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A New Django, A New Vendetta

by Tony Nash

(A Part of Western Wednesdays)

(Mild Spoilers)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Review is of the Italian language version)

W Django! (1971)

W Django! (Viva! Django/A Man Called Django) (1971) PG-13 ****1/2

Anthony Steffen: Django

Stelio Candelli: Jeff

Glauco Onorato: Carranza

Donato Castellaneta: Paco

Chris Avram: Capitan Gomez (as Cris Avram)

Giovanni Cianfriglia: Jeff Gang Member

Riccardo Pizzuti: Thompson

Simonetta Vitelli: Inez (as Simone Blondell)

Esmerelda Barros: Lola

Benito Steffanelli: Ibanez

Remo Capitani: Sam

Written by: Nino Stresa

Directed by: Edoardo Mulargia (as Edward G. Muller)

Synopsis: After four bandits rape and murder his wife, gunslinger Django goes on a quest to find them and take his revenge. After freeing a Mexican horse thief from a lynch mob, Django learns three of the men are now: a respected businessman, a captain in the Mexican Federales, and the leader of a gang of smugglers. The horse thief keeps quiet about the fourth man, raising questions as to if he knows more than he’s willing to say.

W Django! AKA A Man Called Django! 1971 | Download movie

By 1971, the Italian Western was beginning its slow decline into a comedic shadow of its former self. There were some films however, such as Prega il Morto e Ammazza il Vivo (Shoot the Living and Pray for the Dead), Condenados a Vivir (Cutthroats 9), Su la Mani, Cadavere! Sei in Arresto (Hands Up Dead Man! You’re Under Arrest), Lo Chiamavano King (His Name Was King), and W Django, that were still quite good and held firm to the traditions and themes that made the genre great. W Django is probably the best of the bunch in that it took the formulaic story of murder and revenge and did an imaginative take on it. This go around has the famous gunslinger Django (many fans still debate if this is an official sequel to the Franco Nero original or not) on the pursuit of four criminals who broke into his home and killed his wife, but not before savagely raping her in the process. Django’s only clue is that one of the four men is currently leading a band of smugglers selling arms to both revolutionaries and the Mexican Federales. With the aid of a Mexican thief whom he saved from a lynching Django goes from place to place looking for the men who ruined his life. That the main character has only vague ideas of what the majority of the men he’s after look like, save for one, and must rely on a man who claims to have knowledge of where he can find his quarry make trust a very difficult thing as Django must constantly wonder what’s around the corner.

A Man Called Django (1971) | Once Upon a Time in a Western

Anthony Steffen, of the many icons of the Italian West, plays the title role of Django. Normally known for being stiff and wooden in his acting, Steffen actually delivers a very effective performance of a man whose life has lost all meaning after a horrible tragedy. The loss of the woman he loved has left Django a shell and void of the lust of life, but before resigning from the human race, must avenge his wife so she can have peace. Steffen’s stone face is perfect for the loner who has little to say and has only one single goal in mind, but still manages to convey some empathy for the character in that the loss of his wife was very hard for him. While his single thought is revenge, that one of the killers/rapists has a dominant hold over a town for his own nefarious purposes gives Django a chance to do one last big thing right, even if it’s really only an afterthought to his original intention.

A Man Called Django (1971) | Once Upon a Time in a Western

Glauco Onorato, an Italian character actor known equally for his dub work, particularly of fellow Italian Bud Spencer, offers a fine performance as the bandit Carranza. Resembling Eli Wallach from his roles as Tuco and Calvera, Carranza comes off initially as a low-level criminal who simply had the misfortune of being caught in the act of horse thieving. When it looked like he was gonna be lynched for the act, his life is surprisingly saved by the mysterious Django. Seemingly looking to repay Django’s aid, Carranza mentions he believes he knows where to find the men Django is looking for, and offers to accompany him in case his quarry has men around to protect his savior so he can have his revenge properly. Carranza, though, seems a little too willing to offer a hand, and soon the question becomes of what is he not telling Django about the case at hand. Whether he truly can be trusted or whether he knows more than meets the eye, or even protecting someone will only come to light when the time is right.

Stello Candelli as Jeff, giving orderrs to his men in “A Man Called Django” (1972)

Chris Avram as Maj. Gomez, one of the men Django's seeks in “A Man Called Django” (1972)

Riccardo Pizzuti as Thompson, one of the men Django seeks in “A Man Called Django” (1972)

Italian actors Stelio Candelli and Riccardo Pizzuti, and Romanian actor Chris Avram portray three of 4 men Django is looking to get for murdering his wife. Avram and Pizzuti’s characters have become respectable since committing the heinous act, Avram’s guy rising through the ranks of the Federales into a high level of command, though he still commits crooked acts here and there and Pizzuti’s guy is now a successful, albeit still devious, businessman. When they each meet with Django one stays the coward he is while the other accepts his fate, but won’t go down without a fight. Stelio Candelli’s character is still very much a crook and has gone a step further as an unscrupulous mercenary selling weapons to both the Fascist Federales and the rebellious revolutionaries looking to take over Mexico. Unlike his compatriots, he fails to recognize Django who has been looking for him to kill him at first, but even then arrogantly doesn’t see him as a threat. When they finally settle face to face, it becomes intense.

W! Django (1971) *Greek Subtitles* part 1/2 - video dailymotion

While very standard in its storytelling, W Django is still a very action-packed film that offers up amazing choreography in said scenes, a interesting array of characters, and a nice twist that, while not entirely unexpected, is still surprising in how it’s revealed.

(I highly recommend this early Late Era Italian Western as, while it came in that time period when the genre was beginning to deteriorate and falling into the hole of Comedy parodying and comic tales, it manages to retain the Golden Era style and themes that made it popular from the get go. The story in kinda generic in a way, but at the same time is told in a very interesting fashion that avoids the film being labeled as repetitive and copycatting, giving it its own voice. Anthony Steffen gets one of his rare opportunities  in this film to show he wasn’t a completely wooden actor and could deliver a fine performance when given enough room and chance. There are two Blu Ray releases of this film, one from Japan’s Orustak Pictures and the other from France’s Artus Films. I have the French Blu Ray Digibook and the restoration is very crisp and clean, looking much  like it did back in the day. The audio, which is only offered in Italian and French, are still very good to listen to and don’t appear to have much age or wear damage present in them. the extras aren’t English friendly either, but are still very interesting to have as they offer a new and different take on the genre. I haven’t seen the Japanese Blu Ray myself, but I do know it’s Italian language only with Japanese subtitles. The Japanese do fairly well in their Blu Ray and DVD restorations from what I’ve heard and seen as far as stills go and offer up the best product they can, so it’s a safe bet to go for, but the price differential can be tricky.)

All stills courtesy of Google.com/Google Images and their respective owners

for more information

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069479/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W_Django!

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/W_Django!

https://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/W_Django!

buying options

https://www.artusfilms.com/western-europeen/viva-django-293

https://www.cdjapan.co.jp/product/BORS-22?s_ssid=e4292a5f060a13affd

 

Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

Family Drama and Revenge in the Old West

by Tony Nash

(A Part of Western Wednesdays)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Mild Spoilers)

(Review is of the Spanish language version of the film)

Hands of a Gunfighter (1965) - IMDb

Ocaso de un Pistolero (Mani di Pistolero/Hands of a Gunfighter/Hands of a Gunman) (1965) PG-13 ***

Craig Hill: Dan Murphy (as Graig Hill)

Gloria Milland: Miriam Murphy

Carlos Romero Marchent: Pat Davis

Jose Guardiola: John Castle

Piero Lulli: Davey Castle

Raf Baldassarre: Deputy Sheriff Mack (as Ralph Baldwin)

Jesus Puente: Sheriff Robert Rogers

Lorenzo Robledo: Slim Castle

Hugo Blanco: Charlie Castle

Francisco Sanz: Alex Dixon (as Paco Sanz)

Conchita Nunez: Margaret Dixon Davis

Francisco Huetos: Andy Rogers Murphy

Written by: Joaquin Romero Marchent (as Joaquin Romero Hernandez)

Directed by: Rafael Romero Marchent

Synopsis: Dan Murphy, a gunman attempting to go straight, sees his world shattered when his infant son is accidentally killed by his rival Sheriff Rogers. Acting on an eye for eye, Murphy takes Rogers infant son away from him, raising the boy as his own. When Murphy must come to the aid of his friend Pat Davis, a young and recently married farmer, against the vicious Castle brothers, Rogers’ blindly loyal deputy threatens to arrest Murphy for his past sins unless Rogers’ son is returned to him. With two threats facing him, Dan is forced to take a long hard look at himself.

Ocaso de un pistolero/Hands of a Gunfighter/Mani di pistolero ...

