04, 2007, 09:36:32 AM »

Review of Enzo Castellari's THE BIG RACKET(1976)

Fabio Testi is in brilliant form here playing Inspector Nico Palmieri,a ruthless cop with unorthodox methods trying to break up an violent protection racket that is wreaking chaos among the businesses of Rome.A particularly nasty group of heavys from the racket are in some cases even smashing or burning down shops/restaurants , raping innocent young girls simply to set an example before any money is extracted.

Palmieri has his work cut out because whenever he comes close to nailing down the bad guys he is either thwarted by shop owners being too petrified to testify,or the crooked defence lawyer again and again getting the bad guys off the hook.And early on in the movie whilst trying to track them,he just about survives being pushed of a cliff edge by the sadistic gang.

When a foiled police ambush results in the death of his partner,Palmieri decides on going to further extremes by MAGNIFICENT SEVEN style,recruiting various civilian victims or criminal victims all of which have a grudge or motive of defeating the organisation and typically for a Castellari movie,the climax ended in a tremendous shootout out where the Palmieri's "dirty half-dozen" open fire where all the racket big-wigs are holding a meeting in a factory.
 
This movie is maybe not as thought provoking as Castellari's landmark HIGH CRIME but makes up for it by being faster paced and including much more violence and action.Like HIGH CRIME and STREET LAW this contains a score from the De Angelis Brothers though this uptempo electric guitar music is totally unlike the wonderfully moody and atmospheric scores in those films.

Highly recommended,and i'm looking forward to catching Castellari's DAY OF THE COBRA shortly.

My rating 9 out of 10. O0

« : July 04, 2007, 09:38:38 AM Banjo »
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« #157 : July 04, 2007, 11:13:08 AM »

Fine review Banjo! I don't think I ever did one for this film. But you summed it up nicely. It should also be mentioned that Vincent Gardenia from DEATH WISH appeared here in a big role alongside Testi.


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« #158 : July 04, 2007, 11:40:24 AM »

LA CITTA' SCONVOLTA: CACCIA SPIETATA AI RAPITORI 1975- aka KIDNAP SYNDICATE

Luc Merenda, James Mason

Two young boys are kidnapped from school, one belonging to a wealthy industrialist named Fillipini(Mason), the other from Mario Corelli, a poor mechanic (Merenda). The criminals ask for billions in lire for their return. Fillipini would rather negotiate a cheaper deal for the exchange while Corelli would give up everything he has for his son. Soon after, the crooks become annoyed and murder one of the boys and only then does Fillipini pay what they want. Corelli, meanwhile, takes the law into his own hands.

Another fine crime film from master director Fernando di Leo. Luc Merenda is very, very good here and di Leo gets an emotional performance out of him here that contrasts nicely with Mason's coldness of his character. One dialog exchange sums up both characters perfectly. Corelli yells to Fillipini he would gladly give up everything he owns for the safe return of his son. Fillipini's response is simply--"But you have nothing."

Mason is in the film for a few scenes but once Merenda goes after the criminals he's not seen again. The finale is suitably violent where Corelli machine guns the bad guys in the top level of a business highrise then casually walks out gun in hand to get the sole remaining villaine where  the final confrontation takes place in a closed fairground. The last dialog exchange between Corelli and the last crook is excellent accompanied by the sounds of many sirens in the background.

Vittorio Caprioli is great as Commissioner Mangrini turning in another fine performance here. It's much more emotionally charged than his sarcastically agitated gig in the classic MILANO CALIBRO 9.

The only problem I have with the film is a problem in many of di Leo's movies. A minor quibble, but during the scene where Corelli executes the crooks in the building with the machine gun, there's no blood at all. No squibs save for the last guy. It's just jarring when you see holes erupt in walls but nothing on the people being shot especially when they're wearing bright colored clothing. All of di Leo's movies I've seen are like this. There's many scenes of startling violence but seldom use of squibs. I don't know why. di Leo's production schedules were longer than his fellow crime directors so I don't understand why squibs weren't employed more often. Anyway, a minor complaint nonetheless.

