• Come Cani Arrabbiati

    Released by: Camera Obscura
    Released on: December, 2014.
    Director: Mario Imperioli
    Cast: Jean-Pierre Sabagh, Annarita Grapputo, Paola Senatore, Cesare Barro
    Year: 1976
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Mario Imperioli in 1976, Come Cani Arrabbiati (which translates to Like Wild Dogs, which will no doubt draw parallels to Mario Bava’s similarly titled final film) starts with a ridiculously suspenseful scene that takes place at a packed Italian soccer stadium while a tense match is underway. Here we see a trio of men clad in black ski-masks pull of a daring heist in broad daylight. The fact that they robbed the place would be reason enough for the cops to want to bring these guys in, but once you add some cold blooded murder to the list of grievances, it’s no wonder tough as nails cop Paolo Muzi (Jean-Pierre Sabagh) takes this latest case so seriously.

    From here, we get to know these thugs a bit better – Rico (Luis La Torra) and Sylvia (Annarita Grapputo) both answers to their leader, the sadistic Tony (Cesare Barro), their college friend. Collectively they are on a tear, a literal crime spree across town. When they take a hostage and wind up killing her, things start to unravel in a bad way and Tony gets a taste for killing hookers. This inspires Muzi to coax girlfriend Germana (Paola Senatore) into going undercover as a streetwalker but his plan doesn’t quite work out the way he had hoped. Tony is a slippery devil, and he and his crew aren’t going to go down without a fight. They abduct Germana and rough her up, but Muzi and his men are closing in – but will they get there in time?

    This is the type of rough and tumble cop film that could only have come out of mid-seventies Italy! Chock full of all the sex and violence you could hope for it’s a trashy picture that movies at a quick pace and which does not shy away from bloodshed and nudity. The movie does have a fair bit of style to it, however, boasting some really nice camera work in a few scenes and impressive use of color throughout. The film also features a really memorable score that works really nicely alongside the copious car chases and action. It’s nasty, it’s violent and it flaunts political incorrectness almost like a badge of honor – but there’s some interesting social commentary just beneath the surface of Come Cani Arrabbiati that gives it some smarts too.

    Quite surprisingly, the nastiest character in the movie is Sylvia, who shows a real penchant for violence and a knack for sadism here. Annarita Grapputo plays the part well, and often without much in the way of clothing, and she tends to steal most of the scenes she’s in. Luis La Torra is fine here too but he pales in comparison to Cesare Barro, who plays things pretty close to over the top here, but by doing so crafts a pretty memorable villain. Jean-Pierre Sabagh as the ‘good guy’ in charge of bringing down these killers is also quite good in the role, playing the part with just the right amount of cool but not afraid to show his character as a bit unraveled when things hit the fan, particularly when the system he’s sworn to uphold works against him, rather than for him. Throwing the truly beautiful Paola Senatore into the mix doesn’t hurt things in that department either.


    Come Cani Arrabbiati debuts on Blu-ray from Camera Obscura in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 2.35.1 widescreen and it looks excellent. What really stands out right from the opening scene is how strong the color reproduction is in this transfer – it pops in ways you might not expect it to without ever looking to have been artificially boosted or anything. Black levels are nice and solid and the image shows excellent detail from start to finish while still retaining an appropriately gritty, grainy look to it. Outside of a few small specks that most won’t even notice, print damage is never an issue, in fact the image is amazingly clean, while the lack of any obvious noise reduction or edge enhancement results in a nicely filmic picture with strong texture and depth.

    The only audio option is a DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track in Italian with optional subtitles offered up in English and German. The single channel mix sounds just fine, with a noticeable amount of depth to the score and decent, crisp sounding dialogue. The levels are balanced and there are no issues with hiss or distortion.

    The extras on the disc start off with an audio commentary from Christian Kessler and Marcus Stiglegger, conducted in German (though optional English subtitles are provided). If you’ve listened to any of the other commentary tracks these gentlemen have been involved with for Camera Obscura over the last few years then you’ll know what to expect – a lively talk with the right balance of oddball facts and trivia and critical analysis. They spend a fair bit of time talking up the directorial style employed in the film but also note the locations, some of the ways that music is used and the efforts of the cast and crew. It’s quite a good commentary and a welcome addition to the disc.

    From there we check out the first featurette, a fifty minute long piece called When A Murderer Dies. This is an interview with cinematographer Romano Albani with input from interviewer/film scholar Fabio Melelli. Here they talk about Albani’s working relationship with director Mario Imperioli and what it was like collaborating on this film with him. They also talk about some of the other people that Albani worked with over the years on various projects, so it’s as much a career overview as it is a specific look back at Come Cani Arrabbiati. Either way, it’s very interesting and well put together. A second featurette is also included here, a half hour long piece called It's Not A Time For Tears that is a talk with Come Cani Arrabbiati’s assistant director Claudio Bernabei. He too talks about working with Imperioli but also talks about learning his trade through some collaborations with none other than Joe D’Amato. Like the first piece it’s as much a look at Bernabei’s career in general as it is a film-specific piece but Bernabei’s got some great stories here, definitely take the time to check out both of these interviews.

    Outside of that we get a trailer for the feature, a generous still gallery and animated menus in your choice of English or German with accompanying chapter selection options. Additionally, inside the packaging is a booklet of liner notes (again, in English and German) that were written by Kai Nauman and that offer up some nice background information on the film.

    The Final Word:

    It really is amazing that a company has given a film as obscure as Come Cani Arrabbiati the deluxe treatment but that’s exactly what Camera Obscura have done with this release. Everything about it, from the transfer and presentation down to the extensive supplements, is of the highest quality. As to the feature itself, it’s a fast-paced, hard-hitting blast and an essential addition to the home video library of anyone with an interest in the Italian crime film boom of the seventies.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      I really appreciate your review Ian. You nailed it. Come Cani Arrabbiati is a machine gun of violence and sleaze that never lets up. But what sets it apart is the camera work. It seems like the camera is always moving which made the film feel even more frenetic. I got the sense there was nudity and killings every few minutes but it never got tiring. I've been getting acquainted with Euro-crime over the past year and this might be my favorite so far. Camera Obscura went above and beyond with the disc. I'm really impressed.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Glad you dug it, it really is a great film and a great release.