Friday, 15 July 2011

Brillantina Rock / Disco Crazy

This Italian musical looks to have had an eye to establishing Monty Ray Garrison as the filone cinema's answer to John Travolta, at the time riding high on the success of Saturday Night Fever and Grease; note here how the Italian title references rock and a hair styling product, the English one disco.

Monty Ray plays Roberto, or as he prefers to be called Robbie, a young dancing enthusiast.

He and Rick, a member of a rival gang -- Robbie's wear colourful outfits, Rick's dress all in black -- become rivals for the affections of Cindy, a visiting American girl from a rich family and a talented dancer to boot.


Cindy and Rick

With Monty Ray never appearing in any other films, the main cult interest lies elsewhere.

Among the cast, Cindy is played by Auretta Giannone, better known as Auretta Gay and who appeared under that name as the ill-fated tourist Susan in Zombie. Fiamma Maglione, who appeared in Cannibal Ferox and a few others as Meg Fleming and composed as Budy Maglione, has a small part as Robbie's pregnant sister. She does not contribute to the score here, however, which is instead credited to Gianfranco Reverberi. Jimmy Il Fenomeno makes a cameo appearance as a gas station attendant.

Top Jimmy

Comedy specialist Michele Massimo Tarantini co-wrote and directs. He handles things competently but unexceptionally, with the inclusion of motorbike race and a car chase scenes alongside the dance numbers highlighting the film's crowd-pleasing approach of something for everyone -- comedy, romance, musical numbers, and even a bit of social commentary in the contrast between the privileged Cindy and Robbie's old friend Sandra, like him from a less advantaged background.

A similar opportunistic eclecticism is apparent in Reverneri's musical numbers, which include a phonetic English disco version of the Rolling Stones' Satisfaction, some rock numbers, and a weird disco-country and western combination. All very cheesy, but infectious -- in fact, a good summation of the film overall.

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