Tuesday, November 11, 2014



Label: Cinema Epoch
Duration: 127 Minutes
Region Code: 1
Rating: Unrated
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Audio: English, Italian  Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 
Director: Mike Malloy
Cast: Franco Nero, John Saxon, Henry Silva, Luc Merenda, Antonio Sabáto, Fred Williamson, Richard Harrison, Chris Mitchum, Enzo Castellari, Leonard Mann, Joe Dallesandro, Michael Forest, Claudio Fragasso, John Steiner Ottaviano Dell'Acqua, Mario Caiano, Nicoletta Machiavelli, John P. Dulaney, Greg Stephen, Sal Borgese, Ted Rusoff

Something I didn't even know I was yearning for was a comprehensive documentary about the high octane Eurocrime police films coming out of Italy in the 1970s following the decline of the lucrative spaghetti westerns. At first these films were out and out copycats of American angry cop films like DIRTY HARRY but the Italians quickly made it something all their own by informing their stories with the true life violence of the era. The format usually dealt with an angry cop fed up with crime but also infuriated by the bureaucracy and red tape that prevented them from taking the scum off the streets ending with a fed-up cop pushed over the edge and taking things into their own hands with bloody consequences.

Mike Malloy's two hour plus documentary covers all the facets from  Enzo Castellari's HIGH CRIME (1973) starring Franco Nero (DJANGO) onward offering up a steady stream of movie posters, clips and talking heads. We gets some great info about the second career it offered both seasoned Italian and American actors and just which films were ripping off what other films. Some of the dialogue comparisons are quite fun and just a cunt hair short of being verbatim.

The interviews with John Saxon, Henry Silva and Franco Nero are my favorite with candid and often funny recollections of making these oftentimes misogynist crime thrillers under suspect and hurried circumstances.

Plenty of tales of shooting death defying stunts and action sequences peppered with live ammunition - the spaghetti western may have died off but the down and dirty nature of some of these shoots are right out of the wild west.

I've seen only a handful of Eurocrime capers from the likes of Blue Underground and Raro Video so it was a treat to sit down with  this and just take notes with pen and pad jotting down names of films to further my Italian crime education - this was quite an introduction to a sub genre of Italian cinema that has eluded me for the most part.

There's a metric ton of interviews crammed into this, it's a veritable who's who of Eurocrime cinema spread out over two hours and divided up into chapters with a great soundtrack from Calibro 35 among others. The editing is down and dirty and not overly glossy and that's just fine by me, this is a great documentary packed with more info than I could ever hope to absorb in one sitting. The passion for the genre by the filmmakers is dripping off screen and makes for an electrifying watch one critique might me that at over 120 minutes it's a bit long in the tooth and might wear out the less initiated but not me, I wanted it to on for another hour! 

If you have a curiosity for Eurocrime and Italian cinema I strong encourage you to seek this out and immerse yourself in the glory of the action-packed and ultra-violent Eurcrome cinema of the '70s, a damn fine documentary.