Rafael Romero Marchent and Carlos Romero Marchent, the sons of filmmaker Joaquin Romero Marchent, make their debuts as director and actor respectively in Pistolero, written by their father. Continuing the family tradition of telling stories about gunmen having to face down their pasts as they try to do right by their loved ones, the senior Marchent crafted a story about a gunman who’s so hated by the town sheriff that the man blindly fires his gun at him, killing the gunman’s infant son. When the gunman pays back the sheriff by kidnapping his infant son so he and wife can raise the child they were robbed of, questions of right and wrong come into play and if some actions are truly justifiable. A nice side plot also includes the reforming gunman trying to help out his neighbors, a recently married couple, when one of a quartet of vicious brothers takes an interest in the young bride, recreating a classic element of both American and Italian Westerns.

Hands of a Gunfighter / Ocaso de un pistolero (1965) / AvaxHome

Craig Hill (credited as Graig Hill), a Mid-West born American actor who suddenly found himself without work after the hit series he starred in, Whirlybirds, ended, went over to Europe to star in his first Western. Dan Murphy is a bit of a mix, having elements of both American West tragic heroes and Euro West tragic heroes, as he wants to do right by his family and friends, but at the same time feels as if Destiny is against him and must do what he can to attain even the tiniest bit of happiness. Even at the beginning of the film he was getting his life on track, only to have it go on a dark path when his enemy the sheriff, who wouldn’t leave him alone, accidentally shoots his baby son, leading to revelations that show certain characters for who they truly are. When he’s hit with double trouble in the form of his good friend needing help in protecting himself and his wife from the less than honorable Castle brothers and the even less honorable sheriff threatening to ruin his life if he doesn’t get the son he never even tried to track down before back, the only grip Dan had left on his hopes and sanity begins to crumble, and even begins to believe his wife is turning against him.

Hands of a Gunfighter (1965) — The Movie Database (TMDb)

Hands of a Gunfighter (1965) | Once Upon a Time in a Western

Ocaso de un pistolero | SincroGuia

A slew of characters including Piero Lulli, Jesus Puente, Raf Baldassarre, Gloria Milland, Lorenzo Robledo, Francisco Sanz, and Hugo Blanco all make up the various characters in Dan’s life, whether they be allies, family, or enemies. The notable exceptions in the cast are Lulli as Davey Castle and Puente as Sheriff Robert Rogers. Lulli plays Castle as a slimy menacing type who instigates some of the feud between his family and Pat Davis and Dan Murphy by forcing Pat’s father to take up a gun when he and his brothers look to intimate Pat and his family after Pat is forced to kill the one brother when he attempted to sexually attack his wife. Puente’s Sheriff Rogers appears to be little more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing as while he seems to have some remorse in killing Dan’s infant son, he never the less threatens to make Dan and his wife’s lives miserable even though he was the cause of all the misfortune. That he waits years to finally ask for his son back puts his fatherly love and devotion into serious question as he apparently knew for years where Murphy and his wife had taken his son and never bothered previously to try and get him back or at least plea to be given a chance at making things right. That he comes off right away as someone who acts in haste seems to make that point true.

Hands of a Gunfighter (1965) Download YIFY Movie Torrent - YTS

While more American in its story, theme, and characterizations rather than Italian or Spanish, Pistolero is still an intriguing early stage Euro Western that offers up some interest. The closest the film gets to the burgeoning Italian style that was finding its roots in the wake of Sergio Leone’s success is when Dan begins going after the Castle family when they go too far in terrorizing Pat Davis and his wife. His systematic eliminating of the brothers so they can’t get the drop on him is very much in the Leone style and is the most exciting part of the entire film, while the rest seems to have more of the feel of a Frontier Drama rather than a traditional Western.

(This Western is middle of the road in terms of interest, but is still worth checking out as it’s a unique example of the genre in it’s early stages, showing how they used American Westerns as the basis, and worked their own style and magic in. Craig Hill in his debut Italian Western role is very effective and compelling, showing he was a talent that Hollywood didn’t give much of a chance to grow and flourish. He certainly had leading man looks, but even if he’d only done character parts in both Hollywood and Europe he’d still have been a success. The Blu Ray from Koch Media’s Italian Western line is exquisite looking, offering a clear and crisp transfer of the visuals, and clear audio via Spanish, German, and English soundtracks. Some of the English track is missing and English subtitles are available for the spots were the audio reverts to the original Spanish language. The extras are an interview, theatrical trailers and a gallery.)

All images courtesy of Google.com/Google Images and their respective owners

for more information

https://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Ocaso_de_un_pistolero

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059530/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hands_of_a_Gunfighter

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocaso_de_un_pistolero

https://www.mediamarkt.de/de/product/_blei-ist-sein-lohn-western-blu-ray-2433200.html

https://www.jpc.de/jpcng/movie/detail/-/art/blei-ist-sein-lohn/hnum/8296176

 

Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

The Euro Western Take on The Dirty Dozen

by Tony Nash

(A Part of Western Wednesdays)

(Mild Spoilers)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(This review is of the Italian language version)

Kill Them All and Come Back Alone (1968) - IMDb

Ammazzali Tutti e Torna Solo (Kill Them All and Come Back Alone/Go Kill Everybody and Come Back Alone) (1968) R ****1/2

Chuck Connors: Clyde McKay

Frank Wolff: Captain Lynch

Franco Citti: Hoagy, Gunman

Leo Anchoriz: Deker, Explosives Expert

Giovanni Cianfriglia: Blade, Knife Thrower (as Ken Wood)

Alberto Dell’Acqua: The Kid, Acrobat Fighter and Gunman

Hercules Cortes: Bogard, Strongman

Antonio Molino Rojo: A Sergeant

John Bartha: The Union Prison Camp Captain

Written by: Tito Capri, Francesco Scardamaglia, Joaquin Romero Hernandez, & Enzo G. Castellari

Directed by: Enzo G. Castellari

Synopsis: A Confederate General asks a known criminal and his motley crew of mercenaries to steal a cache of Union Army gold to help buy arms for the Confederacy. The raid is successful, but soon allegiances are torn apart by greed, duplicity, and the revelation someone involved in the plot may not be who he says he is.

Ammazzali tutti e torna solo

1968, hailed as the boom year for the Italian Westerns, had its mixture of ground-breaking films, and simply well told “B” films that audiences just sat back and enjoyed. Enzo G. Castellari already had a hit with Quella Sporca Storia nel West (Johnny Hamlet/The Dirtiest Story in the West), a Western adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but he wanted to also have a representation of the fun, tongue-in-cheek, action-oriented style films he enjoyed making. With this in mind, Ammazzali Tutti e Torna Solo was born. The recent success of Robert Aldrich’s The Dirty Dozen was inspiration enough for Castellari and his regular collaborator Tito Capri to take the idea of a rag-tag group of trained men and transplant them from WWII Europe to 1880’s Southern Borders. The one difference Castellari and his co-writers inserted in was that while the Dozen in the States had a code of honor they stuck by regardless, the gritty group in this one are shown to have no honor at all, even to each other. What Castellari finished with was a highly action-packed thrill ride that still had its flaws in order to allow for certain special effects to be used, but still came off as totally believable fun.

Amazon.com: Watch Kill Them All And Come Back Alone | Prime Video

Chuck Connors, an American TV star with two hit shows, The Rifleman and Branded, already under his belt, decided to break away from the images formed from those shows by taking the role of the untrustworthy criminal mercenary Clyde McKay. Taking a complete 360 degree turn from the stoic, kindly, and fatherly Lucas McCain, and to a lesser extent the stoic, kind, and honorable Jason McCord, Connors plays McKay as a man with a very adjustable conscience, little morals and scruples, letting little, if anything, stand in his way.  McKay makes no secret he’s a bad dude, and would probably sell out his cohorts to save himself, when someone hires for a job, he honors the contract and expects his clients to honor their side too. While having worked with the men he recruited before, McKay still doesn’t fully trust them, but knows for any amount of money, they’ll sell their skills to anyone. When he tries to double-cross them for his own greed, McKay is forced to rely on his soon to be former allies when the Union Army catches up with them. Upon finding someone has sold them all out, McKay is forced to rely on his wit and tricks to stay alive.

Un film-cult stasera sulla tv in chiaro: AMMAZZALI TUTTI E TORNA ...

Frank Wolff, one of the most respected and utilized American actors working in Europe, plays one of his most devious roles in the part of Captain Lynch. While trusted by his commanding officer and some of the other members of the Confederate Army, Lynch is really more than what he appears to be, and his motives aren’t as loyal to the cause as it looks. Clyde McKay takes an initial dislike to Lynch, and this gut feeling is what shows Lynch as a man not to be trusted. He’s eventually revealed as a triple agent, a thief posing as a Union Officer posing as a Confederate officer, so he can steal the gold for himself, and blame it on McKay and company. As shifty as he is crafty, Lynch works to turn the group against each other, playing up each man’s individual greed as his main weapon. But with McKay already not liking him, and having a feeling he isn’t a man to take at face value or his word, Lynch must constantly be on his guard.

