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Eurocrime! The Italian Cop and Gangster Films That Ruled the '70s (2012)

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A documentary concerning the violent Italian 'poliziotteschi' cinematic movement of the 1970s which, at first glance, seem to be rip-offs of American crime films like DIRTY HARRY or THE ... See full summary »

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Title: Eurocrime! The Italian Cop and Gangster Films That Ruled the '70s (2012)

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A documentary concerning the violent Italian 'poliziotteschi' cinematic movement of the 1970s which, at first glance, seem to be rip-offs of American crime films like DIRTY HARRY or THE GODFATHER, but which really address Italian issues like the Sicilian Mafia and red terrorism. Perhaps even more interesting than the films themselves were the rushed methods of production (stars performing their own stunts, stealing shots, no live sound) and the bleed-over between real-life crime and movie crime. Written by Anonymous

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30 March 2012 (USA)  »

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Engaging and educational.
8 November 2014 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This is a genuinely interesting, well-researched and therefore informative documentary on the emergence, duration, and eventual decline of a very specific genre. Namely, the "poliziotteschi" that dominated the 1970s: those rough and raw Italian made cop and gangster films that only in more recent years have received something of a revival.

The Italians were always quick to capitalize on a fad, taking their cue from American cop films like "Dirty Harry" and "The French Connection" and gangster cinema such as "The Godfather" (which inspired American-made knock-offs as well). However, they really put their own distinctive flair on these stories, upping the ante in terms of the violence and sleaziness taking place on screen.

Writer / director Mike Malloy gives us a number of extremely enjoyable interviews with the actors - both Italian and American - and filmmakers who were prolific in this genre. Among them are Franco Nero, Enzo G. Castellari, Mario Caiano, John Saxon, John Steiner, Henry Silva, Fred "The Hammer" Williamson, Chris Mitchum, Leonard Mann, and Luc Merenda.

Divided into several sections, the film has enough animation and visual gimmicks to transcend being mostly a "talking head" sort of affair, and it's delivered with an obvious passion for the subject matter. Topics covered include the origin of Eurocrime, the men who made the movies, the way that women tended to be treated in them (they usually didn't fare too well, unfortunately), the way that real life Italian crime organizations always made their presence known, the political climate in which they were released, and the way that they hastened their demise by adding too much comedy.

It seems like an oversight that Fernando Di Leo would barely get a mention; even as a relative novice to poliziotteschi, this viewer knows that Di Leo was a big name in this genre. Actor Tomas Milian gets a prominent mention, but is not seen during the documentary; a separate interview with him is an extra on the DVD release.

All in all, if you're like me and know that you've done little more than scratch the surface when it comes to Eurocrime, Malloy's movie will make you aware of how much there is to discover.

Among the funniest tidbits of information: Umberto Lenzi being outed as one of the "screamiest" directors that some of the actors had ever worked with.

Eight out of 10.


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