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: ITALIAN CRIME FILMS: An Overview & Reviews  ( 109404 )
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« #225 : August 11, 2010, 07:49:19 PM »

Probably. But I can't see a significant change. Actually he, rather insanely, reproaches his pards for not having done more to save his son not taking into consideration the risk the kid was running.   

Anyway, it's just that I can't take Merli seriously. I can take Milian or Testi seriously, but Merli is just ridiculous. Though probably I'm alone there.


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« #226 : November 30, 2010, 01:32:25 AM »

IL CINICO, L'INFAME IL VIOLENTO (THE CYNIC, THE RAT & THE FIST) 1977. I've bought a dozen of these '70's italian poliziotteschi at  the price of 1 euro each. I think that's what they're worth. If this is one of the best movies of the genre I can only remain assured in my conviction that these movies are crap. Here the plot is ridiculous, as it plays on some genre's commonplaces which simply have no relationship to italian reality (for example, the fake death at the start is unimaginable. Not to talk of the relase of Saxon's from jail). What is gritty and acceptable in spaghetti-western because is a fantasy world at the start anyway, here cannot be taken by the viewer (at least this viewer) just as easily because he compares it to everyday reality and just doesn't click.  Here the only good thing is Milian's comic strain which will be developed later in the bruno corbucci's films. 4\10

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« #227 : December 06, 2010, 09:19:21 AM »

LA BANDA DEL GOBBO aka BROTHERS TILL WE DIE (1976). I continue to hurt myself with this cure of crappy italian crime movies. This is worthwhile only for the comedic part of it. Actually only for the lunatic asylum scene where Monnezza does the "word association" test with the doctor. that had me rolf but it gets completely lost on foreign viewers, I guess. The plot is so amateurish that it was probably thought out in a couple of afternoons. I saw an interview with Lenzi and he comes up as a better person than director. 4\10


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« #228 : December 06, 2010, 01:39:04 PM »

LA BANDA DEL GOBBO aka BROTHERS TILL WE DIE (1976). I continue to hurt myself with this cure of crappy italian crime movies. This is worthwhile only for the comedic part of it. Actually only for the lunatic asylum scene where Monnezza does the "word association" test with the doctor. that had me rolf but it gets completely lost on foreign viewers, I guess. The plot is so amateurish that it was probably thought out in a couple of afternoons. I saw an interview with Lenzi and he comes up as a better person than director. 4\10

I guess this is fair, but I enjoyed it to a good extent. Taking it for what it is, of course.

Yeah, the jokes wouldn't work in another language, I noticed that too.

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« #229 : December 07, 2010, 01:09:14 AM »

I'm with Titoli, I've seen about two dozen of these things (most being "the best the genre has to offer") and only Di Leo's MANHUNT can be described as a great movie.
The Merli films can be fun, when not bogged down by talky segments or politics, but overall they're unsubstantial fare.





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« #230 : December 07, 2010, 02:04:05 AM »

I'm with Titoli, I've seen about two dozen of these things (most being "the best the genre has to offer") and only Di Leo's MANHUNT can be described as a great movie.
The Merli films can be fun, when not bogged down by talky segments or politics, but overall they're unsubstantial fare.

How do you explain Tarantino's raving?


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« #231 : December 07, 2010, 10:57:25 AM »

I'm with Titoli, I've seen about two dozen of these things (most being "the best the genre has to offer") and only Di Leo's MANHUNT can be described as a great movie.
The Merli films can be fun, when not bogged down by talky segments or politics, but overall they're unsubstantial fare.



That's odd. You weren't saying this kind of thing before. MANHUNT a great movie? It's hardly great when compared with MILAN CALIBER 9, in my view, the classiest of the three. A good movie, yes. I don't find them unsubstantial. They're escapist entertainment at best with an occasional nod towards the controversial cop they are based on, Luigi Calabresi. I have a few Italian friends who absolutely adore Merli having seen his movies in the theater. It's all down to perception, but it makes no sense for you to tell me you LIKE a movie, then cater to anothers whim by calling it UNSUBSTANTIAL. You either like it or you don't.

As far as QT goes, the two hitmen (one white, one black) from the American film BONNIE'S KIDS (1973) are far more close to the PULP FICTION duo than Silva and Strode in MANHUNT. Even down to dialog and some of the scenes.

Movies like CONFESSIONS OF A POLICE CAPTAIN, HOW TO KILL A JUDGE, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WIFE, ALMOST HUMAN and SILENT ACTION are anything but junk. Pretty much anything Di Leo was involved in was good save for that other loose trilogy he did.


