• Eurocrime! The Italian Cop And Gangster Films That Ruled The 70's

    Released by: Cinema Epoch
    Released on: October 14th, 2014.
    Director: Mike Malloy
    Cast: Franco Nero, Joe Dallesandro, Henry Silva, John Saxon
    Year: 2012
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    The Movie:

    The glory days of the Italian film industry are filled with European knockoffs of popular American genre films and given the success of American cop and crime films like Dirty Harry, The French Connection and The Godfather, it only made sense that knock offs made fast and cheap from the continent would follow in their wake. And they did, in a tidal wave of blood, boobs and J&B whiskey making stars out of manly men like John Saxon, Henry Silva, Franco Nero and the eternally mustachioed Maurizio Merli.

    And as far as the ‘cycles’ of Italian cinema are concerned, this was a big one. There are a lot more entries in the genre than more often talked about cannibal or zombie films and many of these films had bigger names attached to them to. That makes it a bit of a surprise that there hasn’t, until now at least, been a decent documentary made about the movement. Enter Mike Malloy and his two hour feature, Eurocrime! The Italian Cop And Gangster Films That Ruled The 70's, a comprehensive piece made by a fan for the fans that rounds up about as many people who were involved in these pictures as is realistically possible forty years after the genre’s boom years.

    The movie starts off with a breakdown of how Italian mass market films had that aforementioned tendency to ape the success of their Hollywood cousins. This, coupled with the waning of the popular and profitable Spaghetti Western films at both domestic and international box offices had Italian producers looking for the next big thing. They found it with the success of the cop and crime films and, as they did with Spaghetti Westerns and horror pictures, quickly figured out a way to turn this out quickly and on a modest budget, often times casting lesser known but still recognizable American stars in lead roles. What they lacked in originality these films often made up for with fantastic car chases, awesome stunt heavy set pieces, over the top violence, frequently naked Euro-babes and typically awesome soundtracks.

    The formula proved a success and Malloy’s film charts the rise and fall of this cinematic phenomena by tracking down those who were there and letting them tell their own stories in their own words. Of course, it stands to reason that we’d get input from plenty of the guys who did their thing in front of the camera, and in that regard it’s great to see guys like Nero, Saxon, Fred ‘The Hammer’ Williamson, Christopher Mitchum, Luke Merenda, Antonio Sabáto, Richard Harrison, Joe Dallesandro and yes, the great Henry Silva, still sharp as a tack and full of piss and vinegar swapping stories from their glory days. But we also get some great stories from the trenches from the guys who worked behind the camera, directors like Enzo G. Castellari and other important players not as often recognized like stuntmen and what not.

    The end result is such thorough and subsequently engaging that you don’t even necessarily need to be a fan of the genre to both enjoy and appreciate this picture. Like it or not, these rough and ready exploitation pictures have earned their place in movie history and Malloy and company have done an excellent job uncovering their history and documenting their legacy. The fact that almost all of the interviewees really seem to enjoy telling their tales helps to keep this fun while plenty of appropriate film clips and archival materials are used to engage us on a visual level and keep this from becoming more than just a collection of talking heads. It all adds up to make Eurocrime! a picture guaranteed to appeal to cult cinema enthusiasts from all walks, or really just anyone with an interest in movie history. See it. You won’t regret it.


    Eurocrime! arrives on DVD from Cinema Epoch framed at 1.78.1 widescreen in an anamorphic transfer that looks good enough. The clips from the various movies used to illustrate key points vary in quality but most of the newly shot interview clips look pretty good. Colors are fine and the minor compression artifacts are easily forgivable.

    The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound mix is also fine. Most of the documentary is in English but quite a few parts are spoken in Italian and during these parts, English subtitles automatically appear on screen to translate. Levels are properly balanced and the different score selections used throughout the movie sound good.

    The biggest and best of the extras on the disc is an interview with Tomas Milian, an actor often associated with the genre who Malloy wasn’t able to interview for the feature presentation. Here he speaks quite frankly for fifteen minutes in English about how he got his start in the Italian film industry and quickly found fame working in plenty of different crime films in the seventies. Interestingly enough he’s quite honest about how this didn’t exactly translate into fame and fortune for him when he came to make movies in American, where no one had really heard of him. Milian is always an interesting and entertaining interviewee and this piece is a welcome addition to the disc.

    Aside from that look for a handful of deleted scenes, a trailer for the feature, promos for a few other Cinema Epoch releases, menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Anyone with an interest in the Italian cop movies of the seventies should consider this a mandatory purchase. It’s a well put together documentary proving both entertaining and insightful and a few choice supplements accompanying the feature presentation round the disc out really nicely.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Sounds like an awesome release! I love that Silva still looks like he could rip out your spine and dance in your blood.