Franco Citti as Hoagy, the expert gunman, in Kill Them All and ...

Giovanni Cianfriglia (Ken Wood) as Blade, the knife expert, in ...

Leo Anchoriz as Decker, the dynamite expert in Kill Them All and Come Back Alone (1968)

Alberto dell'Acqua as The Kid in Kill Them All and Come Back Alone (1968)

The always reliable character actors Franco Citti, Giovanni Cianfriglia (credited as Ken Wood), Alberto Dell’Acqua (sometimes credited as Robert Widmark), and Leo Anchoriz, all make up a fine bunch of swine in their respective roles of Hoagy, Blade, the Kid, and Deker. They all have their own specialties in the art of thievery and fighting, hence why McKay picked them for assignment of stealing the gold. Hoagy and Deker look to be the least trustworthy of the group as Hoagy is merely a gun for hire while Deker is an expert with explosives who has the ability to double-cross the gang whenever he likes. Blade and the Kid are equally not to be trusted, but they at least have a type of honor code ethics that turn up when it looks like McKay intends to screw over them and the Confederacy by stealing the gold for himself. But since all of them have a common hatred of authority, they agree that the War Between the States is, for people like them, a matter of looting and self-gain.

Hercules Cortes as Bogard, the strongman in Kill Them All and Come ...

For fans of 50’s to 70’s style professional wrestling, Alfonso Carlos Chicharro, better known professionally as Hercules Cortes, plays the role of Bogard, the last of the mercenaries. Cortes’ main bit in the film is to act as the brute strongman who takes out 10 to 20 men at one time for the group to even the odds, but he also shows pretty solid acting skills in some scenes. Sadly, this would be his only major role in a film as he died from injuries suffered in an auto accident while touring the US and Canada as one half of the American Wrestling Association Tag Team Champions.

Kill Them All and Come Back Alone (1968) / AvaxHome

Even with Castellari going a little over the top in the action and special effects scenes, the film is still very entertaining and allows the viewers to sit back and have the time of their lives. The story might be a little thin at times, but is certainly solid enough to be followed continuously and smoothly. The cast, especially Chuck Connors, Frank Wolff, and the actors playing the other mercenaries, all give good performances, and Connors was soon to begin his alternate career as villainous characters in both film and television until his passing in 1992 from cancer. In spite of overshooting for solid action driven plot and setting, Castellari shows the Italian Western could be equally fun and gritty at the same time.

(This a great example of letting your mind relax and enjoy the ride and while there is a nice twist, it’s one viewers can safely guess correctly on without having to think too much on it. Filmmaker Castellari is a director who can do both serious plot and character driven films and ones that are purely for fun and amusement, and mixes both to a certain extent here. Chuck Connors, in his only Italian Western ever, proved he could not only play against type, but do it in a fashion where the viewer both likes him and disagrees with him. It’s quite the shame he wasn’t able to do more of them, though his entrance in the genre came at the tail end of it’s Golden Age. There are two Blu Ray releases of this Western Cult Classic, one from Germany’s Koch Media and the other from Kino in the US. The German Blu Ray has a slightly better transfer in audio & visuals and offers some extras including an interview with co-star Giovanni Cianfriglia [aka Ken Wood]. Kino’s Blu Ray does offer a subtitle translation of the original Italian audio and an audio commentary from filmmaker and Italian Western fan Alex Cox, though many stalwart genre aficionados rightly question how much of a fan Cox really is. Both are English friendly, and while Kino does have a subtitle option for those who prefer the original release Italian language, the Koch Blu Ray wins out because of the effort put into making it quality.)

All images courtesy of Google.com/Google Images and their respective owners

for more information

https://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Ammazzali_tutti_e_torna_solo

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062659/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_Them_All_and_Come_Back_Alone

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammazzali_tutti_e_torna_solo

buying options

https://www.jpc.de/jpcng/movie/detail/-/art/toete-alle-und-kehr-allein-zurueck/hnum/8189755

https://www.mediamarkt.de/de/product/_t%C3%B6te-alle-und-kehr-allein-zur%C3%BCck-western-blu-ray-2412799.html

 

Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

Murder Mystery in The Old West

by Tony Nash

(A Part of Western Wednesdays)

(all opinions are of the author alone)

(Mild Spoilers)

(Review is of the Italian language version of the film)

The Grand Duel (1972) - IMDb

Il Grande Duello (The Grand Duel/The Big Showdown) (1972) R ****

Lee Van Cleef: Sheriff Clayton

Alberto Dentice: Philip Vermeer (as Peter O’Brien)

Horst Frank: David Saxon/The Patriarch Saxon

Jess Hahn: Big Horse, Stagecoach Driver

Marc Mazza: Sheriff Eli Saxon

Klaus Grunberg: Adam Saxon

Antonio Casale: Holk, Saxon henchman (as Antony Vernon)

Dominique Darel: Elizabeth

Elvira Cortese: Madame Oro

Written by: Ernesto Gastaldi

Directed by: Giancarlo Santi

Synopsis: Philip Vermeer, a hippie union leader, is wrongfully accused of the murder of the tyrannical Patriarch Saxon. When the man’s three equally tyrannical sons vow revenge, it’s up to Sheriff Clayton to save Vermeer, the town, and expose the real killer of the elder Saxon.

The Grand Duel / Il grande duello (1972) [Re-Up] / AvaxHome

The last of the Golden Age Italian Westerns before they slipped into the realm of parody, comedy, and downright poor low budget fares, Il Grande Duello offers a mix of what the genre was famous for: ambiguous characters who weren’t entirely good or bad, villains who were depraved and sadistic in their evil, beautiful landscapes, and unique scores. Screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi and Composer Luis Enrique Bacalov are just two of the classic stalwart names who made the genre the cult favorites they are today are on hand to make this film in the tradition of what was being made in the 1960’s that had audiences flocking to the theaters. This time around a Sheriff who was forced out of his position for standing up to corruption is the only one who can save a hotheaded Hippie-esque young man from being hanged by a trio of brothers who intend on maintaining their father’s tyrannical grip on a burgeoning community, who are sure someone there killed the despot old man. Now while many Italian Westerns of the late 60’s and early 70’s offered interesting mystery subplots, Duello is a bit different in that all the characters associated with the dead man clearly have reason to be the killer, so singling out one individual who could’ve done it is almost impossible. Mixing both the serious tone of a Leone or Corbucci story, and the unique camera and editing of Parolini and Castellari, Duello offers a fond farewell to a prosperous period of filmmaking that, had it not been for comedy filmmakers and lack of continuing originality, could’ve gone on forever.

The Grand Duel (1972)

Lee Van Cleef, the American character who was the most famous and most prolific in the Italian Western, gives what would be his final great performance in the genre before returning full time to Hollywood in the role of Sheriff Clayton. Mixing the hard bitten & edged characters of his earlier roles, and the mysteriousness of the Sabata character, Sheriff Clayton is man determined to prove he was unjustly dismissed from his position, stop the Saxon brothers from taking over the whole of the United States, and keep Philip Vermeer from getting himself killed. Having firsthand knowledge of, but keeping it to himself until the right moment, who really killed the Saxon Patriarch, Clayton is the only one who can set things right and take out a real threat to, not just a small town, but the US as a whole, all while keeping everyone on their guard to his motives. While he doesn’t care much for Vermeer’s personality and how he handles things, Clayton realizes the young man genuinely cares about protecting the people of the little hamlet and their rights, and must do what he can to keep the young man from doing something stupid that could very well cost him his life.

(Author’s note: This would be voice actor Emilio Cigoli’s final time dubbing Lee Van Cleef, and his final time voice dubbing in general, the remainder of his career spent being onscreen in TV and movies. Cigoli was Van Cleef’s primary dubber, except in La Resa di Conti (The Big Gundown), and both Sabata films, and one of a small number of voice actors whose own vocals greatly resembled the actor they were translating.)

The Grand Duel (1972) - HD English Trailer [1080p] // Il Grande duello -  YouTube

Alberto Dentice, in his only film role, does very well as Philip Vermeer. Another Old West take on the Counter-Culture movement, this time around portrayed as a guy with a chip on his shoulder wanting to handle his own problems even though he knows doing so would cost him his life. Since he dared speak against the Saxon family, and was purportedly the last one seen facing the old man before he was killed, Vermeer is unfortunately the most likely suspect. That the town believes in him as he helped them find some courage in standing up for their rights shows he’s not an entirely boastful braggart, and has some qualities that make him important for those who need help.  For his only film appearance and in a main role, Dentice is very convincing as Vermeer, mixing together brashness, sincerity, and honor into one personality.