The documentary on this Raro release is very informative and runs nearly 30 minutes. The actual film is discussed little while NICK THE STING, another di Leo movie featuring Merenda is talked about more. Also SHOOT FIRST, DIE LATER is discussed. A great view and features some anecdotes from the man himself which must have already been shot (di Leo died in 2004). He gives an amusing bit of info about directors that did political spaghetti westerns (he doesn't reveal names but di Leo apparently had no love for said directors).

Some good action scenes, a very good Merenda performance and a well thought out storyline.


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« #159 : July 04, 2007, 03:36:50 PM »

UOMINI SI NASCE POLIZIOTTI SI MUORE (1976) LIVE LIKE A COP, DIE LIKE A MAN

Marc Porel, Ray Lovelock, Adolfo Celi

Fred (porel) and Tony (Lovelock) are two young undercover cops whose specialty is excessive force or more accurate, kill first and never have to ask
questions later. They foil a robbery and piss off a crime lord, The Boss (Celi) who has their partner gunned down in front of the police station. The two
rogue policemen then go about breaking up his operations as well as going to his home and setting ablaze his guests vehicles. The two cops eventually have a hit put out on them and get the chance to dispatch more of the Boss's gang until a somewhat weak but surprise finale involving the superior of the twovigilante cops.

Ruggero Deodato's warm up before his notorious cannibal flick THE LAST CANNIBAL WORLD which led to much publicized scandal with the subsequent classic CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. Here Deodato, as usual, shows a keen eye for action and setting up shots. The many accusations that this is the nastiest of the POLIZIOTTESHI is a bit exagerrated. While there is numerous violent scenes and much nudity it seems a bit tame compared to Fulci's CONTRABAND with Fabio Testi. Possibly in lieu of the reception given CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST did this film garner its reputation.

One scene is according to Deodato, lost forever where one of the failed minions of the Boss has his eye gouged out and is summarily squashed underfoot in close up. All you see is the bad guy digging into the socket as it cuts away but the way Deodato describes the scene it was apparently shot almost verbatim in Tarantino's KILL BILL 2.

The two leads are fine although they are completely unsympathetic as they at times are more sadistic than the villains themselves! They both are at the same time arrogant and charming but when the time comes to dispatch crooks they become just as murderous. Marc Porel, a french actor is a dead ringer for Michael Pare and co-star/singer Lovelock contributes a couple of songs to the soundtrack. One thing I noticed and it is confirmed in the 40 minute documentary is the similarities to Porel and Lovelock to the American show STARSKY & HUTCH. One is blonde and the other dark haired as well as wearing similar clothing although Porel-lovelock ride a motorcycle. Lovelock makes mention of this stating that the show had yet to premiere on Italian TV but wondered if the producer had already seen it and incorporated it into the script.

The film was written by Fernando Di Leo who was already a well known director of Italian crime cinema with his Milieu trilogy that featured Henry Silva and
Woody Strode among others.

Deodato's then wife Sylvia Dionisio (as well as her sister; both very pretty) is on hand as well.

The movie is fine if a bit over-rated and has enough original elements to rise above other entries in this genre.
I've just finished watching this movie today and  was struck by the Starsky & Hutch similarities with regard to their appearance and the obvious very close bonding between the two cops.At one point,they even take turns bedding the same woman.Though undoutably both Porel and Lovelock possess some charm,with their cold detached criminal tendencies they aren't actually very likeable yet maybe that was the directors intention here.
However from the polizio's i've seen so far for leading characters neither cut it as well as the likes of Merli,Milian,Saxon,Silva,Testi,Nero all of whom convince as charismatic hard men in the Dirty Harry tradition and for me Lovelock was more effective as the impressionable guy who was unfortunate to be taken under Milians wing in ALMOST HUMAN.
Anyway as regards the rest of the movie,its OK with the spectacular opening motorcycle chase easily being the highlight of the movies but unfortunately the finale is disappointingly one huge unsatisfactory anti-climax.I didn't even think it was that violent so i'm left to conclude that this movie is overated and as such i give it a 6 out of 10 rating. ???

