06-05-2005, 09:37 PM
Great review Troy and full marks for the Euro Crime week of reviews on the main page!! I had the Milano Calibro 9 soundtack playing as I read those reviews :cool:
One minor error I noticed in the Ruler's of the City review though was that the 'Audio' part of the review gave the exact same write up as the one you'd previously given to Rome Armed to the Teeth...
"The English audio track, sourced from another print, is less stellar. There is some humming and dropouts - no doubt caused by print damage. Dialogue is clear, however, and Micalizzi's music still comes through well enough"
Other than that... A sterling review sir! Good to see you're liking the Euro Crime films!!
06-06-2005, 12:39 AM
That's not my doing - I fear the blame has to go to whoever put the review together; I actually wrote something altogether different and have no idea why such a blatant error was made.
Milano Calibre 9 ST, Jonny? Drop me a PM, dammit! :D
06-06-2005, 02:55 AM
Fixed the review - sorry about that, I made a small goof.
06-06-2005, 05:16 PM
Damn straight, you're sorry! :D No problemo - thanks for correcting it.
03-01-2006, 12:41 PM
Where exactly can Troy's review be found? I've tried both the English and Italian titles in the review section. Cheers.
03-01-2006, 05:39 PM
A notorious mobster (Jack Palance) goes up against two young punks (Al Cliver, Harry Baer) looking for revenge...
A middle of the road offering from the late Fernando Di Leo, Rulers of the City (better known as Mr. Scarface) offers some dynamic action scenes and a couple of enjoyable performances. What the film lacks in comparison to Di Leo's best work - notably, Manhunt and Milano Calibre 9 - is a central character with charisma and personality. In place of Gaston Mochin's addled palooka from Milano or Mario Adorf's endearing pimp from Manhunt, we have a pair of bland pretty boy actors motivated exclusively by their desire to screw over the hotshot gangster played by Jack Palance. Di Leo tries to make things more engaging by introducing a "childhood trauma" motif that enables him to do a Argento-style flashback sequence, but in the end it's really difficult to care about what happens to either of the protagonists.
Luckily, Di Leo scores major points in the pacing department. The film moves at a very good clip, with only some scenes dragging on a bit longer than necessary, and the director once again shows himself more than capable when it comes to staging action sequences. The elaborate, extended cat and mouse game between Palance's toughs and the "heroes" at the end of the picture is very good stuff indeed, and even the odd touches of humor are well integrated into the proceedings.
The screenplay, coauthored by Di Leo and German actor Peter Berling (Aguirre the Wrath of God; he also shows up here as a bearded card dealer), owes more to The Godfather than the likes of Dirty Harry or Death Wish. The emphasis is solely on the gangsters and their double dealings, with the police not even figuring into the action. Alas, the story lacks the punch of Di Leo's earlier scripts for Manhunt and Milano Calibre 9, and it even lacks the sense of irony that leant The Boss and Killer Vs. Killers special appeal. Luckily, in Di Leo's capable hands, the end result is still entertaining, even if it lacks the "bite" of his better works.
The cast is uneven. Jack Palance, clearly brought in to give the film some name value abroad, is an odd choice to play an Italian gangster. He makes no attempt at an Italian accent, but his palpable screen presence and charisma more than makes up for it. Palance, like Di Leo favorite Henry Silva (The Boss), is a rare actor who is credibly intimidating, the kind of presence who looks like he'd be just as threatening off camera as he is on. Compared to his truly out of control performances for Jess Franco in Justine and Freddie Francis in Craze, his performance here is a model of restraint, though he works in a lot of little quirks along the way. It's to be regretted that his role doesn't enable him to be on screen more, because this would detract from the antics of Al Cliver and Harry Baer as the unlikely twosome who go after Palance and his syndicate. Cliver, who would later grow a beard and achieve cult stardom in many a Lucio Fulci film (from Zombie to Demonia), is probably the more satisfactory of the two. Even in his later Fulci films, Cliver (aka, Pier Luigi Conti) never offered serious competition to the better actors who toplined those films, but he made for a likable presence. His role here necessitates that he be a bit more bitter and edgy, and if Cliver doesn't exactly reach the heights of dramatic intensity, at least he doesn't embarass himself. The same can't be said for the obnoxious Harry Baer. It doesn't help that he's saddled with some ridiculous wardrobe and is, apparently, meant to be an expert fighter. Di Leo does what he can with clever editing, but scrawny Baer looks like he's ready to wilt every time Palance shows up on screen. More satisfying is Vittorio Caprioli as the film's comic relief, a lazy ex-gangster who'd rather nap than shoot a gun. Gisela Hahn adds photogenic appeal in an underwritten role, while slumming American actor Edmund Purdom is almost completely wasted as Palance's chief competitor.
Sparked by a catchy Luis Bacalov soundtrack, Rulers of the City is very rarely dull, and in spots it's actually quite engaging, but ultimately it's a lesser offering from one of the masters of the Italian gangster genre.
Raro's new R2 release of Rulers of the City is most satisfying. The 1.85/16x9 image is colorful and sharp, with only minor print damage. Some of the shots look a little over bright, but on the whole it's a fine presentation that does the film's visuals ample justice. Audio options include the original Italian track, with English subtitles, and the English dub track. The latter preserves Palance's distinctive voice, though some of the other performers aren't particularly well dubbed. Both tracks are in good shape. Extras include a Di Leo bio and filmography, and yet another well produced Raro documentary. Di Leo, Cliver and editor Amedeo Giomini all participate and offer enthusiastic memories of the production.
A decent Di Leo offering gets a fine release from Raro.
03-01-2006, 05:45 PM
I take it the actual formatted review is missing in action, then? Just curious.
03-02-2006, 09:55 AM
Thanks for posting the text, Edwin.
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