The Grand Duel (1972) Giancarlo Santi, Lee Van Cleef, Alberto Dentice, Jess  Hahn, Western | RareFilm

The Grand Duel / Il grande duello (1972) [Re-Up] / AvaxHome

The Grand Duel (1972) Review |BasementRejects

German actors Horst Frank and Klaus Grunberg, and French actor Marc Mazza, are all very convincing slime balls in the respective roles of David, Adam, and Eli, the Saxon brothers. Frank pulls double duty in this, also portraying the Patriarch Saxon in the black and white flashbacks. Frank, who was the earliest known Italian Western regular baddie, gives his trademark sophisticated menacing smarts as David. Power hungry and maniacal, David wants to take the Saxons all the way to the White House, and suggests reestablishing the States as a Monarchy again where he’ll rule unopposed. He, like Clayton, knows who really killed his father the Patriarch, but unlike Clayton, doesn’t want the truth revealed, very likely out of fear it will destroy the Saxons rise in monetary and political power.

The Grand Duel & Keoma: Spaghetti Western Double Feature Blu-ray Review

Mazza, most famous as the big brute who gets slapped around by Terence Hill in Mio Nome il Nessuno (My Name is Nobody), is a mix of forcefulness and maniac paranoia as Eli. The town’s corrupt Sheriff who openly looks the other way to all the crimes committed, Eli enjoys the power his family has over the hamlet. Having been next to his father when he was shot, Eli feels the heaviest burden to locate and unmask his killer, believing he failed to protect the old man. His paranoia in finding the truth leads to brief clashes with his brothers, who feel he brings too much attention to them. Grunberg plays Adam as an effeminate sadist, who is the most brutal of the three brothers. Always decked out in white, he takes major offense if his suits are ruined for any reason. His penchant for excessive violence makes him the family hit man that David employs quite often on their enemies.

The Grand Duel (Il Grande duello) (1972) Download YIFY movie torrent - YTS

One of the few non-Garko based mystery Westerns of the era, Duello makes fine use of the flashback sequence and uses smoke screen style special effects to hide the identity of the real killer until the final 20 minutes of the film. All the actors do effective jobs in their respective, Van Cleef, Dentice, and Frank especially, keeping viewers constantly guessing as to who is truly the murderer of the evil Saxon Patriarch.

(I do highly recommend checking this one out, as not only is it one of the last hurrah’s in the great tradition of the Italian Western, but one of the few films in the genre that is under-seen and needs far more exposure than what its gotten. I made a slight error in my saying this was one of Lee Van Cleef’s last Italian films, he did go back to Italy here and there, but Duello was certainly the last time he was kind of primarily doing films over in Europe. The film never ended up in Public Domain hell like some films did, but for one reason or another never got an adequate DVD or Blu Ray release until Arrow Video got the rights to release the film not too long ago. Arrow’s transfer and release of the film is much like their other releases, always excellent in the audio and visual department with only small hints of age and damage remaining, and offering a slew of extras and a booklet [which might be out of print as booklets are now first run deals only].

all images courtesy of Google.com/Google Images and their respective owners

for more information

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068657/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grand_Duel

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Il_grande_duello

https://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Grande_duello,_Il

buying options

https://www.arrowfilms.com/product-detail/the-grand-duel-blu-ray/FCD1860

Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

A Cop’s Revenge and Honor

by Tony Nash

(a Part of Poliziotto e Criminale: The Poliziotteschi of the 1970’s)

(all opinions are of the author alone)

(Minor Spoilers)

(Review is of the Italian language version of the film)

PAURA IN CITTA" MOVIE POSTER - "PAURA IN CITTA" MOVIE POSTER

Paura in Citta (Fear in the City/Street War/Hot Stuff) (1976) ***1/2 R

Maurizio Merli: Commissario Mario Murri

James Mason: Il Questore di Polizia

Raymond Pellegrin: Alberto Lettieri

Fausto Tozzi: Maresciallo Epsosito

Silvia Dionisio: Laura Masoni

Gianni Elsner: Agente Diotallevi

Cyril Cusack: Giacomo Masoni

Franco Ressel: Procuratore Lo Cascio

Written by: Giuseppe Rosati & Giuseppe Pulieri

Directed by: Giuseppe Rosati

Synopsis: Police Inspector Murri beaks all the rules with his special squad to take down a gang of murderous thieves. This particular gang is in greater danger from Murri himself as they have a connection to a tragedy from Murri’s past.

IMCDb.org: OM Leoncino Mk.IV in "Paura in città, 1976"

The same year he did Roma Amano Armata (Rome Armed to the Teeth), Euro Crime star Maurizio Merli appeared in another film of the genre that, while not as unique as Armata, still provided a good dose of entertainment, story, intrigue, and action. Paura in Citta is far more plot and character driven than the usual tropes of the genre that focus on action subtle social commentary of the period, but still maintains the violent action the genre offered. The focus on storytelling and the characters involved is certainly unexpected and different, but at the same time offers a unique interpretation of the genre that shows what directions the genre could go had filmmakers been given a little more time to prepare the material. This go around sees a cop plagued by a recurring memory of a tragedy he couldn’t prevent, and the lengths and risks he’s willing to take to avenge not only the victims, but himself and others affected by the criminals. When the targets of his obsession escape from jail to kidnap a banker in charge of a huge monetary transaction by train, the cop sets in motion a wave of both professional and personal vendettas to see justice is complete.

Paura in città (1976) | il mio vizio e' una stanza chiusa

Maurizio Merli gives another of his rare fine performances in the role of Commissario Mario Murri. Merli rarely got to go into depth with a character in the genre, and goes into a fair bit of complexity with the character. Murri is a good cop consistently haunted by an experience from his past that eventually started affecting his work. Even before the tragedy took place, Murri was known for his unconventional and sometimes ruthless methods of apprehending criminals, which brought him into conflict with his superiors and government heads. While still in an administrative position, his superior the Prefect informs him he has a chance to redeem himself when the gang that affected his life escapes from jail to plan a big train robbery. Merli gets to explore something of a romance in this film as well as he falls in love with the daughter of the kidnapped banker he both has to protect and get information from regarding all of the business her father personally handled. This romance helps to bring him out of the shell of moroseness, but can’t quell the personal revenge he sorely needs to come full circle and be whole again.

Paura in città (1976) | il mio vizio e' una stanza chiusa

Paura in città (1976) смотреть онлайн

Best Actor: Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1973: Cyril Cusack in ...

British actors James Mason and Cyril Cusack, French actor Raymond Pellegrin, and Italian regulars Fausto Tozzi, Silvia Dionisio, and Franco Ressel help make up a fine cast of supporting players that are either Murri’s friends, his enemies, or those in a weary alliance with him. Mason plays Murri’s superior who has consistent stomach problems from worrying about the state of affairs of the country, and of how Murri’s actions will affect the political and public climate. Clearly an honest man, he’s also unafraid to put his foot down when necessary, and also gives Murri credit as a good cop. Raymond Pellegrin, who acted primarily in Italian crime films in the 70’s, plays the leader of the gang Murri swears revenge against. Ruthless and without any kind of morality, the gang leader does anything and everything to ensure the success of his schemes. An action of his in the past obviously went too far, and now without fully realizing it, has made his own life null and void. His straightforward kidnapping of a banker gives Murri the ammunition he needs to go after the man and his thugs. Cyril Cusack plays the timid banker whose information and clout are needed by the gang to pull off a seemingly full proof heist of an armored train robbery. Whether he participates willingly or not is up to interpretation.

Paura in città - Wikipedia

TRAILER - Paura in città - YouTube

Cool Ass Cinema: 02/07/09

Fausto Tozzi plays one of the members of Murri’s special squad. Like Murri, his character has no qualms about how to get the job done in bringing down criminals and making the city safe. While Murri was put in administration for his actions, Tozzi;s character was placed in the automotive division of the department, which apparently is very boring. When he too is offered the chance to redeem himself as well, he takes the opportunity with vigor and enthusiasm. Silvia Dionisio, an underrated actress and model, plays the daughter of the kidnapped banker. Going through the motions of a lackluster and mundane life without love and affection, the young woman’s life becomes interesting and anew when she meets inspector Murri. The relationship is at first cop and essential witness, but soon turns to friendship and then to love as they give each other new reason to live and second chances at full lives. Franco Ressel has a short, but still interesting role as a prosecutor, and the head of the major crimes unit who must work with Murri in apprehending the criminal gang. Very by the book, he’s none too appreciative of Murri’s gung-ho antics and finds himself almost constantly at odds with him.

Cool Ass Cinema: Fear In the City (1976) review

Very different in that the focus of the film is on the story and the moral ambiguity/redemption of the Maurizio Merli character, Paura in Citta is still a finely done Action Crime Drama. While not offering the high octane action normally associated to the genre, there’s still plenty of suspense and an excellent pursuit journey to prevent a major heist from going down. All the characters are still interesting, and are surprisingly relatable and sympathetic. Not one of the best of the genre, but a very good middle of the road style.

