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Saturday, January 3, 2015

IL BOSS / THE BOSS (1973)

A clean limned internecine gang warfare tale from Mafiaso specialist Fernando Di Leo that avoids the usual Italian commercial cinema overkill, but can’t find much to take its place. We’re in Palermo, just in time to see one of the main mob clans rubbed out at a private porn screening. It’s the work of mob man Henry Silva, a Po-faced executioner with what proves to be a wandering allegiance. Then, a girl’s kidnapping forces the hand of the three remaining families to sort out a pecking order while corrupt police and impotent action committees go thru the motions. It’s a fine set up for a citywide power struggle, but Di Leo never gets below the surface nor does he show the technical chops to build much suspense. Action sequences don’t provide enough information. Is the stalker close to his target? Is that hallway even on the same floor? And the obligatory nude wench (the kidnapped mob daughter) is such a walking masochistic, misogynist cliché you want to send Di Leo to some remedial feminist workshop. Weak as it is, it’s pretty watchable stuff.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Even though Silva & Richard Conte (he’s the eldest of the Palermo bosses) did their own English-language dialogue looping, the film has far more conviction when played in its Italian dub with English subtitles.

DOUBLE-BILL: This film is last in a trilogy that include CALIBER 9/’72 and THE ITALIAN CONNECTION/’72.

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