Tough criminal Hank McCain gets released from prison after serving twelve years for armed robbery. Hank hooks up with his son Jack, who has devised a daring plan to rob a Las Vegas casino. ... See full summary »
A professional holdup man with scruples has a young ambitious partner who covets his wife and his life. When the holdup man goes to prison, the partner cuts loose, leaving a trail of deaths behind him.
Alberto De Martino
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When some priceless Macedonian treasures are swiped, lawyer Falk arrives to get to the bottom of things. He spends a good deal of time dodging more bad guys than in the average film, but ... See full summary »
Tough criminal Hank McCain gets released from prison after serving twelve years for armed robbery. Hank hooks up with his son Jack, who has devised a daring plan to rob a Las Vegas casino. Unbeknownst to Hank, Jack is also involved with volatile and ambitious mob capo Charlie Adamo, who uses Hank as a pawn so he can gain control of Vegas territory that's currently being run by the formidable Don Francesco De Marco. Written by
Featured is a submachine gun called a STEN. A Thompson was not used. See more »
When McCain and Irene are driving through downtown Las Vegas, all the closeups of her are played against background shots of hotels and casinos on the Las Vegas strip, miles away. See more »
Don Francesco DeMarco:
Do you think we want an ape like you for a partner?
When I took over the West Coast it was full of apes. And the organization was in the toilet. Now I straightened it out - me - and nobody else. Now I'm takin' heat. Why? For what? How the hell do I run this district if I'm in the dark? What's the matter - I can't make an investment? I'm not allowed to make a dollar? I ain't got that right?
Don Francesco DeMarco:
When someone talks to us about rights, he ends up like Gennarino Esposito, y'know? And with me, you don't ...
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This is a stylish, complex and exciting gangster melodrama (which Leonard Maltin in "Movies & Video Guide" calls "junk" and awards a mere **!) bolstered by an infectious Ennio Morricone score (especially the title ballad). Amazingly, it was shown on Italian TV at the time of the Cannes Film Festival as part of a series of past nominees; unfortunately, however, the print was of the choppy 94-minute U.S. version (bearing the Columbia logo upfront) and panned-and-scanned to boot (making the Techniscope compositions pretty claustrophobic)!! I've been unable to determine the film's original length, but I've seen running-times as long as 119 minutes!
The film is well-served by a great cast: an intense and fearless John Cassavetes as the title character, a delectable Britt Ekland as a girl he meets and marries on being sprung from jail (who becomes an accomplice in his criminal schemes without batting an eyelid, at least in this version!), Peter Falk as a bad-tempered small-time hood whose ambitions see him clash with his ruthless superiors, Florinda Bolkan as his even more avaricious wife, Gabriele Ferzetti as the crossed Don who goes to teach Falk a lesson (and who seems to be having an affair with Bolkan!), Luigi Pistilli (rather under-used as Falk's right-hand man), Salvo Randone (as the No. 1 Mafia Boss who keeps track of the situation from his New York office), Tony Kendall (as the hit-man dispatched to eliminate both Falk and Cassavetes) and "Special Guest Star" Gena Rowlands (as McCain's tough old flame - together they were a legendary criminal double-act, and the real-life couple demonstrate undeniable chemistry in their one scene together! - who, still having feelings for him, aids in his escape from the Mob and suffers the consequences for her actions). It's an interesting mix of 'styles': the Italians give it authenticity, the women a touch of class and the two male stars (who, regrettably, don't share any screen-time but were eventually re-teamed in a gangland milieu in MIKEY AND NICKY  - which I recently watched - and where they were practically inseparable!) an aura of intelligence. Some sources credit The Doors' frontman Jim Morrison in the role of a lackey, but it certainly didn't seem like him to me!
The best sequence is the ingenious heist from a Las Vegas casino (indeed, the glitzy and often sleazy locations are a definite asset) and, in the cynical fashion of cinema in the late 60s, the film ends - rather abruptly - with a downbeat 'curtain'. Montaldo didn't make that many films but from the three I've watched - the others being the enjoyable light-hearted caper GRAND SLAM (1967) and the excellent IL GIOCATTOLO (1979), a Death Wish-type drama with a remarkable leading performance from Nino Manfredi - he certainly knew his business.
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