comic entry in Tomas Milian's "Nico Giraldi" police series...better than some of the later ones
I didn't much like this film when I first saw it ten or twelve years ago, but I was probably expecting a serious, fast-paced, violent Italian crime film as many of Tomas Milian's mid-70s films were. However this one emphasizes the comedy at least as much as the action, although it is still a successful package and the comedy/crime mixture works well. I haven't see all the later films (which ran well into the 1980's) with Milian as unconventional police inspector Nico Giraldi, but the one after this THE GANG THAT SOLD America, which also features a lot of US location shooting, does not work that well in my opinion and is full of dated pop culture references and unfunny humor. The first scene of LITTLE ITALY--as a dirty old man is looking through binoculars at a lady undressing...while his apartment is completely stripped clean by robbers only a few feet away from him!--sets the tone for the film. The plot, such as it is, takes Milian to New York and eventually to Las Vegas (and eventually to the gas chamber in Nevada in an outrageous climax!), and there's lots of great location footage of him walking along the old Vegas strip circa 1978. Eli Wallach appears (though his voice doesn't!) as a mafia don, in a role that didn't require much of this fine actor, but he plays comedy well and is good in the scenes involving his underlings, his red-haired wallflower oversexed daughter, and Milian (the scene in the Italian restaurant where Milian throws a pizza in the face of one of Wallach's underlings is classic!). Bombolo, who appears in a number of these later Nico Giraldi films, is a fine comic foil for Milian, and they have a good chemistry. I've yet to see the 1980's entries in this series (any kind soul out there with extra copies?), but in LITTLE ITALY the series still has some life in it, and Bruno Corbucci makes the mix of lowbrow Italian comedy and Italian police action work well. Not a classic, and action-oriented fans will be let down, but Milian fans will enjoy it. It would be nice to see the English-dubbed versions of all these films be released in a regular schedule at under ten dollars each on DVD and letter-boxed, but I won't stay awake at night waiting for that to happen any time soon...
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?