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« #160 : July 05, 2007, 04:23:19 AM »

SQUADRA ANTISCIPPO 1976- COP IN BLUE JEANS

Tomas Milian, Jack Palance, Maria Rosaria Omaggia, Franco Garafolo

Nico Giraldi (Milian) heads a group of motorcycle police officers that are in the process of busting up a wave of robberies. When one of the crooks rips off a brief case containing 5 million US from an American mobster named Shelley (Palance), the Mob goes after them. Milian uses one of the small time thieves to lure out Shelley.

A wonderful crime movie with a large smattering of humor that retains its seriousness. I have heard the remaining ten sequels are straight comedies. Bruno Corbucci handles the numerous action scenes and stunts well and displays a knack for such sequences.

Milian, in his most memorable role in Italy, is obviously having a grand time as the swaggering, unkempt Giraldi. One funny scene in a discoteque has Milian wearing a hat with his real name written all over it. Apparently, Milian patterns his unshaven, dirty look after Pacino in SERPICO. There are numerous posters for the film all the walls in Giraldi's apartment. Milian sported this look previously in Lenzi's SYNDICATE SADISTS the previous year.

As mentioned earlier the stunts are fine and exciting for their time, but on more than a few occassions it's most obvious Milian is being doubled in both the fight scenes and the scenes involving him on his motorcycle. But then, Milian is an actor, not a fighter. Milian also showcases a closet full of wool hats with a myriad of different designs. He also has a pet mouse that pops up from time to time. The final scene is both cute and funny.

Palance is very good as the mobster Shelley who also doubles as a diplomat for the American Embassy in Italy. He's not in the film very much but his scenes are memorable. He's first seen disposing of one of his subordinates and is absent for most of the film until the extended finale where Giraldi chases him on his motorbike.

Omaggia is eye candy here and becomes Giraldi's girlfriend. She provides a bit of nudity and is seen in skimpy attire on a couple of occassions. She figures amusingly in the disco scene where Giraldi tries to get information from a homosexual who keeps feeling him up. Omaggia also shows ample skin in Umberto Lenzi's action packed, ultra-violent and gory zombie horror film NIGHTMARE CITY (1980).

This is the Raro DVD and it contains both the Italian and the English versions and a 15 minute doc on Milian which is conspicuous by his absence. Sadly, there are no subs on this documentary. The print used here has not been remastered as pristinely as previous Raro releases. From what I've found out Corbucci directed the remaining films in this series. I wonder if they are all as good as this one?


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« #161 : July 05, 2007, 04:26:00 AM »

ROMA VIOLENTA 1975- aka VIOLENT ROME

Maurizio Merli, Richard Conte, Ray Lovelock, John Steiner

I understand very little Italian so this synopsis is from what I could make out as this DVD had no english track nor subtitles.

Commissioner Betti (Merli) transfers to Rome to help quell the abundant crime and violence in the city. His methods prove to be as destructive as the criminals themselves. He is relieved of duty and is ultimately hired out by a rich business man (Conte) to lead a private group of vigilantes to eliminate as much scum as possible.

Maurizio Merli's first euro crime actioner is one mean mother and an outstanding start that would produce close to a dozen more violent Italo crime pictures. Merli commands your attention in every scene he is in and only needs to give an intimidating scowl to let you know somebody is about to get hurt. Merli, the king of the bitch slap gets to dole out mucho punishment here and director Marino Girolami (father to Enzo Castellari) gives him ample opportunity to do so.