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« #232 : December 07, 2010, 01:15:21 PM »

Another thing is that they probably look exotic to you Americans. Hell, they look exotic to us Europeans.

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« #233 : December 07, 2010, 01:20:57 PM »

That's odd. You weren't saying this kind of thing before. MANHUNT a great movie? It's hardly great when compared with MILAN CALIBER 9, in my view, the classiest of the three. A good movie, yes. I don't find them unsubstantial. They're escapist entertainment at best with an occasional nod towards the controversial cop they are based on, Luigi Calabresi. I have a few Italian friends who absolutely adore Merli having seen his movies in the theater. It's all down to perception, but it makes no sense for you to tell me you LIKE a movie, then cater to anothers whim by calling it UNSUBSTANTIAL. You either like it or you don't.




Maybe "unsubstantial" was the wrong word but I don't think they are on par with the other genres the Italians were putting out during that time.
The Merli movies, for me, are as I said they are. Bogged down by a bunch of stuff that gets in the way of the action. The Merli films should be escapist fun but they always seem to turn into something else. At least the ones I've seen.

MILAN CALIBRE 9 I couldn't finish to be honest.
MANHUNT, I've always liked. The "one man against the world" concept is one I always enjoy and this is a great example of it.
The final climax in the dump is a little sketchy because the stuff with the crane doesn't really work (almost as if they didn't get much coverage that day) but it hardly hinders the rest of the movie.

IL BOSS's opening sequence is fantastic, fake dummies and all(!), but the middle is mostly a talky affair with a character (Silva) that is hard to get behind.
The climax with Garko and Silva is tense though.

SYNDICATE SADISTS is pretty solid all around and is a good example of how most of these things should be. Light entertainment.

Thanks for reminding me of ALMOST HUMAN, I had almost forgotten about it. It's really good and possibly my favorite of the bunch.

Other than those notables the rest  (probably around a dozen) I've seen range from mediocre (BROTHERS TIL WE DIE) to really bad (VIOLENCE FOR KICKS).

I'm surprised you're rushing to their defense as you yourself have said in the past that it is no wonder that the genre has been forgotten as most of the entries are a bunch of stinkers.

Mike Malloy's doc on the subject is a lot more entertaining than the films themselves.

But this is up to preferences anyway.
It seems that most people who dig the Spaghetti Westerns don't care for these films and vice versa.
My evidence stems from my own feelings and all those guys over at Lovelockandload who love the shit out of these movies but think little for the Westerns.
There are people in the middle but they're in the  minority.

« : December 07, 2010, 01:29:13 PM The Firecracker »



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« #234 : December 07, 2010, 01:22:59 PM »

HOW TO KILL A JUDGE


I heard that this was mostly boring.
I found the political intrigue to be very suspenseful and refreshing.
When this sort of thing is done in the Merli movies it feels tacked on but here we have a film 100% about the subject.




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« #235 : December 07, 2010, 01:50:38 PM »

I forgot to mention some others that are very good.

Sollima's Revolver
Castellari's Big Racket and Street Law

I don't care for his High Crime.
For many reasons, one being Nero seems overly silly as the firery commissioner.
Nero was best suited for the stoic gunslinger roles as he has a tendency to overact in anything else.
There is a surprsing amount of restraint in his lighter roles for Westerns (Companeros,Johnny Ears) so it seems to me he was most comfortable trying new things, and succeeding, in that genre than any other.
He himself told me the same thing in his own words.

I have the three Lee Van Cleef starring vehicles.

Perfect Killer- Very gritty/violent/mean spirited and a solid piece of work.

Mean Frank and Crazy Tony- flip flops from being a silly comedy to a really violent movie. Worth a look. It isn't bad.

The Squeeze- late period Italo crime movie. It's a heist movie with a ho-hum heist in the middle portion but the first and last act are really good.
It also features some of the best acting Van Cleef ever did.

Have you seen The Last Desperate Hours?
Apparently it's Sabato's finest hour.
I'd like to see it.




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« #236 : December 07, 2010, 04:22:03 PM »


Maybe "unsubstantial" was the wrong word but I don't think they are on par with the other genres the Italians were putting out during that time.
The Merli movies, for me, are as I said they are. Bogged down by a bunch of stuff that gets in the way of the action. The Merli films should be escapist fun but they always seem to turn into something else. At least the ones I've seen.

