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QT4: 5th Night: 70's Italian Crime Films... Tarantino lets loose with the brilliant Fernando Di Leo!!!

Here we go Night Five.... QT Quattro (the 4th Quentin Tarantino Film Festival).... Italian 70’s Crime Films (double feature) plus one American Crime flick...

Tonight was one of the highest anticipated nights for me. I’ve long heard about the Italian Crime films.... I’ve heard many of the scores thanks to the world of foreign Soundtrack collecting... of which, I’m very adventurous.... But I have not had the films to watch... but from their scores... they sounded like very big... VERY BIG films...

When Quentin took the stage tonight, he was in a mood to rile everyone up... I think he was a little disappointed in the reception SUCCUBUS received... and knew hands down that this night’s schedule was going to have everyone in the house sitting in a puddle of their own excited chilling piss... because he was going to introduce us to a director by the name of Fernando DiLeo.


Well, that was my thought. As I’ve admitted in the general realm of Italian 70’s Cinema... I’m a complete void of information. So when Quentin grabbed that mike like a doomed chicken and started pounding it with a barrage of highly excitable words... the audience responded.

“Alright, most of you know the Hong Kong world of violent cinema, John Woo... Ringo Lam... All that beautiful slo-mo.... birds flying.... stunning choreography.... They made violence poetic but brutal.. WELL, In ITALIAN CRIME FILMS... In the films of Fernando DiLeo... There ain’t nothing pretty about it. It’s just as violent... More so even... I mean in these films their guys would come in this room with machine guns and just begin shooting all of you dead, and then they would begin blowing you up, and then the flames would envelope you and then as the flames begin to boil your eyeball there would be a quick ZOOM to watch it burst........ (audience begins howling in laughter) ..... You think I’m fucking kidding... You think that’s a fucking joke, I’m not fucking kidding... These movies will cut your heads off and your bodies will just sit there spurting blood and you won’t fucking care because... these movies are that fucking good...”

“...In Italy they have a completely different take on Film, because of the tradition of Opera. SO in Italy when they kill... THEY KILL BIG, when they make love.... THEY LOVE BIG, when they act.... THEY ACT BIG. To them the idea of kids being influenced by films... it’s like ‘Whaataya talkinbout... itsa a moovie, whatz da matta you can no tell between a movie and REEEality? Itsa just a fooking movieeee’”

Now... just so you know... I didn’t tape that conversation... that’s memory... and I’m willing to bet when I take a listen to the tapes that Quint has made... I’m almost exactly on the letter. Tarantino was a fireball up on that stage. You see... to Quentin... he really really loves these films... and to him, he sees these festivals as his way of... sort of getting the word out about movies that most of you have... not forgotten... that the whole world has forgotten.... that we’re all so damn busy looking at what’s coming out this weekend... and that we’re all so busy buying those same 300 titles in different and newer formats... that we completely don’t see all those films that the world just missed. Films like MARCH OR DIE... where.. because it came out the same weekend as STAR WARS a long time ago.... NOONE SAW IT... Well, now at least this theater full will know.... They will obsess... they will ask and search... they will tell friends and their friends... And when I tell all of you... Well most of you will think this is just some damn BAD MOVIE festival... but the ones of you out there with movie going adventure seeking balls.... WELL... You’ll know.

You will find these films... invite friends over... watch them... then go through the various actors and directors and writers’ movies searching for other good ones... and no matter how small that group of truly adventurous filmgoers are.... the movies won’t be lost... they will be known. Someone out there will find a little niche sub genre and write a book.... hell, make a film... and the influence might be passed on.

Damn I got off target, but there’s a reason folks... I’m passionate about this stuff.... That is why I’m here... I’m a movie sponge... I soak in cinema.... I’m the BOUNTY of this festival... the quicker picker upper... and Quentin is that guy spilling stuff all over the place... And I’m picking it all up... and this night is a night where that is a sheer joy.

Peter Blood in the AICN group didn’t come to this night... When I first asked him why, he said, “Well, I wasn’t familiar with any of the titles.”


I mean, when you see two Italian Crime titles like SHOOT FIRST DIE LATER and WIPE OUT... and you know that Quentin Tarantino wants to show them and be associated with them.... You better fucking believe you’re in for a night of PRIME A ASSKICKING.

That takes us to the first film of the night... SHOOT FIRST, DIE LATER or... if you need to find it on IMDB... it is known as “Poliziotto è marcio, Il” and I might add that it was quite some task to figure that out... Sigh... Thank God for the ability to cross reference multiple names in me noggin... sigh...

The less you know about this film... the better... It’s a cop movie, that deals with corruption on the force, Mafia influences, father son confrontations... In Quentin’s introduction he stressed over and over again how in our country... we romanticize the Mafia... How we stress and emphasize the family aspects... the loyalty... the togetherness... Well, in Italy... where the MAFIA really is like a secondary black government and terror unit.... where it isn’t some imaginary evil thing.... That’s where Fernando Di Leo is coming from in his films.... HE HATES THE MAFIA.... and his films, at least the two we saw tonight... they show how hypocritical they all are.... How they get you in with that whole... “We’re about family” bullshit, and then if you are needed or proven to be a threat or can make their lives easier by being dead.... You are dead. Doesn’t matter who you are.

And this film shows that. There is no love here... this is a raw nerve of a film. Ya know... on both of these Italian films... your really do need to just track them down by hook or by crook. If you go to IMDB on this title.. you will find nothing really... there is no video release... there is no DVD.... This is a film that just barely exists.... If Quentin didn’t have a print... and didn’t just show it, you wouldn’t know it existed. BUT IT IS FANTASTIC!