(I do recommend giving this film a look at as it offers something different within the genre, and, like with Banda del Gobbo, still maintains some of the staples of the genre that everyone would still enjoy. Maurizio Merli offers up an usually sympathetic portrayal of a policeman battling personal demons that can only leave him alone when he faces the men that ruined his life. This proves to be quite different from the usual gung-ho fascist like cops who’ve lost faith in the human race that he would normally play. The Blu Ray from Germany’s Koch Media Euro Crime boxset offers up a nice transfer in visual and audio quality. There’s some slight popping and hissing with the audio, but nothing to dampen the enjoyment of the film. The Blu Ray is English friendly, but only in the dubbed audio track, and no subtitles, but the Italian audio isn’t too hard to understand. There’s also a DVD from Italy, but that isn’t English friendly I’m afraid.)

all images courtesy of Google.com/Google Images and their respective owners

for more information

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075045/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paura_in_citt%C3%A0

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paura_in_citt%C3%A0

Normally I would offer a buying option here, but with the COVID Pandemic going on, I’m not sure how many German retailers are actually selling this in their online shops and and the same can be said with the all the Amazons, so I do recommend doing a little searching

 

 

Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

A Double Dose of Milian: Criminal Twins Bonding

by Tony Nash

(a Part of Poliziotto e Criminale: The Poliziotteschi of the 1970’s)

(all opinions are of the author alone)

(Spoiler free)

(Review is of the Italian language version)

La banda del gobbo (1978) - IMDb

La Banda del Gobbo (Gang of the Hunchback/Brothers Till We Die) (1978) R ****

Tomas Milian: Vincenzo “Il Gobbo” Marazzi/Sergio “Er Monezza” Marazzi

Pino Colizzi: Il Commissario Sarli

Mario Piave: Il Commissario Valenzi

Isa Danielli: Maria, i Donna nel Gobbo

Luciano Catenacci: Perrone

Guido Leontini: Mario “Er Sogliola” Di Gennaro

Nello Pazzafini: Carmine Ciacci

Pierangelo Civera: Romeo Esposito

Salvatore Borghese: Milo “Albanese” Dragovic (as Sal Borghese)

Solvi Stubing: Marika Engver

Written & Directed by: Umberto Lenzi

Synopsis: After some time abroad, notorious criminal Il Gobbo returns to Rome for one last heist before calling it quits. Along the way he reconnects with his identical twin brother Er Monezza, a crook turned auto mechanic. When Gobbo is betrayed by his crew, the brothers form an unusual alliance to get revenge and not cause much havoc.

IMCDb.org: 1973 Porsche 911 in "La banda del gobbo, 1978"

By the very late 1970’s the Euro Crime genre wave was pretty much at an end, but Umberto Lenzi, a high stalwart of the genre, decided if the genre was coming to end, he would have it go out with his own brand of a grand finale. Liking both his creation of Il Gobbo from his original treatment of Roma Amano Armata (Rome Armed to the Teeth) and Tomas Milian’s grand performance in the film, he decided to bring the character back for another go around. Since the first film gave the indication the character was dead, Lenzi gave this Il Gobbo a different last name and an entirely new personality. Instead of the homicidal psychopath of the original, this Il Gobo was a tough guy who played upon the mindset of his targets without ever having to physically attack them, making him something of an Anti-Hero and even somewhat likable. Making him the look alike twin brother to another popular character, Er Monezza (an Italian slang term for trash), Lenzi created a duo who were radically different from each other, but at the same time seemed to know each other in a way only twins can.

La banda del gobbo (1978)

La banda del gobbo (1978)

Tomas Milian, in one of his last Euro Crime films before committing full time to the adventures of special squad cop Nico Giraldi, gives his usual spot on style of talent as both Il Gobbo and Er Monezza. That Milian was able to balance two completely separate personas at almost the same time is another compliment to Milian’s dedication to and love of the craft of acting. Il Gobbo is a small time crook with a very big reputation thanks in part to his wisecracking antics and to the genetic abnormality he’s had since birth that easily separates him from the crowd. Unlike most criminals, Gobbo tries to avoid harming innocent civilians as much as he can, only going after cops and the upper crust of society. That he’s sympathetic to the working class, mostly from watching his younger twin brother work the daily grind in an auto lot, makes Il Gobbo unique in that he’s not completely without some essence of scruples. He’s also shown as very honor bound when it comes to the code of criminality, especially when it comes to handshake agreements. When he’s betrayed by three of his old friends during a fool proof armored car, Il Gobbo launches a special type of revenge that only affects the targets.

12092016: Attori che interpretano gemelli — In Danilo's mind ...

As Er Monezza, Milian delivers the polar opposite of Il Gobbo. Monezza in his own way is a simple man, only needing the basic necessities of life. A penny-ante hoodlum who finally decided to go straight, Monezza still engages in some of the methods he gleamed while still on the hustle, some of which do help him out when dealing with his obnoxious boss and the police detective dogging both him and his brother. Monezza is shown as very dedicated and very loving to his more criminal minded brother, always in his own subtle way trying to steer him in the right path, though his efforts are constantly thwarted. Despite his seemingly failed efforts, his brother does respect and admire him (and even loves him a little), primarily because he’s doing everything on his own with no help. While trying to help his brother leads to trouble for Monezza, he has little regrets as he knows his brother’s heart, even if it can be a little black, and knows his brother would hate himself should anything bad happen to him.

La banda del gobbo – Pianeta Cinema

Milian is supported in his role by a slew of venerable Italian character actors including Pino Colizzi, Nello Pazzafini, Guido Leontini, Luciano Catenacci, Salvatore Borghese, Isa Danielli, and Solvi Stubing, the majority of them playing characters that are either trying to help Il Gobbo in his schemes, or are trying to thwart and/or betray him. Leontini, Catenacci, and Borghese give pretty spot on performances and the three men who initially team with Gobbo, only to betray him and become the objects of his revenge.

Stasera in tv su Iris, dalla seconda serata in poi, omaggio a ...

While primarily an entertainment film, Lenzi does interject some his political beliefs into the character of Il Gobbo. Gobbo has a disdain for those in high society who look down the lower classes, and himself in particular because of his abnormality, and wishes to give such people what he feels are their just comeuppance. Even with his anger at being the object of certain people’s scorn at his physical appearance. Gobbo has no intention of killing them, only to humiliate them in a fairly ingenious fashion. While Lenzi hadn’t had the intention of making Gobbo a sympathetic revolutionary whose life was based on his social circumstances, something about that scene resonated with the youth of the era, and made his own impact.

La banda del gobbo – Pianeta Cinema

More of a revenge story than the typical outing in the Euro-Crime world, the film still offers the action and characters fans had come to love and expect from the genre that keep things solid and interesting. While not as intense or high octane as its predecessors, Banda del Gobbo is still an entertaining slice of Euro-Crime goodness that fans new and old should check out.

(This is another film I highly recommend checking out as it’s just pure entertainment and exciting. Tomas Milian offers one of his finest performances as the Marazzi brothers, keeping both radically different personalities finely balanced at all times. Stalwart fans might be disappointed the film lacks the violence the genre was normally known for, but that doesn’t make the film any less exciting as the cat and mouse game is still played among the cop and gangster characters. The film has two Blu Ray releases, a mediabook from X-Rated Films in Germany [which I think may now be out of print] and one last year from 88 Films in the UK. The UK Blu Ray is readily available and offers a solid visual transfer and audio transfer with translated English subtitles for the Italian audio. The UK release is all region so fans from anywhere in the world can import the Blu Ray with no worries at all if it will play.)

all images courtesy of Google.com/Google Images and their respective owners

for more information

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075720/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brothers_Till_We_Die

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_banda_del_gobbo

buying option

Brothers Till We Die – The Italian Collection 57

 

Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

Milian vs. Merli: Two Egos at War

by Tony Nash

(a Part of Poliziotto e Criminale: The Poliziotteschi of the 1970’s)

(all opions are of the author alone)

(Spoiler free)

(Review is of the Italian language version)

The Tough Ones (1976)

Roma Amano Armata (Rome Armed to the Teeth/The Tough Ones) (1976) R *****

Maurizio Merli: Commissario Leonardo Tanzi

Tomas Milian: Vincenzo “Il Gobbo” Moretto

Arthur Kennedy: Vice Questore Ruini

Giampiero Albertini: Commissario Francesco Caputo

Ivan Rassimov: Antonio “Tony” Parenzo

Maria Rosaria Omaggio: Anna, Juvenile Psychologist

Luciano Catenacci: Ferdinando Gerace

Stefano Patrizi: Stefano, College Punk

Biagio Pelligra: Savelli

Aldo Barberito: Maresciallo Pogliana

Corrado Solari: Albino, Gobbo Henchman

Written by: Dardano Sacchetti, from a story by Umberto Lenzi

Directed by: Umberto Lenzi

Synopsis: Police detective Tanzi, desperate to take down a notorious criminal named Ferrender, goes to extreme lengths to catch the man red-handed. When a seemingly harmless petty criminal called the Hunchback deliberately harms himself to discredit Lenzi as a loose cannon, Tanzi’s partner and their superior force him to take a desk job, making Tanzi realize the harmless man isn’t so harmless. In between these cases, Tanzi also deals with College delinquents, bank robberies, and a sinister drug dealer.

