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Massimo Dallamano is a criminally underrated Italian director, most
famous today for "What Have You done to Solange?, one of the very best
Italian gialli. But he also directed its equally excellent sequel "What
Have They Done to Your Daughters?", the Laura Antonelli erotic classic
"Venus in Furs", and "The End of Innocence", one of the better
"Emmanuelle" knock-offs. This British-Italian co-production is his only
foray into the Italian crime thriller genre that I know of, but it
rivals anything by Ferdinand DeLeo or Umbeto Lenzi.
The great Ivan Rassimov plays an undercover cop who falls somewhere between a heavy-handed "Dirty Harry"-type rogue and a flat-out corrupt bastard--and by the end he has pretty obliterated the line between the two (if nothing else making this film a lot more honest than the American-style vigilante cop movies). He inserts himself "Yojimbo"/"Fistful of Dollars" style between two hilariously colorful drug-smuggling gangs. One gang runs an escort service which it uses to film powerful men in compromising positions with girls (and boys)and then blackmail them into helping out with the trafficking via a whole Rube Goldberg scheme involving art auctions. This is all totally ridiculous, of course, but highly entertaining. The other gang is lead by "Mama", an old lady (she's supposed to be Turkish, but looks a lot more Italian and even crosses herself at one point), who wields a gun and leads the police on high-speed chases! Her gang are all aspiring musicians, wielding musical instruments as well as guns, and quite literally providing their own theme music. After the gang kidnaps Rassimovs main squeeze (Stephanie Beacham) and tortures her with their music, he responds by kidnapping "Mama's" jailbait daughter (Verna Harvey, who definitely does not dress like a Turkish girl). At the end, another, American gang shows up lead by "Tony Accardo" (which was the name a real-life Chicago gangster at that time).
This movie has everything fans love about the genre--crosses and double-crosses, gun-play, high-speed car chases, sadistic brutality, and extreme moral ambiguity. Beacham and Harvey (who had appeared together a few years earlier as governess and charge in Michael Winner's misbegotton "Turn of the Screw" prequel "The Nightcomers") provide some nudity. (Well, so does Rassimov actually, but "Mama" stays dressed at least). There's also a GREAT musical score and the kind of nice cynical 70's ending you'd never get away with today. Highly recommended.
this is a good thriller/chiller type of European crime story. Ivan Rassimov gives Clint Eastwood an able run for his money as a Dirty Harry type detective albeit a corrupted one. Stephane Beacham, the presumed title character is as beautiful as she had been with Brando in "The Nightcomers". This might sound like a cheapy production with the video title being "Superbitch". But it has great photography & excellent location work ie the ruins in Greece at the beginning. Also the film has a thumping theme on it's soundtrack. Look out for veteran Brit actress Patricia Hayes as Mamma with her band of misfit though lovable grown children. Hayes is excellent & funny as the old lady crime family boss. Without giving spoiler away I'll just say this. The song two of her eldest boys sing her will have you reaching for your hanky. This movie goes to show you where a slim budget need not hinder the making of a good taut movie. And this movie's script gets tauter and tauter as the later part of the movie wears on. You must pay good attention in the last part of the movie to appreciate all you've seen from the beginning. This would be a great part for an actress like Sharon Stone to pick up the Mamma role with a merry band of criminal children. She's at the right age to do it believably. Perhaps not as old as Hayes was but a younger 'Mamma' actress would work just fine. If not Stone then an actress like Susan Sarandon. But this could be updated & remade. Id love it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A convoluted but watchable polizia movie from Massimo Dallamano, the
man most famous for the sleazy giallo gem WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO
SOLANGE?. This is a plot-heavy film which seems to have been made
before frequent fist-fights and car chases became a genre staple (c.f.
the extraordinary films made by Umberto Lenzi in the genre), as the
action is quite sparse here. Thankfully the sometimes-confusing plot is
always twisting and turning to keep you watching and you don't really
have time to notice the lack of excitement in the proceedings.
