Agenore Incrocci

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Mafioso Review


Essential
Alberto Lattuada's Mafioso has the look and feel of an archived piece of dust-washed stone being hunted by Indiana Jones. Its black-and-white photography (pristine and peerless by any standards) and its leading man, the incomparable Alberto Sordi, are timestamps of a bygone era where style was a matter of pride. Yet, besides a brief run in the early '60s, no one has heard of Mafioso and little is known of its proficient director.

Due mostly to lack of access on DVD or reappraisal, Lattuada has become a cinematic specter; the kind of mythological beast of burden that is known for his capacity for brilliance but is unavailable to anyone interested enough to look him up. To date, Lattuada's only film to reach a Region 1 disc is Variety Lights, and that's only because his co-director happened to be some yutz named Fellini. With the re-release of this seminal work, however, Lattuada's recognition might just be raised from purgatory.

Continue reading: Mafioso Review

Mafioso Review


Essential
Alberto Lattuada's Mafioso has the look and feel of an archived piece of dust-washed stone being hunted by Indiana Jones. Its black-and-white photography (pristine and peerless by any standards) and its leading man, the incomparable Alberto Sordi, are timestamps of a bygone era where style was a matter of pride. Yet, besides a brief run in the early '60s, no one has heard of Mafioso and little is known of its proficient director.

Due mostly to lack of access on DVD or reappraisal, Lattuada has become a cinematic specter; the kind of mythological beast of burden that is known for his capacity for brilliance but is unavailable to anyone interested enough to look him up. To date, Lattuada's only film to reach a Region 1 disc is Variety Lights, and that's only because his co-director happened to be some yutz named Fellini. With the re-release of this seminal work, however, Lattuada's recognition might just be raised from purgatory.

Continue reading: Mafioso Review

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Review


Essential
Positioned in history between the earnest majesty of John Ford's The Searchers and Sam Peckinpah's doomed cowboy dirge The Wild Bunch, Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is animated by the best those classic westerns have to offer. Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Western masterpiece is still committed to many of the basic conventions of the not-yet moribund genre, embracing the wide-eyed epicness of Ford's standard-bearer. But Blondie (Clint Eastwood), Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef), and Tuco (Eli Wallach), the respective title characters, occupy a brutal and complex moral world akin to Peckinpah, where women are beaten, crippled fathers are executed in their homes, and the ironically-named "good" guy earns his name for being only slightly less vile than the other gunslingers.

But Leone's mixture of seemingly incompatible elements is what makes The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly so great. Not only does he combine a Cinemascope-era outlook with an eye for grittiness, but he mingles tasteful realism with a flamboyant, self-conscious style. Freeze frames, intertitles, and point-of-view shots brilliantly co-exist with the meticulously appointed period sets and sweeping frontier vistas. This fusion, in addition to a surplus of creativity and lack of restraint, makes the third in the so-called "man with no name" series the crowning glory of his career.

Continue reading: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Review

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