MILAN CALIBRE 9 I couldn't finish to be honest.
MANHUNT, I've always liked. The "one man against the world" concept is one I always enjoy and this is a great example of it.
The final climax in the dump is a little sketchy because the stuff with the crane doesn't really work (almost as if they didn't get much coverage that day) but it hardly hinders the rest of the movie.

IL BOSS's opening sequence is fantastic, fake dummies and all(!), but the middle is mostly a talky affair with a character (Silva) that is hard to get behind.
The climax with Garko and Silva is tense though.

SYNDICATE SADISTS is pretty solid all around and is a good example of how most of these things should be. Light entertainment.

Thanks for reminding me of ALMOST HUMAN, I had almost forgotten about it. It's really good and possibly my favorite of the bunch.

Other than those notables the rest  (probably around a dozen) I've seen range from mediocre (BROTHERS TIL WE DIE) to really bad (VIOLENCE FOR KICKS).

I'm surprised you're rushing to their defense as you yourself have said in the past that it is no wonder that the genre has been forgotten as most of the entries are a bunch of stinkers.

Mike Malloy's doc on the subject is a lot more entertaining than the films themselves.

But this is up to preferences anyway.
It seems that most people who dig the Spaghetti Westerns don't care for these films and vice versa.
My evidence stems from my own feelings and all those guys over at Lovelockandload who love the shit out of these movies but think little for the Westerns.
There are people in the middle but they're in the  minority.

No, you have told me you liked the Merli movies and yet to different people, your opinion changes towards whomever it is you are "talking to". It makes no sense to kiss one persons ass then pucker up for the dude behind him as well. If you're going to make an intelligent/pseudo intelligent assessment regarding a movie, make it stick from one person to the next for gods sake. This isn't about critical opinion of Maurizio Merli, or "rushing to his defense", it's about what you've said to me and the confoundedly different opinions given to somebody else which I assume is so you can score more DVD-R's instead of actually buying anything.

Which Merli movies "Turn into something else?" His first handful of movies were virtually the same damn movie with minor differences. It's those very films that people misleadingly appropriate as DIRTY HARRY clones, when in fact they weren't. It wasn't till later that his movies "Turned into something else". It's obvious to anyone with even a modicum of interest in the genre that if you watch Merli's films post CYNIC, RAT & FIST, he was trying for something totally different--

Comedy in FEARLESS FUZZ as well as not being the tough cop of other movies (he gets his ass kicked for crying out loud and you get a very naked Joan Collins on more than one occasion). THE REBEL is without doubt one of his best movies period. It's an international intrigue film about a clan of assassins Merli infiltrates and is light on action, but high on character and conspiracy. HUNTED CITY is another interesting movie that melds political underpinnings with a cop on the edge who must work with an aging mobster to solve a series of killings involving rich businessmen. Have you seen those? THOSE TURN INTO SOMETHING ELSE. Outside of ALMOST HUMAN, which I recall being the one who recommended it to you, which movies HAVE YOU SEEN ACTUALLY?

I never stated the Merli films were "Great". Do I think a number of them are some of the best of the genre? Yes, I do, but within the context of being escapist entertainment. To many Italians of the time, they needed a hero to identify with after the turmoil of the Calabresi controversy (not counting the Red Brigades, Ordine Nuovo, kidnappings, bombings, lower class youth gangs and other violence going on at the time) and Merli's movies were that cure brought about after the wild success of Castellari's HIGH CRIME (1973) with Nero. I assume you have seen that one?

Fernando Di Leo and Damiano Damiani are the masters of the genre in my opinion and truly delivered some great movies which a lot of people dislike because they don't have all the car crashes and shootouts of the violent cop thrillers. For every CONFESSIONS OF A POLICE CAPTAIN, or VIOLENT NAPLES you have a dozen RICCO, THE MEAN MACHINE's and KNELL, THE BLOODY AVENGER's.

Which are your notables, then? THE BOSS (1973) is another one that's good. A fine Mafia picture made all the better in that it connects and even names individuals involved in corruption at the time which makes for an even better experience. I liked the "talky" stretches. This movie is about Silva's character and he commands attention when he's on screen.

There are some 300 of these movies, Eric. To say most of them stink still leaves a good number of great, good and average entries left to enjoy. And I don't recall saying MOST of them stink, I believe I said A LOT of them. I haven't seen enough stinkers to say MOST OF THEM. Mike Malloy's documentary......I'm sure it's very enlightening, but how brazen is that to literally BEG fans to help you finish your movie when you, the filmmaker fail to secure the financing for YOUR OWN PROJECT?!?!?!?! As I said, I'm sure it's a very good documentary.

