A Movie A Day: Quint on RICCO, THE MEAN MACHINE (1973) Tender Flesh! Burning Acid!
Published at: July 27, 2008, 8:20 p.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day.
[For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.]
So we get to see son of Robert, Christopher Mitchum, in charge of RICCO, THE MEAN MACHINE, alias THE CAULDRON OF DEATH.
What’s not evident by the DVD cover is that the flick’s a cheap Italian rip-off of THE GODFATHER and what’s not evident by the fucking awesome US poster at the end of this article, it’s not a horror movie.
Chris Mitchum looks like he’s have a blast as the son of a murdered mobster, newly out of jail and forced into avenging his asshole dad by his crippled mother, horny sister and all his dad’s faithful followers.
The new Don, Don Vito (no shit… he’s not cross-eyed, obese or a kid-toucher, though so I guess Bam’s uncle won’t have a leg to stand on in court) has also taken Mitchum’s hot girlfriend and married her. The hot girlfriend is played by Malisa Longo who seriously probably has the most perfect breasts I’ve ever seen. Love the natural ‘70s, man.
Like I said above, Mitchum’s reluctant to take revenge, more of a live and let live type, but he’s not afraid to check on his girl and try to talk her away from Don Vito (Arthur Kennedy, who also appeared in previous AMADs CITY FOR CONQUEST, KILLER BAIT and SOME CAME RUNNING). When that doesn’t work out too well, he ends wanting to ruffle the Don’s feathers a little.
Of course that leads down a road where no one escapes without a bullet hole or taking an acid bath.
One of the gang’s fronts is a soap factory and those that cross the Don take a little dip in the acid bath and turned into bars of soap, which is awesomely forshadowed by the Don’s complete distaste of soap, to the point that he won’t use it anymore, not sure who he’s washing with.
Mitchum is Pinocchio here, but more wooden. He makes Hayden Christensen look like 1980s Robin Williams. He has the lazy eyes of his father, but not the immediate and striking screen presence. That said, he’s not out of place in this world. It’s very low budget, but that gives it its charm. There are enough colorful (and often naked) Italian characters around him, including the sexy Barbara Bouchet, known for her ‘70s exploitation fare like NEVER TORTURE A DUCKLING.
Final Thoughts: The flick is ridiculous, the violence extreme (pre-HOSTEL 2 castration that gives us an even more graphic depiction of the act), the nudity coming fast and furious. In short, it’s about everything you’d want from an entertaining piece of ‘70s schlock. There’s a tone and earnestness to ‘70s exploitation that is missing from low budget knock offs today.