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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