The fight scenes are very good for a change and aren't as telegraphed as they are in so many Italian action films especially their westerns. Some of them are quite brutal such as the one where two men (including polizio regular Luciano Rossi) are caught after brutally raping Conte's daughter. Merli and his group viciously beat the two men with chains, baseball bats and crowbars. The beating Merli dishes out on a bus is also memorable.

The one scene that stands out most of all involves Merli chasing some crooks who have robbed a grocery store and murdered a woman and gunned down Betti's friend (Lovelock) in the process. Merli relentlessly chases the two men all over Rome. When they fail to lose him, they machine gun some women and children on the street in an attempt to get Betti to stop and see to the civilian casualties. Amazingly, Betti continues with the chase which ends up on the Freeway where the two villains attempt to lose Betti in the traffic. Needless to say, things end badly for the bad guys in what appears to be a modernized take on the famous gun duel seen in so many westerns. Merli would reprise his role as Betti in Lenzi's sequel NAPOLI VIOLENTA (1976).

Conte isn't in the film until 53 minutes in but his presence is welcome as he had become a regular face in these movies usually playing Mafia types similar to his portrayal in Coppola's GODFATHER.

Lovelock plays a character called 'The Blonde'(?) He takes a great deal of punishment throughout the movie for helping Betti nail the bad guys. The ending is a bit strange as Betti leaves Lovelock in the rest home and he foresees Betti gunned down in the street. As Betti turns the corner, we see a car approaching from behind him as the screen freezes before the credits roll.

An excellent Merli movie that desperately needs a US DVD release or at least a subtitled release from somewhere. There is an interview with Ray Lovelock here as well as a 7 minute doc on Italian crime movies by Daniele Magni and Silvio Giobbio who have apparently written a book on the subject bearing the title of Lenzi's THE CYNIC, THE RAT & THE FIST also starring Merli. The doc is specifically about Merli and shows shots from HIGH CRIME probably in lieu of the producers wanting a Nero look-alike for similar movies. Sadly, like the movie, none of these features have english subtitles.

There is a poster in the crime doc for a Merli movie entitled ITALIA A MANO ARMATA from 1976 with John Saxon that was made before Lenzi's ROMA A MANO ARMATA. Haven't heard of the former. Some other Merli movies which are listed on this DVD which I may know under a different name are POLIZIOTTO SENZA PAURA (1977), POLIZIOTTO SPRINT (1977 this may be the Merli movie where he is a motorbike racer), UN POLIZIOTTO SCOMODO (1978) SBIRRO, LA TUA LEGGE E LENTA...LA MIA NO! (1979) and POLIZIOTTO SOLITUDINE E RABBIA (1980). Any information on these others would be greatly appreciated.


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« #162 : July 05, 2007, 10:59:55 AM »

IL, BOSS- 1973 aka THE BOSS

Henry Silva, Richard Conte, Gianni Garko, Antonia Santilli

A hitman named Lanzetta kills a number of mob bosses in a private movie theater. In retaliation, Rina Daniello, the daughter of a rival crime family is kidnapped. Lanzetta is then sent to retrieve her. An ultimate plan to remove opposition in Don Corrasco's (Richard Conte) path is devised to leave only one "Family" in charge but this also includes Lanzetta who could be a major threat in the future.

Fernando di Leo's final film in his Mileau trilogy is the most violent and one of the best movies about the mafia ever made. This trilogy is di Leo's GODFATHER series. Only these films are separate entities with each film independent of the others. The first film dealing with the whereabouts of stolen mob money complete with a great double twist at the end, the second about a fall guy on the run from mob hitmen not knowing why they want him dead. And finally, the third about deceipt and treachery within the criminal organizations as well as the police force itself with the cunning and extremely intelligent hitman at the center of it all.

This third film almost didn't get released at all as di Leo brazenly used names of real individuals involved in criminal activity at the time one even being a religious figure. The names were changed only by adding or taking away a letter so people knew who was being referred to. The film went out anyway.

