Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Cool, I just stumbled on the news that this cat Mike Malloy is making a documentary on Poliziotteschi - those gritty Italian crime movies from the 70's. Wild, violent and nasty stuff, like the truly vicious ALMOST HUMAN or the standout revenge flick that puts a positive spin on the term 'potboiler' - LA MALA ORDINA. And consider those ridiculous, yet evocative titles (that Italian genre cinema always offers) such as LIVE LIKE A COP, DIE LIKE A MAN. Here's the trailer:

Yes, that's John Saxon being interviewed. He deserves his own special corner, somewhere here in cyberspace. Anyway Eurocrime: The Italian Cop and Gangster Films That Ruled The ’70s is here too. Ever since IFC did those hour long docs on Shaw Brothers and Spaghetti Westerns, I figured that the crime films would follow. There are docs on Mario Bava, Dario Argento and even Lucio Fulci that cover Italian horror. Now I suppose all that's left are docs on sword and sandal and Italian sex comedies (!?!).

I think a large reason behind the Euro crime film's appeal is how unapologetic they are in their right wing ideology, yet so utterly transgressive in their depravity. That, and all the car chases, gun fights, macho posturing and brutal brawls; sick set pieces like machine gun assassinations and a spike through the throat, etc. A lot of rough stuff going on in Italy then - and I suppose still is - and it's palpable from these films

And I just found out there's yet another book coming out about spaghetti westerns! I'd like to see it, especially since it's from Fab press, who are all about outré cinema. But Alex Cox's 10,000 WAYS TO DIE is hard to beat. It's obsessive, but it's not one of those simple fanboy-type volumes of hype without substance. Cox looks at the films from a filmmaker's perspective and breaks down each film with constructive criticism. That means he tells you that Sergio Corbucci's pre-DJANGO film RED PASTURES "is a bad film" and why. It goes chronologically year to year and is an engaging, conversational sort of read. Don't know much about this new book, but part of the spaghetti western fascination is the fetishization of the mythology, reinforced by these sort of 'studies' (yeah, I use the word study loosely).


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Ivan said...

Henry Silva and John Saxon rule!

Otto Mannix said...

"LIVE LIKE A COP, DIE LIKE A JERK" would be a good title. (OMR hates cops!)

i would love to see some of these Polizighettis. they sound good. we're checking netfux at this moment.

Sq. Dave said...

OMR - ALMOST HUMAN is on Netflix and these titles should be too: EMERGENCY SQUAD, GAMBLING CITY, HEROIN BUSTERS, CONVOY BUSTERS, THE BIG RACKET, REVOLVER with Oliver Reed and Fabio Testi, COLT 38 SPECIAL SQUAD, A MAN CALLED MAGNUM, BEAST WITH A GUN, STREET LAW (Franco Nero in a Death Wish sort of twist), and so on, though I imagine by now you already know that.

Rick R said...

Sounds like you recommend ALMOST HUMAN. Which other one do you recommend? I'll put the two on the list.

ha ha, WESTWORLD arrived in the mail today. I haven't seen it in years! (Crichton's Jurassic Park prototype, but better)

And i do appreciate Henry Silva, probably because i can't picture him in a love scene. Unless maybe he were cuddling up to Jack Palance!

Ivan said...

On your recommendation, I've n-flixed Almost Human!

Sq. Dave said...

ALMOST HUMAN is so very mean spirited and brutal. Tomas Milian is great as the lead villain. Not an anti-hero because he's so completely corrupt and debased. More like the antithesis of any sort of hero. Might leave a bad taste in your mouth. Enjoy.

Toestubber said...

Blue Underground put out a bunch of these on DVD, but I've only watched a couple so far. I watched The Heroin Busters (La Via Della Droga) because of the cool Goblin score. I think the music is the only thing I remember.

Re: Alex Cox, have you YouTubed the trailer for "Repo Chick"? Unspeakably atrocious, sorely, painfully unfunny. Do not want.

Sq. Dave said...

Yes, I think Blue Underground and No Shame had the lion's share of DVD releases stateside of poliziotteschi type movies. I think BU did English dubbed, whereas No Shame, an Italo-centric label, had both italian and English options. As these are genre movies, they can be pretty generic, but the exploitation trappings - violent action and sleaze - make them worth celebrating. And there are some real standouts. One day you'll have to see La Mala Ordina. It builds up and then explodes!

I love Alex Cox, and had the pleasure of interviewing him a few years ago. He's gracious, super smart and hilarious. These days he's really into making what he calls micro-features - films shot for as little money as possible, which is laudable in and of itself. I will check out the trailer for Repo Chick, but I'm still happy having Repo Man as my favorite film.