It is brutal, dramatic and hard. If you’ve seen the Seijun Suzuki films like BRANDED TO KILL or TOKYO DRIFTER... If you liked those... well these movies are more violent, more dramatic and just as damn good if not better.

Some video company somewhere in this damn world needs to begin releasing and hyping these long forgotten films.

I mean, in SHOOT FIRST DIE LATER there is a Mafia attack in a warehouse where they come in with big damn billyclubs and begin beating the living shit out of these people for even contemplating going to another supplier.... Their teeth are being knocked out, cheek bones being broken in a compound manner... Faces are stepped on, arms broken... It’s as brutal as you can imagine... and when these poor wretched souls can no longer move... when they are mere inflated skin jobs... these men come in with machine guns and blast away at their legs... leaving them alive... barely... but they’ll never walk again ever.

When someone sitting with an unlit cigarette asks the hero for a light... the hero grabs the man by his hair and knees him flat into the face in the same sort of vicious OH SHIT hurt that that cop felt in T2 when Arnold shoves his head into the concrete pillar.

This was BRUTAL.

And it was just the handjob of the night. It was mere foreplay compared to the second film... WIPE OUT.

As Quentin noted in his introduction... everywhere else in the world, but the U.S.... this film is known as... THE BOSS... and folks, this movie is as hardcore as they come.

You know that description that Quentin gave in his introduction to tonight that I wrote up above... ahem... that’s here. I mean, HOLY SHIT! I still have the bump on my head from it falling off the back of the chair and hitting the floor, because my spurting necked body was a fountain of gore over this movie.

First off... You have never seen HENRY SILVA as a bigger badass.... I mean, he’s playing waaaay earlier than Chow Yun Fat... that type of KILLER... This guy is not to be fucked with.

And this Fernando DiLeo chap is a friggin crime film genius. In this film nothing goes as expected. FOR EXAMPLE...

When one of the Mafia head’s daughter is kidnapped and ransomed by a low level gang trying to gain power... the gang guys decide to pull a gang bang on this ‘sweet innocent daughter’ only to discover that she’s an insatiable drug and alcohol loving nympho that can wear all of them out and ask for thirds... She is a sexual beast. You see... she is OF the Mob... which means she’s a part of that whole dirty piece of shit sub-human debauchery ridden world... She will fuck anyone, be anyone’s whore... And if she’s being sweet and nice the guys screwing her will slap her... grab her by the face and slam her into the wall and leave her dripping... And if she were to die... they wouldn’t think 2 seconds about dumping her delicious body into a flame chute.. so noone would know she even existed.

AND THAT IS NOTHING. You thought in Film Noir people double crossed? Heh... I thought I had the whole formula down... I thought I understood everyone having personal high ambition motivations... NOPE... DiLeo here just began whupping ass on the back and forth... who is with who sort of thing.

Henry Silva? Like I said, ol Killer Kane has never been this killer before. It doesn’t have the finesse of the Hong Kong cinema... but it is like those Hong Kong films are a dream of these films. Like they never existed... and this is that bitter pill of reality that gives you stomach cramps.

When this film ended... there was a lot of applause.. If you go to IMDB on this film.... you will read a single existing review, and the quote is, “The best and most realistic Mafia film ever made.” Now... I love THE GODFATHER films... I think GOODFELLAS is brilliant.... Hell THE SICILIAN is damn fine... but I’ve never seen a Mafia film this hard or brutal... and from what I can find out it seems that DiLeo was taking incidents right out of the headlines of the day in Italy... and bringing them to life..


Now... the third film of the night was... I thought supposed to be a change of pace. It’s a 70’s crime film from America... starring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby. The poster for the film made it out to be kinda funny.... and ya know... I guess there could be a kinda funny aspect... but this movie left me devastated.

Robert Culp directed this jewel... and he and Bill Cosby are acting their asses off. Bill... Robert.... What the hell happened. Dudes, you guys were the cat’s meow in this flick.

The movie is called HICKEY & BOGGS... and those guys are Private Dicks... gone from the police forces they used to serve... now on the ass end of the profession. Laws are being passed to force them to basically just serve summons and hunt down scapegoats on bail bonds.

This isn’t the Phillip Marlowe universe anymore. They hang in bars... check their answering services... Bill has an ex-wife that doesn’t much care for him... a kid he hardly ever sees.... Robert Culp lives in strip clubs, with a glass teat pouring whiskey in his gullet... going home to be satisfied with whores...

Robert Culp and Bill Cosby are not in a happy place.

They get a little gig... turns out to suck really bad for them.

This is what the LETHAL WEAPON movies weren’t brave enough to be. The first film hinted in this direction... but collapsed. As Quentin pointed out... this was in the vein of THE LONG GOODBYE... the script was by WALTER HILL.... his first produced credit... Peckinpah picked up THE GETAWAY... and well... you know the rest of the story. But this is a lost film to my ears and eyes... I’d never seen or heard of it.

Why the hell did Robert Culp direct ONE movie? I mean, this was great. It had me in tears, laughing and wincing in pain.

There are some images... things with Cosby that I will not shake. A shot of a dissipated Robert Culp... staring glassy eyed.. mesmerized but gone... a vanished man... great face work by Culp in this. This movie changes one’s opinion of these two.

This should be a movie that becomes very well known... but it’s not on video... it is not on dvd or laserdisc. This movie... like the others tonight, do not exist.

Search my friends... watch your cable listings, search on ebay and imdb... find these films... you will not regret it.

The next night will be ITALIAN ADVENTURE EPICS.... till then, the second row at the Alamo will rest.

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