Saturday, November 8, 2008


“A man has just been killed so you can have your freedom. But I swear to God unless you start talking, I'm going to see the color of your guts!”


A fey Kurt Russell wannabe crooner, a snazzy bullfighter top, the second greatest Fabio, Brilliant Ennio Morricone Score #1109388, a people-smuggling Barbara Streisand, bald police detectives, nice clothes for a 70s flick, 10,000 bottles of booze, and the toughest SOB named Oliver.

More details here.


Oliver Reed is a no-nonsense prison warden named Vito Cipriani. He has a beautiful young wife, leads an honest life, and a commands a venerable position with a respected reputation. Milo Ruiz (Fabio Testi) is a French crook who after a failed robbery has to bury his gut-shot accomplice by the side of a river and then go on the lam. He is eventually captured and placed in Cipriani’s prison. Later, after the assassination of a political figure in the city of Milan, Cipriani’s gorgeous wife Anna (Agostina Belli) is kidnapped. The kidnappers demand Cipriani release Milo from his custody in exchange for the safety of his wife. If he involves the police, his wife is dead, so he goes it alone to get her back at any cost. And brother, after you see the film's steamy love scene, you'll know why. He arranges for Milo's escape and the pair head out to Paris where Anna is being held for the exchange. Meanwhile, Milo has no idea who is benefactors are, but soon realizes that a larger conspiracy is starting to emerge that connects his dead friend and the assassination. Vito and Milo fight with one another endlessly and they find themselves forced to cooperate with each other when they figure out that the bigger picture involves political intrigue, oil corporations, corrupt government officials. They also being to realize that one of them won’t make it out of this caper alive, and a terrible price is about to be paid.


The American thriller, from film noir to Hollywood actioners, had a profound effect on the emergence of Italian police-related crime films or poliziotteschi in the 1970s. These films are remarkable for their tough as nails characters, lurid and sometimes complex storylines, two-fisted action, and vitriolic displays of violence. 1973’s Revolver is fairly classic example of the genre, although its approach to plot, characterization, and themes are a bit more mature and realized than its contemporaries. Bleak and depressing, the movie explores desperate men who forsake their ethics and morals when confronted with a daunting challenge and inescapable fate. Even the innocents, such as the lovely warden’s wife Anna, do not escape without permanent damage. Reed and Testi enjoy a smoldering and volatile chemistry and each tackle their roles with robust fury. They are an old couple, but each brings their own unique intensity and sexuality to their portrayals of two men on the opposite sides of the law who have been compromised. The plot is a little complicated at first, but the dubbed version that I saw seemed to explain the goings-on better than the older print with confusing subtitles I saw circulating years ago. Director Sergio Sollima presents another solid movie and much like the awesome Violent City, he brings a stylistic, yet documentary-like approach to his visual storytelling. But the real standout of the movie is the score by Ennio Morricone. The opening tune where Testi buries his friend under a pile of rocks is emotional and unforgettable. The score is jazzy and light in parts, but the main theme is classic Morricone: a simple, jagged melody overlaid with harsh strings and intense percussion. Although there’s a concerning lack of revolvers (they mostly use lugers), Revolver is a first-rate example of the Italian crime film.

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