Friday, June 1, 2012

Ten Statements About.... IL BOSS (aka WIPEOUT!) (1973)

Budgets cuts on Girls Gone Wild got noticable early on...
"Would you kill me when you're tired of me? I really mean that."
"Honey, I'm tired of you NOW!"

1) I would pay not only for a single movie, but a whole series of movies where Henry Silva is a hitman and Antonia Santilli plays his annoying nymphomaniac girlfriend who keeps bugging him while he's busy killing people. The interplay between those two are hands down the best things in the film.

2) I know this is only my second policia, but I simply just don't get them. It seems that they share the same lack of attention to plot and detail as gialli and spaghetti westerns, but without the dreaminess and sardonic humor that made those genres fascinating.

3) This is Henry Silva in Stoneface Henry Silva mode and, while I miss the goofy Silva of La Mala Ordina, he fits perfectly in this insane world. And this shows up the best whenever Silva's Lanzetta is contrasted with the more...theatrical moments in the film. Seeing Silva trying to contain his anger at Santilli's Rina, or keeping himself cool while Richard Conte's Don Corrasco pontificates to insane lengths is pure gold.
If you won't watch this movie, Henry Silva will kill this
sleazy-looking bum...because we're all out of puppies.

4) Gianno Garko's Commissioner Torri is such. A. Goof. And the way he's set up as a hardass in the first part of this film, smacking around mafioso and chasing widows out of coroner's office, only for us to learn that he's a squirrely, corrupt weasel with a bad mustache in the second part only serves to confuse the narrative. We never get a sense that he is a worthy opponent for Lanzetta, nor that he is anything but a caricature for Silva to eventually gun down.

5) But then, the problem with this film is how no one seems to make up any sort of opposition here. Hell, we see Corrasco dictating terms to a man who, it is implied, is The Pope. This is a film that takes the average cop drama and unbalances the other way, with the Mafia so thoroughly in charge of Italy they can run the country with impunity.
"I swear...his gun was this big...why are you laughing?"

6) I really, really like Antonia Santilli. I'm not a big fan of most Euro-babes who populate these films, but there's something about this baby-faced doll (who looks very remarkably like anti-folk 90's songstress Brenda Kahn) and her charms that makes me drool. Add in that amazing chemistry she has with Silva, and I'm in love.

7) There is a moment about half way through the film where Silva decides that he's going to take over the mob where I get the impression director Fernando Di Leo got bored with his original script and started making things up on his own....leading to weird scenes like Corrasco telling his advisor that Lanzetta has to die, but he still respects him as an underling. And I get the impression this sort of abandoning of the original story happens a lot....

8) I know that we're supposed to feel some sort of reaction--horror? Surprise?--to the montage where the kidnappers and other soldiers in Cocchi's employ are murdered....but even the kidnappers, who we spend a bit of time with in the first half, are interchangable ciphers there only to terrorize Rina (and to indulge her in her nymphomania). Thus any intended impact has been thoroughly blunted.
"So...when you go kill that Mafioso, can we stop at TCBY for
some Key Lime with nuts?  Please?  Please? "

9) One thing I do appreciate about these films is the jazzy scores. While it doesn't necessarily fit every moment of the film, it's unique to the genre and makes these films feel both of their time and timeless.

10) And let's give this film, and the examples of the genre I've seen so far credit....if it wasn't for the rotary phones and other technological cues, these movies don't date much. Hell, even the talk of student protests and free love doesn't serve to freeze these stories in a specific time.

Overall...while Henry Silva does try to keep the film together by sheer dint of his glowering presence, this really doesn't bring much that's engaging to the table. I respect that so many people I like like this stuff; it's just not interesting enough for me and my sensibilities.

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