Tuesday 14 August 2018

Eurocrime 19

Squadra Antitruffa (1976) - Baffling culture clash comedy with Tomas Milian in a knotted bandana and David Hemmings, age 35 looking fifty-odd.

Squaddra Antigangster (1979) - More of the same, with Milian dressed as the Fourth Doctor-as-a-gangster. Baffling. Basically Miami Twice, down to a similar stunt.

Caliber 9 (1972)/Il boss (1973) - Not quite a fan of Eurocrime. These are two well-made for an Italian actioner, but it's not my sort of film. Fernando Di Leo does have more talent than the usual hack.

The Italian Connection (1972) - Better stuff from Di Leo. Cyril Cusack plays an Italian mafia boss (and he dubs himself - basically it's Uncle Peter from Glenroe in the Mafia). Henry Silva and Woody Strode are his American hitmen. Mario Adorf plays their target, an ascot-wearing pimp. Luciana Paluzzi has a drink from a barman who looks eerily like Derek from Crystal Swing. Adolfo Celi has dyed hair. There is a great van stunt. And the final junkyard castration is memorable. But a lot of these Italian films, there's memorable moments within a stodgy package. But it does have the unusual element that everyone in the cast is cast perfectly.

Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man (1976) - A rewatch. Ray Lovelock, Marc Porel and Celi again in a trashier take on the genre by Ruggero Deodato and tonally all over the place, going from comedy to rapey stuff to blood and guts that there's little enjoyment. The Engrish theme song by Lovelock is astonishing.

The Big Racket (1976) - Fabio Testi and Vincent Gardenia in a film that proves why I'm not really a fan of this genre. Sleazy and not enjoyable.

Heroin Busters (1977) - Testi and Hemmings in  a more adventurous crime epic. Shot on three continents, the opening is excellent, but the rest of the film doesn't live up to it. Despite a plane chase, it is more parochial.

From Corleone to Brooklyn (1979) - Filled with time capsule shots of 1979 New York, Maurizio Merli is the lead in this otherwise quite bog standard and predictable gangster flick costarring Van Johnson and singer Mario Merola whose Alf Roberts-ish presence makes me wonder was his pigeonholing in gangster films influenced by Get Carter. It's interesting mainly in being an Italian view of Italian-American crime. Marred by things like uncomfortable looking extras in cop outfits.

Copkiller (1983) - Harvey Keitel and John Lydon in RAI-coproduced crime drama. Disappointingly rote. Yes, Keitel and Lydon supply their own voices. Lydon/Rotten's performance style is exactly the same as it was in Today in 1976. He talks to Keitel like he talked to Bill Grundy.  Despite the NYC setting, has a country theme. 

The Squeeze (1978) - Margheriti-Carlo Ponti coproduction that feels too American to be Italian, but too Italian to be American. Lee Van Cleef plays an ex-safecracker turned modern cowboy. Edward Albert and Karen Black costar. More American-seeming than usual, despite the De Angelis Brothers-ish theme. Alexander Boris DePfeffel Johnson-alike Peter Carsten is a badly dubbed gangster. Feels a little too small. If it was a proper American film, it might work better, but as an Italian production, it feels a bit cheap.

Cannabis (1970) - Gainsbourg, Birkin, Curt Jurgens and Paul Nicholas (yes, THAT Paul Nicholas) in . Early examples of evocative Italian New York photography. But Serge is a sleazy auld bugger. Hippyish old rubbish. 

Lucky Luciano (1973) - Glenn Miller-soundtracked Italian biopic. Francesco Rosi directs an uneasy mix of Italian fauxmerican exploitation and arthouse drama. Gian Maria Volonte leads, Vincent Gardenia, Edmond O'Brien, Rod Steiger and Charles Cioffi add US cred. There is sloppy period detail. Charles Siragusa plays himself. Not my sort of film.

The Valachi Papers (1972) - Bronson and Ventura in another interesting but flawed Italian attempt at American true crime mythology. Very odd attempts on makeup to made both men look younger. Lino has a dyed black combover, Bronson with a thick wig and pinkish slap like a Louis Tussauds Alain Delon. Later on, still clean shaven, he does a Lee Marvin approximation with flour in his hair. Terence Young directs with surprising incompetence that brings to mind a real Italian hack and not a Bond vet. 70s cars and buildings are apparent in location shooting. Plus captions and credits are full of errors. I'm not really into this gangster schtick, and with long epics like this like Luciano, one tends to get lost amid all the bad ageing makeup and changing era where period detail is nonexistent. The Ortolani soundtrack is lovely.

Il consigliori (1973) - Martin Balsam in an incompetently shot (cinematography by Joe D'Amato) take on the Godfather. The sort of shite more common in this genre. Nice Riz Ortolani soundtrack, almost identical to the above.

Street Law (1974) - The sort of Italian policier I don't enjoy, even though Franco Nero dubs hmself, it's full of irritating, badly dubbed villains doing unspeakable things in silly ways.

Fear City (1984) - A strange film by Abel Ferrara, well made but full of sleazy nonsense. Hard to enjoy, hard to understand.  Padded out with stripping scenes.

Crime Busters (1978) - Just Spencer and Hill cracking jokes and beating folk up and trying to convince folk they're American.

Who Finds A Friend Finds A Treasure (1981) - Un-PC, possibly racist caricatures of tribesmen are the level of this unfunny Spencer and Hill thing. With the unlikely appearance of Jamaican poet/cultural icon Louise Bennett as tribal queen.

Bonus TV entry - Closed Circuit (1978) - Italian sci-fi western giallo made for Rai by Giuliano Montaldo. A Giuliano Gemma western is showing in a cinema, then a bullet is fired - an authentic western bullet. A King Kong float, Posters for Girl in Room 2A, A*P*E, Perfume of the Lady in Black and Tentacles show the cinematic landscape of Rome. It's not very good, takes a while to set up but the climax is incredibly memorable and tense. With Gemma's gunslinger shooting and throwing his cigarette butt through the screen into the audience. Doesn't quite make sense, though. 

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