Due Magnum .38 per una città di carogne (1975)

December 27, 2008

Literal English title: Two Magnum .38s For A City of Scum

The budget of this film must have been extraordinarily low. After all, the star is Dino Strano (otherwise known as Dean Stratford), an extremely unattractive man who somehow manages to have women (who happen to be prostitutes) fall in love with him and marvel at his skills in the bedroom. They are also very supportive of his writing career, which just can’t seem to take off.

Anyhow, one day he decides to kill his girlfriend’s pimp, and from there things go bad and he ends up getting beat up in a garage. So he buys two Magnum .38’s from a guy called “The Gypsy” who speaks with a strong southern Italian accent and . . . it’s time for revenge.

One thing about this film that is noteworthy: the score, by Bruno Nicolai, is absolutely brilliant. The same can’t be said for the rest of the film, but at least it is entertaining, which is more than can be said for a lot of things.

Execution (1968)

December 15, 2008

This is a slightly above-average spaghetti western by director Domenico Paolella, whose claim to fame is probably a series of sinful nun films he did in the early 70’s.

Anyhow, the star of the show here is John Richardson, who plays a dual role as a pair of brothers.

The plot isn’t important. Is what is important however is what makes this film good, and this has to do with a basket of ingredients: a great score by Coriolano Gori, excellenct camera work and film editing, and a rather original bandit gang leader, played by a very fat man, who tortures those he doesn’t like with leaches and a mace.

A few films I’ve recently seen

December 4, 2008

Un Treno per Durango: A great western, starring one of my favourite actors, Enrico Maria Salerno. This film is funny, but in a good way. Probably the best film I have ever seen seen Anthony Steffen in.

Bluff, storie di truffe e imbroglioni: Really one of the best comedies I have seen over the past year. Yeah, it was made in 1976. But there is nothing dated about Adriano Celantano and Anthony Quinn. One of director Sergio Corbucci’s better efforts, and that is saying a lot.

Domenica è sempre Domenica: A very good comedy starring Alberto Sordi, Ugo Tognazzi and Vittorio De Sica. Probably not in English, but it should be.

The Dark Knight: I had heard this was good. It wasn’t. No plot. No script to speak of. A bunch of uninteresting special effects. Incredibly boring.

Super rapino a Milano (1964)

November 20, 2008

Not a bad film, not a good film. The basic story is about a group of guys who rob a huge amount of money from a bank in Milan and hide out at a monastery disguised as monks. As it is both directed and starring Adriano Celentano, the music is cool, which is something. An added bonus is the presence of Don Backy, who is actually a very good actor.

Thor il Conquistatore (1983)

August 10, 2008

Director Tonino Ricci brings us another early 80’s masterpiece.

Gnut kills Thor’s parents. Thor must seek revenge. To do so he must fight cannibals, men with sticks, women with baskets on their heads and eat lots of meat. There is also a lot of fur involved. For connoisseurs of Italian barbarian films only.

If you can watch this without once hitting the fast-forward button you are brave indeed.

Gli Zitelloni (1958)

July 21, 2008

This is yet another of the long list of Italian films that should be issued for the English speaking market.

Starring Walter Chiari and Vittorio De Sica, both great comic talents (the latter was actually more as much of a comic actor as a director of Neorealism), this is a pretty fast-paced farce beautifully complimented by the music of someone they credit as “Italo Greco”.

The story is basically one of an older man telling a younger, Marcello, that ‘men should never marry’ and going on to point out the bad side of married life. Next thing we know, Marcello is arrested for killing the lover of his fiancé . . .

Anyhow, a tightly scripted piece of cinema, full of many, many funny moments. 

It should be noted that one scene which has Chiari dancing absurdly is certainly a direct rip-off of a scene in Visconti’s Le Notti bianche with Marcello Mastroianni, which had come out a year earlier. Chiari’s mannerisms are pretty much move for move those that Mastroianni used, though the latter of course to somewhat better effect.  

Il Petomane (1983)

July 20, 2008

This is the truly strange and truly true biopic about Joseph Pujol, the famous French performer who, in the golden age of French decadence, earned 20,000 francs a day . . . farting.

Yes, it sounds not only absurd but stupid. Well, it is absurd, but the film is far from stupid. Featuring a brilliant performance by the great Ugo Tognazzi and Mariangela Malato in an excellent supporting role, this is a must see for fans of Italian cinema. It is not only funny, but also has a certain amount of depth and absolute charm. Part of this comes from the fact that Tognazzi is able to play roles like these completely straight faced and with a fair amount of dignity.

Johnny Depp has apparently expressed some interest in doing a remake of this film. Need a screenwriter Mr. Depp?


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