I Saw A Film!

A spaghetti Bronson epic. A recalcitrant hitman ends up in hospital after a shootout with some professional criminals, his lady on the seat next to him disappears into the underworld while he recovers. Slowly we kind of figure out that his lady, ain’t really his lady, and she’s actually with Telly Savalas, the impact of which seems far less impressive than the film wants us to imagine. What the heck else was the film going to do, have her marry Bronson and live happily-ever-after? This is a Bronson killer film and no one does it better than Bronson (who sadly, late in life, lost his mind to dementia and no longer knew he was Bronson. What a rip off!).

Anyway, Bronson does tons with little lines. He really has very few in this thing. When he’s offered a drink he just says he’s not thirsty. When he’s made offers and pleas to come back into the family (the original title of this thing) he just repeats he’s not thirsty. When he’s not talking, his squint seems to be enough. And while Bronson, Savalas and Ireland are in English, most of his Italian co-stars are still in Italian so you’ll want the subtitles on.

Now for the rough stuff, we know the Ireland character (she’s still Spock’s girlfriend from the original series, in that one paradise episode, to me) has double-played Bronson. We’re meant to understand by the end that she helped Telly with the hit, but its still a bit difficult to accept Bronson as our good guy when he smacks her around. I’m feeling sympathetic to her desire to eliminate him after seeing even a touch of that-though, the film seems to imply it’s her “thing”. At one point he very nearly rapes her at a hanger (no Jeff, no Jeff, no Jeff!), and only gets interrupted because some other guys are beating up another fellow in the hanger next door. Old Italian films are loaded with this sort of macho violence on women as if it were just a fact of life, nothing more than the way men and women are meant to behave. I’ve always preferred a kind of Lao Tsu / Taoist outlook when it comes to the warrior ethic. The true ones have no need of throwing around their weight, or publicizing their skill. Of course, Italian film-makers know that “getting the blood up” puts asses in the cinema seats, and no doubt the fetishization of violence, especially directed at the ladies is an honest draw. Hell there’s a whole field of porn, more popular than all of the professional sports combined, that is basically slapping around a pretty woman. I’m certainly on the outside looking in on this. The Italians sprinkle their features with this “porn” form and it helped make Bronson the biggest star in Europe and in the states. If we compare the film to Reynolds’s Malone (reviewed a few days ago), which was not only sexless, but endearing for it’s gentlemanly protection of a young lass, we quickly spot the cultural honesty (or expose!). Are the Italians just more honest than we are when delivering this sort of fantasy?

Bronson was just about 50 and does a few of his own impressive stunts. Still strong enough to haul himself over 8′ chain link fences and whatnot.

This is running free on PRIME in USA. It would be fun to kind of line up these old Italian films for the sake of their star-making potential.

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