The opening is effectively brutal as Lanzetta sneaks into the private theater and kills the bosses with a grenade launcher! He then blows a couple of other guys up before taking a few more out with his silencer pistol. 

Henry Silva delivers one of his best roles I've seen as the seemingly unstoppable Lanzetta. He delivers a swaggering coolness to his character complete with many great lines of dialog. He is constantly one step ahead of the game but di Leo masterfully films the movie in such a fashion that you, the audience, are never quite sure what will happen next or if Lanzetta is truly going to survive.

He is Don Corrasco's head man and trusts him fully. Lanzetta has yet to fail him on a job. Corrasco is pressured by the other members of the syndicate to either make peace with his lead rival, or eliminate him completely. Corrasco decides there isn't enough room for both of them and decides to eradicate his rival and all his boys. When the hit is bungled, Corrasco is faced with eliminating Lanzetta to save face for attacking the other big boss. However, Lanzetta has plans of his own.

Once Silva has rescued the girl, he realizes what a drunken whore she is. In a scene prior she is seen enjoying the criminals taking turns having their way with her. After Lanzetta whisks her off to his apartment, her charms begin to work on him as well. After Lanzetta learns of the scheme to get him out of the way, he prepares for a final showdown with Corrasco and at the same time, deals with the crooked and corrupt Commissario Torri (Garko). Another double twist at the finale ends with a "continued..." title on the screen.

Conte (THE GODFATHER) is perfect as the mafia head Don Corrasco. He would die later that year. Conte also played a mafioso in Sergio Martino's classic THE VIOLENT PROFESSIONALS (1973).

Spaghetti western star and Robert Redford look-alike Gianni Garko is also good if a little hammy as the slightly loony Commissario Torri assigned to busting the "Family". He is secretly under the Mobs' employ. His scenes with his superior are very funny. Garko and Silva share one of the most memorable scenes together.

Santilli is also very good as the nymphomaniac daughter of one of the syndicate heads. She stays naked or in stages of undress through much of the movie.

Another film is included on a separate DVD entitled KILLER VS. KILLERS aka DEATH COMMANDO from 1985 and also directed by Fernando di Leo. The film was unreleased and is offered here in italian with english subs only. By this time, italian cinema had run its course and nearly all genre films whether it be action or horror was a lifeless shell of its former self. Judging by the first few minutes of KILLER VS. KILLERS (also starring Silva) it's not very good.

Watched this today,an utterly brilliant film and as good as anything i've seen so far in this genre.

I enjoyed Henry Silva in HILLS RUN RED and ASSASSINATION but i'm now a huge fan and like AC says Lanzetta(Silva) is compelling as  the cool hard-faced hitman who  outwits everyone and is ruthlessly efficient in dealing with his would be assassins.

Yes Gianni Garko with his greased back hair and waving arms is surprisingly goofy as the crooked police commisioner but the scenes shared with Silva are priceless.

And Conte makes for a better Godfather than Brando.

Great storyline.

My rating,10 out of 10 O0

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« #163 : July 08, 2007, 11:04:35 AM »

THE HEROIN BUSTERS 1977- LA VIA DELLA DROGA

Fabio Testi, David Hemmings

Two cops go deep undercover to bust open a Heroin smuggling ring.

Probably Castellari's most cold movie I've seen of his. It's not all that good although there are several directorial flourishes that you are not used to seeing from the man. Castellari could be quite inventive when he wanted to. One need look no further than his classic 1976 gothic western KEOMA. Here, the tone is also very grim but even more bleak because it deals with a very real problem that is still relevant today and will probably be relevant until the end of time.

Of the two main actors Hemmings is the most memorable with his many Merli inspired temper tantrums but he is not a presence in the action department which is left up to a very thin Fabio Testi. He sleepwalks through this one. Testi has a good look but he seems to not be all that interested in being in this movie. It also appears to have been shot with live sound even though the many italian actors are dubbed. The actor (whose name I cannot remember) that played in Castellari's hilarious JAWS rip-off THE LAST SHARK as the resort owner who refused to close the beaches, here plays the main drug king pin and he isn't very memorable either. He never really does anything to make him a strong villain. He seems more like a simple thug than anything else.