There are a few good scenes like when Rassimov has his men take out the bad guys by gunning them down and burying them in a concrete grave, a well-filmed stunt car crash down a desert hill, or the finale in which the two gangs and the police have a massive shoot-out in a warehouse which perhaps inspired some of Tony Scott's movies, which have similar endings. Gotta love the shot of the gangster getting gassed in the oven in a matter-of-fact way too. Strip away the layers of crime and the contemporary setting and what you basically have is another remake of the YOJIMBO plot.
Dallamano was always a director who made above-average films for the genres he worked in and this is no exception, with lots of stylish camera angles and crisp cinematography. The film has a nicely international scope which comes across as pretty convincing thanks to location filming in London and Lebanon. The cast are pretty good in their respective roles, good enough to keep you engaged at least. The only minor flaws in my mind are that the dialogue is occasionally clunky and unbelievable (as a result of the dubbing, no doubt) and the surprise twist ending isn't really that surprising after all, given the title. More of a "ah, I knew that was coming" type moment.
Cast-wise, exploitation stalwart Ivan Rassimov takes the complicated leading role of Cliff, who underneath it all is a drug enforcement agent. On top he's a charming playboy who has a way with the ladies, but he's also a double-crossing and callous villain out to make himself a profit from all the chaos he creates. Another fine performance from Rassmov, whom I always think is something of an under-valued actor. Italian film veterans Ettore Manni and Giacomo Rossi-Stuart are on hand to lend gravitas to the proceedings and there's even a small role for Camille Keaton. Heaven knows what British comedy stalwart Patricia Hayes is doing in the movie but she's actually quite convincing as chief gangster "Momma Turk"!
However, most of the film's attention is rightly focused on the quite captivating appearance of Stephanie Beacham, who has a fairly major role in the movie and spends half of her screen time getting kidnapped and the other half naked in the bedroom! Dallamano obviously had an eye for beauty so gets her to shed her clothing at every available opportunity. SUPER BITCH is a pretty enjoyable time-waster, nothing unique or new here but it does its job well. Once you've got over the initially confusing first half, where it's not really revealed who is who (at least to this viewer), you're able to settle back and enjoy what the film has to offer, which is basically lots of characters deceiving and betraying and battling each other over drug money. Stephanie Beacham (who isn't a bad actress at all) tops it all off and makes everything worthwhile.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm not much at home in the poliziotteschi genre, but this was a fun,
fast-paced film of international allure, playing in New York, Athens,
Paris, Beirut and mostly London, though the filming locations here on
IMDb indicate partly differently. Anyway, things start out with loads
of action, but for the rest of it, there is only some in the middle and
In between there's a lot scheming, blackmail and intimidation to and fro, plus some murders, sexy time, fine female nudity and singing, all performed by a lot of colorful characters, with 'superbitch' taking the lead. The rather dramatic conclusion came as bit of a surprise; what preceded was much exploitation oriented. Add a very nice score by Riz Ortolani as the final icing on the cake, and what we have here is a more than enjoyable crime (/action) flick.
Unfortunately I saw a mediocre VHS-rip with English dub, but what the hey; a good 7 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Si può essere più bastardi dell'ispettore Cliff?" is a far more
descriptive title than the many others marketed like Super-bitch, Mafia
Junction, and Blue Movie Blackmail. The focus of the story is Inspector
Cliff (Ivan Rassimov), not his female lover, Joanne (Stephanie
Beacham), and not the blue movie racket she's involved in with Morell
(Ettore Manni). There is no mafia whatever in this story. The original
title seems to say "Can there be more bastards like Inspector Cliff?"
The movie develops Cliff's character through his actions, more than any
other person in the story. At the end, he is the one called a bastard
by Joanne. That hardly begins to describe his absence of moral
scruples. He is an undercover government narcotics agent. However, he
is far deeper into it than that. At the 8 minute mark, in order to
further his scheme, he acts for one dealer to assassinate another drug
dealer. At the 24 minute mark, he apparently assassinates his boss in
London, although we do not see him pull the trigger.
