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FROM CORLEONE TO BROOKLYN is an exciting late 70s Italian crime film starring the dynamic and handsome Maurizio Merli as an Italian cop who is trying to find a killer who is mob-connected and who eventually has to bring a witness to the United States to testify against the suspect in order for the suspect to be extradited back to Italy. Written and directed by Umberto Lenzi, who directed any number of excellent police films in the 70s (and four great vehicles for Carroll Baker in the late 60s/early 70s), the film moves at a brisk pace and because Mafia killers are after Merli and his witness, the viewer never knows when they will next be attacked or by what method. The pulsating, police-funk score gives this the classic "sound" of a 70s euro-crime film, and the fatalistic ending is something one would rarely see in an American film. Van Johnson, as the New York police lieutenant who works with Merli, does a fine job of barking orders at underlings and projects a genuine concern for Merli's task and situation. I'm still not sure if Mr. Johnson did his own dubbing on this film, but had a cold and was not well-recorded, or whether someone was doing a Van Johnson imitation--after all, Johnson is an EASY to identify actor with distinctive phrasing and accent. A mimic could listen to the soundtrack of one of his films and do a decent impression. In any event, this would rank among the top third of 70s Italian crime films that I have seen. Also, much of the location shooting is in New York and is shot when there is snow on the ground, so the atmosphere is important in the film Recommended to fans of this genre of film, FROM CORLEONE TO BROOKLYN is an example from the "golden age" of Euro-crime films.
From Corleone To Brookln is one of Umberto Lenzi's best crime films,
is saying lot because he directed many classics in the
Maurizio Merli plays Berni, the usual P.O. cop, and here he has to escort a lowlife criminal (Biagio Pellegra) from Italy to New York so he can testify against a mafia head.
the mafia have set up a series of traps along the way, making things a bit difficult for the boys.
at times very suspenseful, action packed and helped along by one of composer Franco Micalizzi's best scores, From Corleone To Brooklyn gets my highest recommendation.
sadly, this would be the last "real" crime film Lenzi would make, but at least he went out with a bang!
Don't be put off by the use of the name Corleone in the title "Da
Corleone a Brooklyn". This movie is a thoroughly enjoyable and
well-crafted piece of work, in which there is excellent location
shooting in both Palermo and New York. Umberto Lenzi wrote the story,
the screenplay and directed. He made the story very sophisticated and
logical with well-rounded characters that occasionally do surprising
things but that are in character. His direction is taut.
Michele Barresi, played by Mario Merola, is a shadowy mob boss in Palermo, with no arrest record and no sure photographs. He has gone to NYC under a false name and passport, but has run afoul of immigration. The Palermo police, represented by Maurizio Merli, have picked up on this and want him returned, but they need to identify him before a judge. For that, they need a witness. Merli manages to get a hood, played by Biagio Pelligra, over a barrel. Pelligra agrees to go to NYC to identify Merola. But the Mafia discovers that Pelligra is not really dead, and determines to thwart them.
There are several attempts to stop them, plus the revengeful Pelligra is more interested in escaping and killing Merola on his own than in identifying him. The relationship between Merli and Pelligra is developed nicely, sometimes friendly, sometimes antagonistic.
Van Johnson is shuffling Merola around, while Merola's lawyer tries to get him out on bail from the minor immigration charge. Merola's interchanges with his lawyer show a great deal of sophistication in dealing with the law and the strategy. He is a man of some authority.
I particularly enjoyed the chase sequence in the narrow Palermo streets, with the camera at the level of the hood. But there were also a number of vignettes scattered throughout the story that heightened its interest a great deal.
I didn't see this picture in one list of the top 60 poliziotesschi, but I think it belongs there.
Umberto Lenzi made some of the best Italian crime thrillers of the
seventies. Unfortunately, however, this late entry doesn't rank up
alongside his best efforts; but even so, From Corleone to Brooklyn is a
breezy and entertaining little thriller that is sure to be appreciated
by fans of this genre. The film that had the biggest influence on the
Eurocrime genre is most definitely Don Siegal's masterpiece Dirty
Harry; but the genre went on to take in elements from many different
films; and it would seem that the main influence for this film is the
1977 Clint Eastwood thriller 'The Gauntlet'. As usual, the plot focuses
on organised crime in Italy. Maurizio Merli takes up a familiar role as
Commissioner Berni (no relation to the better known Commissioner Betti,
I think); a cop who puts his life on the line to transport a witness
from Corleone to New York City in order to testify against a mob boss
on trial for murder. Along the way, Berni and his prisoner face a
series of traps set up by the Mafia.
Maurizio Merli may be more than a little bit one-note; but he plays that one note so well that it's difficult to complain. He really does sleepwalk through the film; but it doesn't matter too much because this is still a very entertaining performance from the Eurocrime veteran. Merli is joined by the distinctive Biagio Pelligra and the pair has good chemistry together as they make the perilous journey from Italy to the USA. At just under ninety minutes; the film does feel rather short, however, and I have to say that it's the pacing that really lets it down. The build up to the central plot takes rather a long time and becomes a little tedious. Once we get into the main plot, things start to become a bit more exciting; but most of the film focuses on Italy, and by the time we get to the USA; there's not a great deal of time left. Still, the film is populated with gun fights and car chases and it never gets boring long enough to become really dull. The ending is rather good and there's a nice little sting in the tail. Overall, I wouldn't quite class this film as a 'must see', but it's certainly worth a look and Eurocrime fans will want to track it down.
Umberto Lenzi, in case you've never heard of him, is an Italian director of various kinds of exploitation flicks: horror, crime drama, and even spaghetti western. The first movie of his that I ever saw was "Orgasmo" - called "Paranoia" in the US - in which Carroll Baker (of "Baby Doll" fame) plays a woman who moves to Italy and gets to know a young couple who aren't what they seem. Now I've seen another one of Lenzi's movies: "Da Corleone a Brooklyn" ("From Corelone to Brooklyn" in English). Maurizio Merli, who was apparently famous as a Franco Nero lookalike, plays a cop helping a low-level mafioso testify against a big-time gangster. I actually found much of the movie to be really slow-moving, but the last half-hour or so made up for that. Even so, the European exploitation flicks that I prefer are the ultra-gory ones.
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