Gardenia (1979)
"Gardenia, il giustiziere della mala" (original title)

 |  Crime  |  5 May 1979 (Italy)
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Gardenia possiede un ristorante, ha una donna, Regina, e segue le vecchie regole della malavita romana. Questo finchè non arriva Salluzzo che pretende di smerciare la droga anche nel ... See full summary »



(story) (as Teodoro Agrimi) , (story), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview:
Franco Califano ...
Tony Caruso
Eleonora Vallone ...
Licinia Lentini ...
Miriam Bella
Franco Diogene ...
Friend of Gardenia
María Baxa ...
Gardenia Girl
Venantino Venantini ...
Gualtiero Rispoli ...
Lory Del Santo ...
Lorraine De Selle ...
Renato Bassobondini ...
(as Renato Basso Bondini)
Roberto Della Casa ...
Fabrizio Jovine ...
Salluzzo Partner
Melissa Chimenti ...
(as Melissa)


Gardenia possiede un ristorante, ha una donna, Regina, e segue le vecchie regole della malavita romana. Questo finchè non arriva Salluzzo che pretende di smerciare la droga anche nel ristorante di Gardenia. Ma gardenia rifiuta perchè la droga non è una buona cosa ed ha così inizio una guerra tra i due. Guerra senza morti all'inizio, ma che, dopo la morte di un amico di gardenia, diventerà sempre più sanguinosa e Gardenia finirà per ritrovarsi solo. Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's kill or be killed in the mafia, They said it with bullets... He said it with flowers.







Release Date:

5 May 1979 (Italy)  »

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Gardenia  »

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References My Name Is Nobody (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

Restaurateur Franco Califano battles the incursions of Martin Balsam
22 February 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Gardenia" is an offbeat kind of crime story. The production is an A-movie, not at all budget-limited, and yet the story at times plays almost like a pilot for a television series, the main character being Gardenia. Gardenia, for example, has monologue-narrations on occasion where he talks to himself and thinks out loud.

The late Franco Califano was a highly-regarded lyricist, singer, composer and occasional actor. He was very handsome and well-built. In this movie, he is very well groomed and dresses very fashionably as Gardenia. This is in contrast to two members of the team that helps him and to the bum he gives coins to. It's not in contrast, however, to the very attractive ladies in the story and the ones he beds. There is no sex and nudity in this film.

Gardenia is cool, and sometimes he smokes a cigar like Clint Eastwood's man with no name. He runs an upscale restaurant but not too upscale. Into Rome comes Salluzzo (Martin Balsam), presumably a Mafia type who wants to push drugs. Robert Webber is his associate. Balsam is genial but vicious when he wants to be, and he will double cross to get his way.

Gardenia won't go for the deal at all. Balsam must overcome this obstacle if he is to succeed in organizing all the smaller fry.

The story of this conflict moves rather slowly at first, instead concentrating on aspects of Gardenia's life. The movie at those times plays like a vehicle for Califano. He does a creditable job in his part, handling well the tendency of the director to let the camera stay upon him rather too long and too frequently, apparently playing up to his success as a singer.

But after Gardenia's cook is killed and his restaurant bombed, the conflict between Salluzzo and Gardenia dominates the story, which then becomes tougher. The pacing and film editing seem mostly to be slow, deliberate and without much variation to evoke tension. The photography and look are nice, but this lack of variation tends to undermine the movie and work against its being a tough crime film. The result is that by trying to inject a bittersweet and somewhat cynical flavor, along with glorifying a cool hero who is never in real danger, the story-telling dilutes the crime feeling. The story itself has some transitions that are too quick in which Gardenia uncovers vital information.

Overall, not bad, flawed but still having some nice moves by Califano. He does no singing in the movie. Balsam does a decent job. Webber's part is too small for his strengths. The script didn't know quite what to do with this part for Califano, having to reckon with his image in his other non-movie activities.

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