IMCDb.org: Piaggio Vespa in "Roma a mano armata, 1976"

In 1976 the Euro Crime genre was at its height, and noted genre producer Luciano Martino was looking to cash in once again. His idea was to put together two of the genre’s biggest stars in the same film, the duo was Tomas Milian and overnight star Maurizio Merli. The script that came about had a main plot mixed with several little side ones that allowed for diversity with the many ideas the writers wanted to use. The little side plots work quite nice as viewers are shown the varied types of criminals Italy had, from the petty criminals, to the spoiled privledged youths with no direction to the high-class criminals who hide behind respectability. While director Umberto Lenzi’s original treatment and Sachetti’s finalized script offer a lot of action and entertainment, Lenzi wanted to convey a little more depth than most of the predecessor and contemporary films of the genre in its social context. The cop protagonist is very cynical and believes the laws hinder the police and give the criminals too many loopholes to avoid arrest and imprisonment, almost wanting to return to a time when the police ruled absolutely with no boundaries. Mixing the standard police cracking down on various baddies throughout a film with the constantly at odds with the counter culture fascist cop made for something exciting and different in the genre.

Una scena tratta da Roma a Mano Armata ‧ Spoiler Alert

What should have been the cleverest team up of noted stars since Franco Nero and Tomas Milian in Vamos a Matar, Companeros! (Companeros) six years previously, evolved into one of the most antagonistic and volatile working relationships in Italian genre cinema. Both Tomas Milian and Maurizio Merli took an instant dislike to each other, and what merely began as neutrality turned into all out war. Both men had huge egos, Milian demanding artistic freedom and integrity, and Merli a full of himself prima donna and arrogant hothead due to his overnight success a year or two earlier. Merli had initiated the conflict when he tried upstaging Milian, who at this period had earned all of Rome’s admiration, and Milian, finally having enough of Merli’s pompous manner, physically attacked Merli by really kicking him during a scene. Lenzi was forced to step in to break the pair up before fists started being thrown, having a solid working relationship with both men, and Merli practically shouting he wouldn’t perform in the same space with Milian any longer, nor did he ever want to work him ever again.

The Tough Ones' on Blu-ray Finds the Beauty in Brutality

Maurizio Merli, while only have ever really acted in Euro Crime films, gives a surprisingly deep and semi-nuanced performance as Commissario Tanzi. Constantly bordering on clear sense of justice and complete fascism, Tanzi is sick of crime and even sicker of the laws that seem to help the criminals and hinder the police. Feeling all criminals should be prosecuted no matter what the crime is or if the offenders have records or not leads Tanzi into continual strife with not only his partner and their superior, but also his civic duty minded girlfriend who feels some criminals are redeemable if give the chance. When the apprehension of a dangerous criminal becomes an obsession and the shooting of a repeat offender who tried to run him over, it looks as if Tanzi is now bordering on being unredeemable himself. Merli plays Tanzi as a clearly hard-bitten cop whose been at the job too long and has most likely lost his faith in the human race thanks to all the depravity, violence and lack of morality he’s constantly forced to come into contact with. That he wants Italy to return to Mussolini’s idea of justice in giving the law absolute authority with no restrictions and to possible suspend the offenders civilian rights has him nearly bordering on being a criminal himself in wanting to denounce the idea of a democratic justice system. Whether he can be redeemed in some way is up to himself.

The Tough Ones (Blu-ray) : DVD Talk Review of the Blu-ray

Tomas Milian, one of Italy’s biggest genre stars, gives one of his top 5 performances as Vincenzo Moretto, alias Il Gobbo. Il Gobbo (Italian slang for The Hunchback) is a wily criminal with a psychotic side who does whatever he can to evade the law and succeed in the underworld. Playing Tanzi at his own game after he humiliates him and tries to entrap him, Il Gobbo deliberately slashes his own wrists in order to get out of police custody and accusing Tanzi of brute force. Both wisecracking and dangerous, Il Gobbo shows himself and crafty when he’s revealed as a big-time player in cahoots with the big boss Ferrender whose gone into hiding, making a lot of decisions in regards to crimes and money. Going between innocent and a little pathetic to downright arrogant and dangerous, Gobbo proves he’s a force not to be underestimated and to be fearful of. Milian’s usual style of mixing wacky and occasionally vulgar humor with unflinching moments of violence and mayhem is on display here and is as effective as always.

Unpopped Cinema: THE TOUGH ONES - BLU-RAY REVIEW

Cool Ass Cinema: 07/21/19

American actor Arthur Kennedy and Italian character player Giampiero Albertini offer two interesting and distinctly different interpretations of leading law enforcement officials. Kennedy plays Ruini, one of the chiefs of police who’s very by the book and allows little in-between room for handling cases. He’s made it clear several times over he doesn’t approve of Tanzi’s methods of handling criminals and his hatred of the recent laws passed, but does admit that Tanzi is a good cop who only wants to keep the people safe. Kennedy plays Ruini as a man willing to take any criticism and harshness about the system, but will fight back when his integrity and the need to make the system is questioned. Albertini plays Caputo, another leading investigator and Tanzi’s partner in the main division. Like Ruini, Caputo believes the judicial system needs to be given time to become effective, and like Tanzi believes leniency needs to be issued when dealing with career criminals and repeat offenders who know how to work the system. His own sense of justice comes under personal crisis when he realizes Tanzi’s been right about certain things, and must face those demons head on.

Roma a mano armata" di Umberto Lenzi: quel crime all'italiana ...

With Euro Crime films sometimes acting as entertainment commentary on Italy’s state of crime in the 70’s, Armata is no different in that approach. Mainly via Tanzi, Lenzi and his co-writer express their worry that the recently passed judiciary laws won’t be effective in curtailing criminal activity and that some veteran cops will want to resort to fascist style tactics in order to bring down the more dangerous offenders, which will only lead to more complications.

IMCDb.org: 1971 Laverda 750 SF in "Roma a mano armata, 1976"

A prime example of what Euro-Crime is all about, Roma Amano Armata is the near perfect blend of action, suspense, thrills, acting, and story. Underseen for some time in the States, the last 20 years have brought this gem of a film back to life, and reliving the days when the Italian youth of the 70’s went flocking to see the film.

(A absolute must watch for any fan of Euro Crime, whether they’re vets looking to add on to their catalog of titles, or newcomers looking for a good place to start viewing and collecting. Any Tomas Milian performance is worth seeing, and this film is a particularly good example, and well worth anyone wanting to know more about acting to take lessons from. The backstory of Milian and Merli’s heated working relationship alone is enough to make people interested in seeing how the mostly hate fueled atmosphere helped the film and its overall effect. The Blu Ray from Grindhouse Releasing [founded by the sadly late Sage Stallone, Sly’s son] is beautiful looking in both audio and visual quality, the crispness in image and soundtrack nearly brand brand new. A plethora of extras including interviews with Umberto Lenzi and Tomas Milian [both recorded before the two men passed away] as well as a retrospective style documentary on Lenzi, his career, and influence/impact on cinema as a whole are as much fun to enjoy as the film itself.)

all images courtesy of Google.com/Google Images and their respective owners

for more information

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tough_Ones_(1976_film)

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roma_a_mano_armata

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075152/

 

buying options

 

 

Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

When The Law and The Mafia Become One

by Tony Nash

(a Part of Poliziotto e Criminale: The Poliziotteschi of the 1970’s)

(all opinion are of the author alone)

(Mild Spoilers)

(This review is of the original Italian language version)

Confessions of a Police Captain (1971) - IMDb

Confessione di un Commissario di Polizia al Procuratore della Repubblica (Confessions of a Police Captain/Confessions of a Police Commissioner to the Assistant District Attorney) (1971) R *****

Franco Nero: Sostituto Procuratore Traini

Martin Balsam: Commissario Giacomo Bonavia

Marilu Tolo: Serena Li Puma

Luciano Catenacci: Ferdinando Lomunno (as Luciano Lorcas)

Claudio Gora: Procuratore Generale Malta

Arturo Dominici: Avvocato Canistraro

Gianfranco Prete: Giampaolo Rizzo

Michele Gammino: Gammino

Adolfo Lastretti: Michele Li Puma

Written by: Damiano Damiani and Salvatore Laurani, based on a story by Damiani & Fulvio Gicca Palli

Directed by: Damiano Damiani

Synopsis: Deputy D.A. Triani investigates what he first believes is a Police coverup when Commissioner Bonavia intentionally has a known psychotic criminal released to assassinate an untouchable mafioso with ties to the local government. Things change drastically however, when the Police Commissioner admits the Mafia and Government are working together, possibly even to the most important of officials.

