Sicilia, late '60s. Two men are killed during a hunting party. The hurried inquiry indicates that it was a killing made for 'honor' reasons. Paolo Laurana is a leftist professor not convinced of the official truth and starts investigating by himself. He finds some help from a solicitor, Mr. Rosello. While investigating, he is fascinated by Luisa, the widow of one of the victims. But the reality is too different from what Laurana could imagine. Reality includes not only the mafia and corrupt politicians, but also Church connections. The reality is that there could be only one end for Laurana. It won't take long. Written by
Midway Between a Mafia Thriller and Sentimental Comedy
Although drawn from a powerful novel by Leonardo Sciascia, this results in an oversimplified, well-meaning social mystery set in 1965 Sicily, where two men are killed during a hunting party. A leftist professor (Gian Maria Volonté, a much better actor in the later Petri offering "Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto") decides to investigate the murders, only to find himself entangled in a spiderweb of corrupt politicians, "mafiosi" killers and sinister Church connections: the anonymous letters received by the victims - and, in due time, by the professor himself - were made with clippings from the Vatican newspaper "L'Osservatore Romano". There is also a fascinating dark lady character, a victim's widow, played by the splendid Irene Papas, whose black-stockinged legs wink through the whole film to the shy, undecided professor. When he resolves to take the woman, in a love scene near the end of the movie, it is unfortunately too late... The film can still be seen with some fun, but it's far from a serious rendition of the novel and it's not perhaps among the best Mafia movies made in Italy at the time. It's curious to note how so-called "spaghetti westerns", for instance, were often much more effective in describing corrupt politicians and Mafia-governed southern towns than their "mainstream" counterpart, like this typically engagé movie. I found also irritating the use of Cinemascope combined with low angles, continuous camera movements and extremely close shots, so that the narrative pace is fragmented and, more often than not, disturbed.
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