Sunday, 13 July 2008

La Mano lunga del padrino / Long Arm of the Godfather

We open with a daring attack on an army convoy carrying a consignment of weapons. But for the technology on display – cars, trucks and submachine guns – it could easily be a scene in a spaghetti western, all the more so when one of the robbers proceeds to make off with the loot, leaving his companions for dead.

As Long Arm of the Godfather's title suggests, however, we're actually in poliziotto territory. In truth, however, the term is something of a misnomer here insofar as no members of the police or other authorities are ever seen ever as taking any interest in the case, which is a curious omission given that you would think that soldiers would be the kind of crime to that attention.

Noir-ish imagery with Lawrence

This is not to say, however, that the perpetrator of the betrayal, Vincenzo, is about to have things easy since his ex-boss Don Carmelo is, as his title indicates, a rather prominent gangster and soon proves to have also survived the incident.

And then there's the issue of actually finding a buyer for the guns...

Erica Blanc, intelligent and charming as ever

Directed and co-written by Nardo Bonomi, whose only credit this is, the latter role in conjuction with Giulio Berutti of Killer Nun fame, this is nasty little crime film where Peter Lee Lawrence / Karl Hirenbach's Vincenzo provides our point of identification almost by default.

About the only things he has going for him in comparison with Adolfo Celi's old school Don are that he is the attractive young underdog aspiring to have his day and is acting at least partly out love, in the form of Erika Blanc's somewhat more level headed and forward thinking moll, Sabina.

Shades of giallo

Otherwise, however, they're cut from much the same cloth, with the action providing that familiar mix of car chases, shootouts, men beating one another and women up to car door slamming type sound effects, and a reasonable degree of suspense over what is going to happen next.

This is the kind of film where the nightclub owner is more interested in whether the dancer can also serve drinks than her primary talents

Yet another savage beating

Though nothing outstanding Bonomi's direction is efficient, with a good use of locations and some eye-catching camera set-ups. The performances are more going through the motions than truly inspired, although there is an added poignancy to the denoument if one is aware Lawrence and Blanc's rumoured real-life relationship and of the actor's subsequent suicide less than two years later.

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