Regarding Italian cult cinema, I've seen close to 200 peplums. Do a lot of them stink? Yes, they do, but that doesn't mean some of the stinkers are void of any entertainment value. Some of those movies are truly worth watching and worth singing their praises as well. We're not talking Hollywood here and $40 million budgets, but movies made with what little they had to work with. Some turned grit to gold and others weren't so good at it. The spaghetti westerns you mention fall into exactly the same mire as the crime flicks. Just as many, if not MORE of those STINK to high heaven especially since there were twice as many of them. How many towns must get robbed of their gold, or how many times must we suffer through Anthony Steffen's lousy non acting, or how many times must one see George Hilton grin from ear to ear before enough is enough? I'd say there's about 100 truly great to good SW's and at least 50 truly great to good Italian crime pictures. We have had this conversation before. I'm not running to anyone's defense here.

Again, the main point here was your "Changing of the Guard" with your opinion. I remember what you said about CYNIC, that you liked it till they it turned into a jewel heist movie momentarily. ROME ARMED TO THE TEETH is another one I recall you stating you enjoyed quite a lot. Where does this Merli vehicle TURN INTO SOMETHING ELSE? What exactly is this SOMETHING ELSE???


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« #237 : December 07, 2010, 04:52:45 PM »


My evidence stems from my own feelings and all those guys over at Lovelockandload who love the shit out of these movies but think little for the Westerns.


Interesting you mention "those guys", when it's "those guys" who ran to Malloy's aid to help fund his documentary when he couldn't do it himself. Not running to THEIR defense, but calling it like I see it.


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« #238 : December 07, 2010, 05:23:17 PM »

No, you have told me you liked the Merli movies and yet to different people, your opinion changes towards whomever it is you are "talking to". It makes no sense to kiss one persons ass then pucker up for the dude behind him as well. If you're going to make an intelligent/pseudo intelligent assessment regarding a movie, make it stick from one person to the next for gods sake. This isn't about critical opinion of Maurizio Merli, or "rushing to his defense", it's about what you've said to me and the confoundedly different opinions given to somebody else which I assume is so you can score more DVD-R's instead of actually buying anything.

Which Merli movies "Turn into something else?" His first handful of movies were virtually the same damn movie with minor differences. It's those very films that people misleadingly appropriate as DIRTY HARRY clones, when in fact they weren't. It wasn't till later that his movies "Turned into something else". It's obvious to anyone with even a modicum of interest in the genre that if you watch Merli's films post CYNIC, RAT & FIST, he was trying for something totally different--

Comedy in FEARLESS FUZZ as well as not being the tough cop of other movies (he gets his ass kicked for crying out loud and you get a very naked Joan Collins on more than one occasion). THE REBEL is without doubt one of his best movies period. It's an international intrigue film about a clan of assassins Merli infiltrates and is light on action, but high on character and conspiracy. HUNTED CITY is another interesting movie that melds political underpinnings with a cop on the edge who must work with an aging mobster to solve a series of killings involving rich businessmen. Have you seen those? THOSE TURN INTO SOMETHING ELSE. Outside of ALMOST HUMAN, which I recall being the one who recommended it to you, which movies HAVE YOU SEEN ACTUALLY?

I never stated the Merli films were "Great". Do I think a number of them are some of the best of the genre? Yes, I do, but within the context of being escapist entertainment. To many Italians of the time, they needed a hero to identify with after the turmoil of the Calabresi controversy (not counting the Red Brigades, Ordine Nuovo, kidnappings, bombings, lower class youth gangs and other violence going on at the time) and Merli's movies were that cure brought about after the wild success of Castellari's HIGH CRIME (1973) with Nero. I assume you have seen that one?

Fernando Di Leo and Damiano Damiani are the masters of the genre in my opinion and truly delivered some great movies which a lot of people dislike because they don't have all the car crashes and shootouts of the violent cop thrillers. For every CONFESSIONS OF A POLICE CAPTAIN, or VIOLENT NAPLES you have a dozen RICCO, THE MEAN MACHINE's and KNELL, THE BLOODY AVENGER's.

Which are your notables, then? THE BOSS (1973) is another one that's good. A fine Mafia picture made all the better in that it connects and even names individuals involved in corruption at the time which makes for an even better experience. I liked the "talky" stretches. This movie is about Silva's character and he commands attention when he's on screen.

There are some 300 of these movies, Eric. To say most of them stink still leaves a good number of great, good and average entries left to enjoy. And I don't recall saying MOST of them stink, I believe I said A LOT of them. I haven't seen enough stinkers to say MOST OF THEM. Mike Malloy's documentary......I'm sure it's very enlightening, but how brazen is that to literally BEG fans to help you finish your movie when you, the filmmaker fail to secure the financing for YOUR OWN PROJECT?!?!?!?! As I said, I'm sure it's a very good documentary.

Regarding Italian cult cinema, I've seen close to 200 peplums. Do a lot of them stink? Yes, they do, but that doesn't mean some of the stinkers are void of any entertainment value. Some of those movies are truly worth watching and worth singing their praises as well. We're not talking Hollywood here and $40 million budgets, but movies made with what little they had to work with. Some turned grit to gold and others weren't so good at it. The spaghetti westerns you mention fall into exactly the same mire as the crime flicks. Just as many, if not MORE of those STINK to high heaven especially since there were twice as many of them. How many towns must get robbed of their gold, or how many times must we suffer through Anthony Steffen's lousy non acting, or how many times must one see George Hilton grin from ear to ear before enough is enough? I'd say there's about 100 truly great to good SW's and at least 50 truly great to good Italian crime pictures. We have had this conversation before. I'm not running to anyone's defense here.

Again, the main point here was your "Changing of the Guard" with your opinion. I remember what you said about CYNIC, that you liked it till they it turned into a jewel heist movie momentarily. ROME ARMED TO THE TEETH is another one I recall you stating you enjoyed quite a lot. Where does this Merli vehicle TURN INTO SOMETHING ELSE? What exactly is this SOMETHING ELSE???


Again, the main point here was your "Changing of the Guard" with your opinion.

You seem to forget that it has been a long time since we've spoken and years since I've discussed anything about these movies to you or anyone.
Does it occur to you that I've caught up with a lot of these titles since those days?
Is it at all possible that I have not liked most of these titles?
Certainly, and it's the truth.
So my original assessment of the genre isn't as rosey as it used to be.

I have not changed my opinion of Cynic and Teeth (although I like the alternate cut Assualt with a Deadly Weapon better). It's the other Merli films that I don't care for all that much.
It has been so long that I've seen any of them that I can't recall all the titles save for some of the more popular ones like Violent Naples and the other two of the "trilogy".

I just seem to feel that those 3 have been sold wrong to me.
They said they were action fests but had little action in it.
Naples and its companion pieces, always seem to turn into political intrigue/conspiracy movies or films that don't center around the exploits of Merli the policeman (then again, save for some of the violent set pieces, I don't recall much from them and could be wrong about the details of the subplots).
This is one of the reasons I prefer French Connection 2 to the original.
It centers around popeye.

Mike Malloy's documentary......I'm sure it's very enlightening, but how brazen is that to literally BEG fans to help you finish your movie when you, the filmmaker fail to secure the financing for YOUR OWN PROJECT?!?!?!?!

The film's main $20,000 budget was secured through investors.
The $10,000 raised through kickstarter was needed for film rights.
It wasn't begging. The people who put up the money were investors and will be compensated like any other investor.


The spaghetti westerns you mention fall into exactly the same mire as the crime flicks. Just as many, if not MORE of those STINK to high heaven especially since there were twice as many of them.

But the fact remains that I still enjoy them a whole lot more.
I think out of the 500+ films they made during that cycle (of which I've seen maybe 300 of) about 150 range from watchable to excellent pictures.
I'm having trouble getting through the first 20 of the Poliziotteschi that I've seen without wanting to give up.
It's down to personal preference.

I've already mentioned HIGH CRIME in the previous post.




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« #239 : December 07, 2010, 05:28:51 PM »

Interesting you mention "those guys", when it's "those guys" who ran to Malloy's aid to help fund his documentary when he couldn't do it himself. Not running to THEIR defense, but calling it like I see it.

You make finding funding for a picture sound so simple.
It ain't. Especially not about Italian Crime films that nobody cares to remember.

I didn't mean for the wording of "those guys" to be derogatory, if it came off as such I apologise.

Again, they are investors like any other. There is nothing different about physically meeting these people at a restaurant and asking them to invest in a picture than there is doing it over the internet.

This will be the last time I approach the subject.


So you haven't seen the Sabato film?
Titoli? Anybody?

« : December 07, 2010, 05:36:05 PM The Firecracker »



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