The movie is a class A movie, very smoothly done. This is no low-budget deal, cheapie or exploitation flic. It opens in Beirut and takes us to some action in Baalbeck, 54 miles away. We get some splendid photography of the Roman-built Temple of Bacchus (near complete) and remains of the Temple of Jupiter. The action then switches to London. There we get some splendid views of the bombshell Beacham.
The tone of the movie is steady because Cliff is not at any point really endangered by the drug gangs that he is manipulating. He confidently and blithely executes his plans as well as some drug dealers and their henchmen who get in his way. He almost appears as a superhero. If we didn't know from early on what he has done, which is mirrored by the suspicions of his superiors and Joanne, we'd be thinking he's a standard hero.
The last frames have a teletype in which Joanne is referred to as Joanne Morell, but there was no dialog to the effect that she was married to him. Nevertheless, despite the fact that she played around with other men, her affection for him and his for her are established early on.
This story actually has no conventional heroes of high moral character. We are immersed almost solely in the criminal world, except for some occasional appearances of Cliff's superiors or ordinary policemen. I think the movie will be more enjoyable if you know going in that Cliff is a questionable character who is prepared to do anything to feather his own nest. That's what the original title suggested.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Cunning undercover cop Inspector Cliff (an excellent performance by Ivan Rassimov) infiltrates a drug trafficking syndicate run by formidable old lady Mama the Turk (a fabulously feisty portrayal by Patricia Hayes). Cliff pits the members of two rival gangs against each other. Director Massimo Dallamano, who also co-wrote the intricate and tough-minded script with Sandy MacRae, relates the complex and compelling story at a snappy pace, maintains a hard, gritty, no-nonsense tone throughout, stages the lively car chases and fierce shoot-outs with considerable aplomb, and delivers plentiful jolting outbursts of sudden brutal violence. The fine acting from the tip-top cast keeps the movie buzzing, with especially stand-out contributions from the ravishing Stephanie Beacham as Cliff's spunky and charming girlfriend Joanne, Ettore Manni as the weak Morell, Luciano Catenacci as the fearsome Gamble, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart as the equally redoubtable Marco, and Verna Harvey as spitfire teenage trollop Eva. This film warrants extra points for the pathetic old geek with a bunny rabbit fetish and the guy who plays jaunty acoustic guitar during a savage back alley beating. Cliff makes for one supremely bad-ass anti-hero: He's cocky, corrupt, and completely amoral. As a tasty extra plus, both Beacham and Harvey bare their yummy wares (Beacham even goes full-frontal in a shower scene!). Great surprise bummer ending, too. Riz Ortolani's funky throbbing score hits the get-down groovy spot. Jack Hildyard's slick cinematography gives the picture an impressive polished look. A very cool flick.
Director Massimo Dallamano's 1973 poliziotteschi Super Bitch stars
Italian exploitation legend Ivan Rassimov as devious undercover
narcotics agent Cliff, who is every bit as corrupt as the drug-runners
he is supposed to bring to justice. Cliff manipulates
everyonecriminals and copsto suit his own needs, using whatever means
necessary to put the bad-guys out of the picture AND make himself a
fortune in the process.
To be honest, I had trouble keeping up with all of the intricacies of Super Bitch's storyline: Cliff's Machiavellian scheming gets awfully complex, and with British hottie Stephanie Beacham (as lovely escort girl Joanne, who is worth every penny) shedding her clothes every few minutes, I found my mind wandering quite a bit (especially during that shower scene! Phew!).
Thankfully, a thorough understanding of the plot isn't absolutely necessary to have a good time with this nifty little crime thriller. Dallamano's film delivers plenty of fast-paced action, lots of OTT violence (blood squibs-a-plenty), and colourful characters (including a diplomat who likes to dress up as a rabbit, and a family of singing hippie gangsters, led by Patricia Hayes' ruthless crime-boss Mamma), plus more welcome eye-candy in the form of Mamma's sexy daughter Eva (Verna Harvey).
Super Bitch also benefits from great location work (Beirut, London, and New York), a wonderfully funky score from Riz Ortolani, and a cool ending in which Cliff's carefully laid plans finally go awry.
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