There are numerous occassions where the film could explore its possibilities further involving the deep cover cops played by Testi and Hemmings but the film misses these opportunities at every turn and opts instead for numerous scenes of people shooting up and action set pieces. There's more of the former than the latter but when there's action, it's done very well. Castellari is in his element directing action and he doesn't disappoint here. The finale features a nifty motorcycle chase that culminates with an airplane duel which seems to go on for a bit longer than need be. According to Castellari on the commentary track, the long shots of the planes were all remote control planes.

The film has some good bits but not enough for me to really recommend it although I will look at it again to hear the complete commentary track.


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« #164 : July 08, 2007, 11:05:12 AM »

LOADED GUNS 1974- aka COLPO IN CANNA

Ursula Andress, Woody Strode, Marc Porel

Even though there is an english version on this disc from Raro, I honestly cannot describe what this movie is supposed to be about. An empowered and sexually liberated woman (Andress) who is an airline stewardess by day and maneating vixen by night sets two gangs against each other in a Euro Crime parody of the genre in another tired redux of FISTFUL OF DOLLARS.

First, the crooks are never explained as to what it is that makes them crooks in the first place. If it is, I missed it. Woody Strode is the main "villain" yet he never seems to leave the one room you see him in the duration of the picture until the end when the film becomes a modern day TRINITY spectacle without any of the imagination or ingenuity.

Strode seems to be uncomfortable appearing in this and seems to have died and then brought back to life as he lumbers around like the Frankenstein monster. He is seen so little, that I had forgotten that he was in the movie. That would be due to the many numerous scenes of undress Andress finds herself in. In fact, if there were one reason to sit through this torture, it would be to watch the various times Ursula strips down for the camera. After about the third or fourth time she disrobes I said to myself, di Leo was obviously very horny when writing and directing this movie. And that was somewhat confirmed in the 20 minute doc on the DVD. Incidentally, the doc is miles away better than the film.

According to the makers, di Leo fantasised about Andress for years and only he and one other person wanted her for the role. No one else did as most of the crew felt she was "over-the-hill". In a funny bit one of the crew reminisces about Andress's crows feet and cellulite. She is still very attractive here and she is not at all shy about bearing it all. Also on the doc, the makers seem embarrassed to be associated with this movie and some of them try vainly to find something good to say about the whole affair. Yes, the notion of an independent and sexually empowering woman was risque in Italy at the time, but when the film with a character such as this is done so poorly as this one, this story arc is rendered useless.

Porel is here more or less to bed down with Andress when she feels like it in between making the other cast members swoon and turn to jelly which seems to happen wherever she goes. Romolo Puppo falls for it twice in the same scene! Some of the comedy is funny and viewing the italian version is better and funnier than the dub track but it improves the experience little.

The ridiculous finale featuring a near 15 minute fight between the two gangs is one of the most poorly and shoddy excuses for a fight sequence I have ever seen. If only this scene was a parody of the far too many bad fight scenes in Italian westerns and action movies then this scene would be the funniest bit of the entire flick. Sadly, I don't think that was the intention.

The english release title LOADED GUNS perfectly sums up Andress's endowment and would have been a perfect title to market this as a sexploitation movie since it succeeds more on that level than it does as a Euro crime picture. There's nary a gun in sight save for one or two (brief) glaringly out of place scenes of violence.

The repetitive and vaudevillian score is from Luis Bacalov.

I've tried to find something in the film to recommend and the only thing there is to warrant a view would again, be the numerous times you see Andress naked and they must have spent a bundle on costuming because when she isn't stepping out of her clothes, she's changing into some other revealing or sexy outfit. That's the only recommendation I can give on this one.


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