Confessions.of.a.Police.Captain.1971.DUBBED.720p.BluRay.x264 ...

Filmmaker Damiano Damiani, well known for his social commentary and conspiracy films, presents one of his first Police and Political Thrillers that doubles as both entertaining and thought provoking. What at first appears to be a simple case of a high-ranking police official abusing his authority to finally get a dangerous criminal out of the way turns into a high-level investigation into the complicity of government officials helping the Mafia. At a time when people believed the Government of Italy was filled with Mafia plants, Damiani offers a disturbing idea that there is in fact no difference between politicians and gangsters, and that the supposed crime bosses are merely front men for the even more dastardly ambitious true powers. Police corruption is also highlighted within the film as the cop co-lead in the film has finally snapped from playing deaf and dumb to the illegal goings on around him and feels only by going rogue can any justice be done.

Confessions of a Police Captain (1971) Download YIFY Movie Torrent ...

Damiani, who was a member of Italy’s leftist movement to incite positive reform in his country, was no stranger to causing controversy and putting his life in danger. A year earlier he made a film about a teenage girl who single handedly defied social conventions and the Mafia by reporting a prominent Sicilian gangster had raped her. Damiani received threats on his life from the gangsters involved who were still alive after the fiasco had ended. This go around he was risking facing the wrath of both the Mafia and the Government itself over the innuendoes he was implying in regards to the Mafia and Government in a type of alliance.

Confessions of a Police Captain streaming online

Franco Nero, one of Italy’s finest actors, gives a subtle and nuanced performance as Traini. An idealistic Public Prosecutor fresh from internship, Traini is certain of corruption when a criminal with confirmed mental instability is all of sudden released under the orders of the Police Commissioner. When the man is gunned down in the building of a crooked construction developer believed to really be a mobster, Traini is certain the Police Commissioner has become a vigilante, looking to have the criminals eliminate each other through duplicity. Nero soon has Traini going into a form of paranoia and self-doubt as when he begins to dig deeper into the case, he finds many people he’s met in the justice system have connections to the Mafia. Nero has his character’s idealism breaking apart as he slowly comes to understand the disgraced Commissioner’s warnings that sometimes those meant to uphold the law in fact mock it for their own gains. Whether Traini will decide to fight back, or crumble under the weight of the devastating truth is left open to viewer opinion.

Confessions of a Police Captain / Confessione di un commissario di ...

Martin Balsam, a versatile American character actor, gives a rare layered and in depth performance as Commissario Bonavia Balsam plays Bonavia a cop that was once hopeful and idealistic, but quickly became hardened to the process of justice as he began to realize how adjustable the departments morals and conscious’ were. Initially willing to play ball because he thought the greater good would come from letting the bad guys think they were fooling the police, Balsam has Bonavia fatalistically realize that the corruption he first noticed went into the government houses as well, particularly after the shooting of a union leader whom his daughter loved, and the death of a shepherd boy who witnessed the death of a land owner who wouldn’t sell his property. Balsam shows a true inner conflict within the character Bonavia as it becomes clear he was once OK with looking the other way, but after a time realized he was only fooling himself and that he’s in fact a collaborator, albeit in a reluctant sense. Finding out the mafioso he tried to have killed was behind the incidents that hardened him years earlier, Bonavia comes to realize he can either still knuckle under the thumb of the powers at hand, or he can do something about it, even if it means the cost of his life at the hands of the men he helped put into prison in the past.

Confessions of a Police Captain - Internet Movie Firearms Database ...

A slew of Italian character performers including Marilu Tolo, Arturo Dominici, Claudio Gora, and Luciano Catenacci help make up an interesting gallery of characters who play varied crucial roles as either gangsters, those associated to gangsters, and politicians leading double lives and criminals. Every character is either helpful or hindering to Triani in his investigation.

(Author’s note: To not spoil the ending, not much will be said of these other characters)

Confessions of a Police Captain - Wikidata

Complex, intriguing, entertaining, and involved, the film offers a mix of thrilling storytelling and social commentary that only auteur Jean-Pierre Melville was previously capable of making work. Damiani is more of a heavy hitter than Melville in his subtlety in handling the material, but still makes enough of an impact that fans have plenty to find involving and engaging.

(I highly recommend giving this film a look at as its one of the cornerstones of the Euro Crime genre, and partly made up the template for what genre regular filmmakers like Umberto Lenzi and Fernando Di Leo would implement into their own work. The Blu Ray from the German distributor FilmArt was sadly limited to only 1000 copies and is now out of print, but can be found for 25 Euros on the secondary markets and can be viewed [possibly only as the English dub track] on the internet site Tubi. FilmArt’s audio and visual transfer of the film was stunning and looked very crisp and clear. The audio has some moments of popping, but given the age of the film and the copies of copies floating all over the grey market area companies over the years, the quality is still high end.)

all images courtesy of Google.com/Google Images and their respective owners

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066940/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confessions_of_a_Police_Captain

 

Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

The Wiley Gangster

by Tony Nash

(a Part of Poliziotto e Criminale: The Poliziotteschi of the 1970’s)

(all opinions are of the author alone)

(Mild Spoilers)

(This review is of the original Italian language version)

Napoli spara! | Film, Fantascienza, Storia del cinema

Napoli Spara! (Weapons of Death/Shoot, Naples, Shoot!) (1977) **** R

Leonard Mann: Commissario Antonio Belli

Henry Silva: Salvatore Santoro

Jeff Blynn: Special Agent Salvatore Guidi

Massimo Deda: Gennarino

Ida Galli: Lucia Parisi (as Evelyne Stewart)

Massimo Vanni: The Undercover Cop

Tino Bianchi: Don Alfredo Criscuolo

Mario Pilari: Michele Rosati

Enrico Maisto: Ferdinando Licata

Tommaso Palladino: Vincenzo Calise

Adolfo Lastretti: The Pedophile

Written by: Gianfranco Clerici and Vincenzo Mannino

Directed by: Mario Caiano

Synopsis: Naples Police Commissioner Belli becomes determined to stop on the rise mobster Santoro, but can’t pin anything on him, while also trying to convince a youngster to stop hustling people. While finding evidence against the crafty criminal, Belli deals with everything from armed robbery to petty crime to sexual offenders.

Weapons of Death (Napoli spara!) - Internet Movie Firearms ...

By the late 1970’s, the Euro Crime films were beginning to dwindle in popularity, but some were still able to entertain and excite audiences all over Italy. Napoli Spara! is one of many examples of a late period of Euro Crime to maintain an exciting atmosphere and story. Mixing a central story with some side plot lines, audiences get to see the main police inspector character go from mission to mission, and meeting to meeting with either suspects or fellow police force members as he tries to end the reign of terror and violence being instigated by an ambitious mobster looking to become a major power player in the area. While a fun and entertaining ride, like any police film of the period it had its relations to real life events. The local governing body of Naples at this period had collapsed and the Mafia pretty much had total control of the city, but there was still an element of order still in play via the police department, albeit a somewhat overworked and over taxed department relying primarily on each unit’s own personal judgments.

Weapons of Death (Napoli spara!) - Internet Movie Firearms ...

Leonard Mann, an Italian American actor who returned to his family’s roots to act in films, does the standard, but still effective performance as the lead detective Belli. A cop frustrated by the machinations of both the professional underworld and the petty amateur criminals, Mann has Belli constantly on edge and giving both his superiors, and the men under his command constant speeches in how they should be more effective curtailing the constantly rising crime rates of the area. While unapologetically rough, gruff, and no-nonsense, Belli also has a sensitive side in his fatherly affection of the juvenile delinquent Gennarino, a hustler and con artist Belli constantly tries to reform, with seemingly no results. Mann shows off his capabilities as a stuntman in the film when Belli must climb atop a stolen tanker truck to subdue the driver who has just caused the death of a family on an afternoon drive.

Weapons of Death (Napoli spara!) - Internet Movie Firearms ...

Henry Silva, one of the many 50’s and 60’s eras American actors who had a successful second career in Italy, is his usual smiling menace and steely eyed stone face as Santoro. One of the deadlier baddies of the Euro Crime genre, Santoro leads daring robberies in broad daylight with little worry of who gets in his way. His aim is to take over one of the bigger syndicates from one of the ailing dons of the crime families. While he has little concern for the majority of civilians who often become casualties of his crimes, he has a surprising respect for Commissioner Belli who’s constantly on his tail and dogging him. This is partly because Belli has saved his life via competitors and because Santoro respects a man who doesn’t let the confines of procedure stop him from getting the job done.

