Tuesday, January 1, 2013
THE ITALIAN CONNECTION (LA MALA ORDINA 1972- Italy/Germany)
D: Fernando Di Leo. A sheer adrenalin rush of a movie where all the characters are bad but surprisingly convey subtle shades of evil so that you find yourself rooting for at least one of them. That one is Mario Adorf as Luca Canali, a big, mop-headed, greasy pimp bastard who is set up as the fall guy for an Italian/NY syndicate drug deal dispute. The double threat hit team of Henry Silva (MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE) and Woody Strode (MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE) arrive from the states and get a sleazy tour of the underworld from red-headed mob liaison Luciana Paluzzi (THUNDERBALL, THE GREEN SLIME). Meanwhile, a confused Luca must dodge a flurry of bullets from both mob factions and deal with his loud-mouthed mistress/hooker, played mostly naked by Femi Benussi (HATCHET FOR A HONEYMOON), and his estranged wife, Sylvia Koscina (HERCULES, LISA & THE DEVIL) and sickly little daughter. Unfortunately, Luca’s world crumbles, most tragically when his wife and daughter are brutally slaughtered. Even a cute junkyard kitten doesn't survive a few scant minutes after befriending Luca!
The standout action sequence is unquestionably the extended foot and car chase between Adorf and his family’s jump-suited assassin. Adorf seems to be doing most of his own stunts and we really feel his pain and exertion! The finale in the junkyard is pretty memorable and it's not much of a spoiler to say that just about everybody bites it. The suitably cool but often times cringe-worthy score is by Armando Travajoli. For die-hard Euro-cine-slime fans there is lots of blood, bare bottoms, breasts and way-out multi-colored mod fashions and wigs! Francesca Romana Coluzzi (RED SONJA) pops up in a bizarre cameo as a tall, blue haired night club freak. Her part was quickly written as an afterthought (as explained by Di Leo in the extras). Extras include a detailed making of featurette. Di Leo excelled in the crime genre but is probably mostly known stateside for his ultra-sleazy giallo, SLAUGHTER HOTEL starring Klaus Kinski.
The blu-ray quality is sharp and colorful for a very gritty, grainy, hand-held shot, cheap-ass thriller. Viewed as part of the excellent Raro Video Di Leo box set.
The VHS appeared in the U.S. as MANHUNT on the Media label.