Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Delitto al Blue Gay / Ein Superesel auf dem Ku'Damm / Cop in Drag

Delitto al Blue Gay opens with six minutes of non-stop action, albeit at least in part culled from previous poliziotto films, accompanied by a voice-off introducing Tomas Milian's Nico Giraldi character to those unfamiliar with him; I have the strong suspicion that the opening clip actually sees Milian pursuing himself, in the guise of one of his Lenzi characters.

Next we get a lip synched song and dance number, “man or woman, makes no difference on stage” delivered by a bunch of men in drag, at the Blue Gay club. Following some backstage bitching between leading diva Columba Lamar and her understudy and rival, Nadia, the introduction of visiting German film director Kurt Linder, and another stage routine, Nadia is found in her dressing room, murdered.

Columba and Nadia, moments before the latter is murdered

A bunny girl with a difference

No prizes for guessing who is assigned the job of going undercover at the Blue Gay or who he ropes in to help him...

The many faces of Nico Giraldi

Directed and co-written by Bruno Corbucci, this 1984 film is the 11th and last entry in the Giraldi series inaugurated by Cop in Blue Jeans eight years before. The formula remains much the same as its predecessors, with a mixture of action and crude comedy episodes centred around the endearingly scruffy Nico, his bumbling petty criminal sidekick Venticello and common-law wife Angela, who has just had another baby.

Unfortunately with all this there's also the sense of not really trying to go beyond a somewhat tired formula, that we've seen it all before and done better before, with two exceptions. The first, the inclusion of the song and dance numbers, most notably an interminable breakdancing and body popping zombie music video a la Thriller, soon become tiresome. The second, a chase in which Nico, dressed as a roman centurion, pursues a car in a chariot, is a nice idea, but fails to convince – how slow is the car going for the chariot to keep up – and also means there is no real possibility for more crazy stunts.

A familiar sight

Breakdancing zombies

The English title, Cop in Drag, is also something of a cheat in that Nico himself never actually dresses up as a woman, and keeps the beard and moustache throughout, with it being Venticello who is assigned the task of impersonating a woman on their visits to the Blue Gay.

This said, despite the stereotypical gay characters and frequent references to “fags” and “faggots” in the dialogue, the filmmakers prove surprisingly progressive and sympathetic in their portrayals of the Blue Gay's habitues, with Nico soon largely overcoming his masculine heterosexual anxieties and even incorporating Columba into his extended family by the end.

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