(Sadly, Silva didn’t provide his voice for the English dubbing)

Napoli spara: Guida TV, Trama e Cast - TV Sorrisi e Canzoni

Ida Galli, was more known in the seventies by her Anglo pseudonym Evelyn Stewart (and its occasional variant spellings), makes a very brief, but necessary cameo appearance as Lucia Parisi. Lucia provides the key to helping take down Santoro, but is probably unaware of what importance she holds. Jeff Blynn, an American model in Europe turned actor, plays a supporting role of agent Guidi. Guidi is a special operative that primarily works undercover as a cab driver who deals mainly in thefts via automobiles, and also follows around people of interest for arrest and questioning by the police.

Weapons of Death (Napoli spara!) - Internet Movie Firearms ...

An interesting cast note, the character of Guidi was originally meant to feature more prominently in the film, and was to be played by Maurizio Merli. Leonard Mann wasn’t keen on working with Merli after having heard stories about Merli’s on set behavior, and having met the actor at one point and taking an immediate dislike to him.

Inseguimento car chase - Napoli spara! 1977 - YouTube

By the numbers in terms of plot and action, Napoli Spara! still offers the high octane entertainment that fans of the time and even the fans of today expect from the genre. Even on the smaller scale than its predecessors, there’s still plenty to love about the film.

(I do highly recommend this film for fans of action crime films and the Euro Crime genre as a whole. The ending is something of a let down and not the usual fare that fans would expect, and while certainly different and daring, unfortunately hurts the film more than helps. It would’ve been interesting to see Leonard Mann and Maurizio Merli working together in the same film, but no one can really blame Mann for being wary of Merli’s reputation as something of a prima donna. Merli’s name on the film certainly would’ve raised in the ante in anticipation, profit, and even budget for the film’s overall success, but the cast at hand still does a fine job. The film is on a Blu Ray double bill with Italia Amano e Armata (A Special Cop in Action) from Dorado Films. Their transfer of the film via audio and visual is really good considering they’re a relatively small company. )

all images courtesy of Google.com/Google Images and their respective owners

for more information

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0188083/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weapons_of_Death

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoli_spara!

buying option

https://www.facebook.com/commerce/products/1764291743670206/

Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

Indiana Jones…As Envisioned By Just Jaeckin

by Tony Nash

(Artistic Erotica 3)

(Mild Spoilers)

(All Opinions are of the author alone)

(This review is of the longer original French language version)

(Author’s Note: While not abundant in nudity, certain stills may be repeated)

Gwendoline (1984) - IMDb

Gwendoline (1984) NC-17 ****1/2

Tawny Kitaen: Gwendoline

Brent Huff: Willard

Zabou Breitman: Beth (as Zabou)

Bernadette Lafont: The Queen

Jean Rougerie: D’Arcy

Written & Directed by: Just Jaeckin, inspired by the comic strip The Adventures of Sweet Gwendolyn by John Willie

Synopsis: With the aid of a friend, a woman escapes from a nunnery to locate her father, an eccentric butterfly collector. When she learns he’s died, she pleads with a mercenary seaman to help her locate an elusive butterfly to cement her father’s legacy. Along the way they deal with pirates, white slavers, savage cannibal natives, and a previously thought mythical tribe of genetically altered Amazon women.

The Perils of Gwendoline (1984) - Just Jaeckin | Review | AllMovie

After his international successes with the artistic erotica Emmanuelle and Histoire d’O (The Story of O), filmmaker Just Jaeckin decided to tackle an entirely new adventure with a fantastical erotic adventure film inspired by an adult comic strip series about an adventurous young woman named Gwendolyn and her wayward sidekick. Not wanting to repeat the earlier successes of his softcore erotic masterpieces, but at the same time realizing it was this light erotica that catapulted him into the limelight and interest of producers, Jaeckin wanted something that spoke to his already existing motifs and style, but was also something new and creative. While inspired by the comic, Jaeckin in his usual auteur fashion wasn’t going to be necessarily be faithful to the source material, though he did in some fashion maintain the whimsical and humorous nature of it. What evolved was a fun mixture of humor, adventure, romance, Science Fiction, erotica, and a little bit of thrills all wrapped up in a quirky adventure about the search for an ultra-rare and elusive butterfly that takes the three people pursuing it into a realm of the fantastic and mysterious that they will never forget.

The Perils of Gwendoline | Flixster

Tawny Kitaen, an American model and actress, known most notably as Kevin Sorbo’s wife in the TV series and Made for TV movies The Adventures of Hercules, got her first taste of international fame as the title character Gwendoline. Sheltered by convent nuns her whole life, Gwendoline is at first very naïve, totally unfamiliar with how the world works and the lust and passion men feel when they look upon her beauty. As the film progresses, Gwendoline sheds her naivety and innocence, becoming courageous, strong minded, and very self-assertive. What starts off as a journey to save her father’s name, reputation, and legacy merges into a dual journey that finds Gwendoline on a self-discovery sojourn that teaches her much about herself, others, and life itself. She also has something of a sexual awakening that plays an equally large role in her maturing as the film progresses on. Kitaen’s looks and her innocent face make her portrayal of the Gwendoline character all the more perfect as she embodies the character almost like a second skin.

Gwendoline (1984) Free Download | Rare Movies | Cinema of the World

Brent Huff, an American actor turned TV director, is a surprising hit in the role of Willard. An Indiana Jones type of adventurer with far less selfless heroics and moral scruples, Willard is mercenary for hire who initially doesn’t care about how or where he gets money, just so long as he gets. When he first meets Gwendoline and her companion, he’s very crass, vulgar, to the point, and violent. Constantly at odds with the two women over what he sees as a trifle and fruitless expedition, he unexpectedly finds himself becoming more and more fascinated and admiring of Gwendoline and her inner strength and resolve. While at first perplexed and flustered by it, he soon becomes very welcoming and glad of Gwendoline’s love and affection, going to the point of telling her he shares her feelings and that he too loves her. This doesn’t lessen his mercenary and greedy impulses, but it does lead him to think carefully about what prizes are worth going after.

Quad Cinema on Twitter: "We've just added 35mm screenings of Just ...

Zabou Breitman, credited in the film as just Zabou, an underrated French character actress and ingénue type, nearly steals the whole show as Beth. As Gwendoline’s closest friend and lady-in-waiting, Beth feels the constant pressure to make sure her friend and charge is safe. At times completely exasperated by her bad luck and the seemingly unending obstacles in the way, Beth goes on short sprints of tirades that are both humorous and exhilarating as she vents her frustrations to Gwendoline, Willard, and to the various peoples they encounter, that not only allows them to get away from dangers, but gives their enemies a total surprise. She too takes a trip of self-discovery, and like Gwendoline, learns quite a bit about herself and what she is capable of.

(Author’s Note: While she was initially proud of the film, Zabou in the last several years distanced herself from it in the wake of revelations about the producer’s intent of the project. Just Jaeckin himself has expressed hope her opinion will one day change, and see it for the positives again.)

The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak Trailer ...

What separates this film from Jaeckin’s usual fare is the unusual amount of violence in it. While not overly gory in any way, the types of violence shown is quite unexpected for a man normally known for erotica with cleverly done innuendos. Sudden bursts in hostage situations and other moments, and occasional acts of cannibalism make for quite the juxtaposition with moments of tenderness and sensuality.

Gwendoline [Limited Edition Blu-ray] – Severin Films

Outrageous, funny, thrilling, exciting, and entertaining, Gwendoline is many a growing boy’s dream of fast paced adventure and plentiful feminine nudity. Pure fun from start to finish, Just Jaeckin successfully proves artistry and entertainment mix well together with this oddity that works on many levels.

(While abundant in nudity and violence, this is one of the few NC-17 films I can recommend to audiences, though it will appeal more to those who don’t see themselves as prudish. The official rating is R according to the IMDB, and while the violence and nudity isn’t excessive, is enough that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. There is a cut version called The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak which I believe eliminates some of the back story and extended scenes, though does give the film the 1930’s adventure serial vibe Jaeckin did try to preserve from the original comic strip. The Blu Ray from Severin Films is beautiful looking and offers both the original uncut version in both the original French language and English dub, as well as the dubbed cut version, and a slew of extras including a new commentary featuring stars Tawny Kitean and Brent Huff who also reminisce about the experience.  Just Jaeckin and his main creative team also give interviews about the filming process and their experiences too.)

all images courtesy of Google.com/Google Images and their respective owners

for more information

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087903/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Perils_of_Gwendoline_in_the_Land_of_the_Yik-Yak

buying options

 

Gwendoline [Standard Blu-ray]

Gwendoline [Limited Edition Blu-ray]

Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics