Category Archives: Crime Films

INTER MILAN: DEAD AND BURIED IN THE CITY

FERNANDO DI LEO’S MILANO CALIBRO 9 FROM ARROW FILMS UK

MC9

Arrow Films in the UK has released Fernando Di Leo’s ‘Milano Calibro 9’ (‘Milan Calibre 9’), a crime classic from 1972 and one of the best examples of the poliziottesco (‘Italian crime movie’) genre. Jailbird Ugo Piazza (Gastone Moschin) is released from San Vittorio prison in Milan after three years behind bars. He’s out for good behaviour, but what follows his release is anything but. Money-laundering Godfather ‘The Mikado’ (Lionel Stander) is convinced Ugo has hidden $300,000 he has stolen from the mob, but despite beatings and harassment, Ugo remains silent. The hoods on his trail – waiting for him to make a mistake and trip up – include greasy, sadistic blabbermouth Rocco Musco (Mario Adorf). As Ugo runs afoul of the mob and the police, he ends up on the Mikado’s payroll again, but eventually finds out that you can’t trust anyone – not even those closest to you.

Fernando Di Leo’s crime thriller masterpiece arrives on blu-ray and DVD in great shape, with superb colour and sound, and a wealth of extras. Also included in the package is a fully illustrated collector’s booklet, featuring an insightful essay ‘Film Noir, Italian-Style: Giorgio Scerbanenco, Fernando Di Leo and Milano Calibro 9’ by Roberto Curti, the author of ‘Italian Crime Filmography, 1968-80’. Arrow Films’ edition contains the English language track most fans of the film will be familiar with (with Lionel Stander dubbing himself and Mario Adorf dubbed with a squeaky, helium whine) and the original Italian edition (with Stander’s crime kingpin called ‘The Americano’, not the Mikado).

‘Calibro 9’ is, with Enzo G. Castellari’s ‘The Marseilles Connection’ (1973 – aka ‘High Crime’), my favourite 1970s Italian crime movie. Both films pack a considerable punch, emotionally and physically, and also have an underlying socio-political agenda amid the action. In Di Leo’s film, which adapted the work of Italian noir novelist Giorgio Scerbanenco, two police commissioners – one from the north of Italy, one from the south – discuss and argue over the north-south/rich-poor divide. The pair is played by actors well known to connoisseurs of Italian genre cinema – Frank Wolff and Luigi Pistilli– and while the scenes don’t drag, their authenticity, especially in the English language dub, is occasionally questionable. For example, would a Milanese commissioner of police ever use a phrase like ‘dangling dingleberries’? The film could do without these scenes, Di Leo reckons in retrospect, but they remained in the original cut of the film. With actors of the calibre of Wolff and Pistilli is supporting roles, writer-director Di Leo obviously fields a very strong cast. Gastone Moschin, the fascist agent from Bertolucci’s ‘The Conformist’ (1970), is superb as the stoic, tough nut Ugo Piazza, an immovable object who the Mikado’s ruffians just can’t break. Ugo ‘had it made’ but couldn’t resist biting the hand that fed him. Now that hand pummels him, in an attempt to find the whereabouts of the missing $300,000.

Compared to taciturn Ugo (an indeed everyone else in the film) Mario Adorf’s performance as Rocco is like a whirlwind. Smashing his way through life with zero regard for the pain, suffering and hatred he generates, he dominates the film. Adorf is one of the great European actors of his generation and the more films of his I watch, the more impressed I am by his skill. He was great in westerns – the crazy bandido in ‘Last Ride to Santa Cruz’ (1964), landgrabbing villain Santer in ‘Winnetou the Warrior’ (1963 – ‘Apache Gold’) and the bandit with a spur instead of an arm in Sergio Corbucci’s ‘The Specialists’ (1969 – ‘Drop Them of I’ll Shoot’) – but was equally at home in comedies, such as the caper ‘The Treasure of San Gennaro’ (1966) or the Oscar-winning drama ‘The Tin Drum’ (1979). Rocco’s two humourless henchmen, Pasquale and Nicola, were played by Mario Novelli and Giuseppe Castellano. Barbara Bouchet was Ugo’s go-go dancing girlfriend Nelly. Bouchet’s psychedelic dance routine (in a nightclub of the type that only ever appear in Italian crime movies) wearing a beaded bikini, is a visual highlight. Philippe Leroy gave a commanding performance as Ugo’s ally Chino, who’s a tough as they come, and Ivo Garrani played aged crime kingpin, Don Vincenzo, a once-important man, now blind and consumed by loneliness. Even the characters at the corners of Di Leo’s drama are given life, through professional performances from familiar faces.

Torre Branca

[Torre Branca, Sempione Park, Milan]

The powerful score was composed by Luis Enriquez Bacalov. It’s partly traditional orchestral arrangements, but Bacalov also collaborated with Italian prog-rock band Osanna on the soundtrack. Bacalov had worked with the band The New Trolls to great success on Maurizio Lucidi’s thriller ‘The Designated Victim’ (1971) and in fact the song ‘My Shadow in the Dark’ from Lucidi’s film accompanies a scene between Ugo and Nelly in ‘Calibro 9’. ‘Milano Calibro 9’ was photographed by Franco Villa in an autumnal, inhospitable Milan, with interiors at DEAR Studios. Di Leo shot on the streets of Milan and also in such authentic locations as the Milano Centrale railway station on Piazza Duca d’Aosta and on the canals and bridges of the Navigli district (both of which have now been renovated since the film was made). The pre-titles sequence, the greatest opening scene of any Italian crime movie, introduces twitchy hood Omero Cappana walking through Sempione Park in Milan, towards a cash drop-off. The hood is revealed in the opening shot of the film, as the camera pans down Torre Branca (Branca Tower), an iron panoramic tower in Sempione Park. The top of the tower is a viewing point – did De Leo film some of the title sequence’s cityscape panoramas across Milan from the top of here? The scene is accompanied by a mellow flute motif, not unlike one deployed by Bacalov in Sergio Corbucci’s ‘Django’ (1966) where it too is a prelude to a savage burst of violence. The action then proceeds to Piazza Del Duomo (Duomo Square) in Milan where the cash handover, a strange game of pass-the-parcel, begins. The music develops from the flute melody, to staccato piano, relentless strings and eventually explodes into a full-throttle prog-rock jam, as violence explodes on the screen. When the hoods find out they have been duped in this cash exchange, they take horrific revenge on the double-crossers. Be aware, Di Leo’s film is very violent, and just as it begins with an act of extreme savagery, it ends with one too, in a scene that’ll pin you back in your chair.

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXLL560XjOE

‘Milano Calibro 9’ was the first of three crime films from Di Leo, sometimes referred to as the ‘Milieu Trilogy’, and was followed by ‘Manhunt’ (1972) and ‘The Boss’ (1973). In ‘Manhunt’, two New York hitmen (Henry Silva and Woody Strode) arrive in Milan to rub out a small-time pimp, Luca Canali (Adorf again). Canali’s wife (Sylva Koscina) and daughter are deliberately run down in the street and during the incredible chase that ensues, Canali head-butts the windscreen of a speeding van, smashing through the glass and attacking the driver. Adolfo Celi played the sinister crime boss behind the carnage. In ‘The Boss’, which is set in Sicily, Henry Silva played Lanzetta, a mafia hit man who in the film’s opening scene obliterates a rival don and his crew in a cinema with a grenade launcher. In retribution, Lanzetta’s boss’s daughter is kidnapped by hoods disguised as student radicals, which escalates the gang war. Both films are worth checking out, but aren’t quite up to the calibre of the first in the trilogy, which remains the high-watermark for Italian crime cinema.

MILANO CALIBRO 9

Special Features:

  • Brand New 2k restoration from the original camera negative
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original Italian and English soundtracks in mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
  • Newly-translated subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • ‘Calibro 9’ 2004 making-of documentary with interviews with director Fernando Di Leo, stars Barbara Bouchet, Philippe Leroy, composer Luis Enriquez Bacalov and others
  • ‘Fernando Di Leo: The Genesis of the Genre’ documentary charting the filmmaking career of the director
  • ‘Scerbanenco Noir’: a look at the work of Italian crime writer Giorgio Scerbanenco, author of the original ‘Milano Calibro 9’ novel
  • Gastone Moschin audio interview
  • ‘Italia Violenta’: Matthew Holness, writer and star of cult television series ‘Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace’ offers an appreciation of ‘Milano Calibro 9’ and the Italian poliziottesco sub-genre
  • US and Italian trailers (which feature alternate takes and unused footage)
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist
  • Fully-illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring ‘Film Noir, Italian-Style’ by Roberto Curti (author of ‘Italian Crime Filmography, 1968-80’).

The Blu-ray/DVD edition of ‘Milano Calibro 9’ is available now, in Region B/2 format, rated certificate 18

CLICK HERE TO ORDER FROM AMAZON UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Milano-Calibro-Dual-Format-Blu-ray/dp/B00IJF6XZO/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1440158142&sr=1-1&keywords=milano+calibro+9

 

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A LOT OF BOND FOR YOUR BOOK

It has been said that whenever you see a Bond film, you certainly get a lot of bang for your bucks, a state of affairs that hasn’t changed since the franchise began in 1962. As special effects have evolved and improved, what can be staged in terms of action has become ever more elaborate and at the same time more convincing, with the inconceivable conceivable and the only limitations being the writers’ imaginations. As the record-breaking box office returns for ‘Skyfall’ prove – it has recently become the most successful film in UK cinema history, outgrossing ‘Avatar’ over a much shorter period – you also get a lot of bucks for your bangs.

The fact that it’s the 50th anniversary of the 007 film series, with all its associated exhibitions, marketing spin-off and advertising hasn’t hurt to keep James Bond firmly in the public eye since he leaped out of a helicopter with the Queen back in July. Among the books that have been published are Taschen’s mammoth ‘The James Bond Archives’, ‘Bond On Set: Filming Skyfall’ by Greg Williams, ‘James Bond 50 Years of Movie Posters’ (both from Dorling Kindersley, or DK Books) and Roger Moore’s own recollections of the series, ‘Bond on Bond’.

Cinema Retro’s ‘Movie Classics Special Edition’ No.4 is devoted exclusively to the first 007 film, ‘Dr No’. CR founders and editors Lee Pfeiffer and Dave Worrall have assembled an amazing array of film stills, memorabilia, interviews and posters to illustrate the making of this epoch-making film. All their regular writers and some special guests have contributed to this issue, which has been a labour of love by the editors. As well as articles by Pfeiffer and Worrall, the 148-page issue is packed with pieces on all aspects of the ‘Dr No’ story, as well as much background information. Matthew Field has conducted world exclusive interviews with Ursula Andress and writer Johanna Harwood. Sir Christopher Frayling interviews set designer Sir Ken Adam, Lee Pfeiffer and Mark Cerulli interview designer Joseph Caroff (the man who designed the 007 gun logo) and Steve Oxenrider interviews Marguerite Le Wars (who played the sexy Jamaican photographer, called Annabel Chung in Fleming’s novel). Lee Pfeiffer interviews legendary artist Mitchell Hooks, who created the artwork for the film poster, Adrian Smith interviews Bettine le Beau (Professor Dent’s secretary) and Steve Oxenrider interviews the Jamaican cast members and entertainers seen in the film. Ajay Chowdhury and Matthew Field provide an exclusive interview with Monty Norman, composer of the James Bond Theme. Martijn Mulder looks at Jamaican locations then and now, Gary Giblin looks at the film’s production history and Oscar-winning sound technician Norman Wanstall recalls creating the innovative sound effects for the film. There’s also a foreword by David V. Picker, the man who sealed the deal to bring James Bond to the silver screen at United Artists. I have also contributed an article to this special edition, looking at the (many) changes between Ian Fleming’s novel and the film version.

There are more details about the issues, layout previews and how to order here
http://www.cinemaretro.com/index.php?/archives/6888-NOW-SHIPPING-WORLDWIDE-CINEMA-RETROS-MOVIE-CLASSICS-PRESENTS-DR.-NO-SPECIAL-EDITION-ISSUE!.html

By far the heftiest Bond publication of the year is Taschen’s ‘The James Bond Archives’, a massive 600-page fully-illustrated volume that comes in a cardboard ‘suitcase’ with its own handle and a celluloid filmstrip from a print of ‘Dr No’. This wallet-busting, coffee table rupturing tome tells the definitive story of the James Bond films, via access to the actual EON archives, with an attention to detail hitherto unprecedented. It was edited by Paul Duncan and written by a team of writers, including Paul Duncan, Jamie Russell, Danny Graydon, Colin Odell & Michelle Le Blanc, Ellen Cheshire and myself. All the contributors are writers in their own right – for example, Jamie is the author of the definitive history of zombie cinema, ‘The Book of the Dead’ and this year published a great little book ‘Generation XBox: How Video Games Invaded Hollywood’, which charts the sometimes uneasy, always innovative relationship between the gaming and movie industries (http://jamierussell.co.uk/). Colin Odell and Michelle Le Blanc have written several books, including the excellent ‘Pocket Essential Guide to Vampire Films’, and Ellen Cheshire has also written several PEs, my favourite of which discusses Audrey Hepburn. Film journalist Danny Graydon, co-author of ‘The Rough Guide to Film Noir’, among other titles, offers an interesting account of working on the book on his blog http://www.dannygraydon.com/

It’s true that it was something of a dream assignment. Paul contacted my in April and I worked on the project through until July. The first chapter I researched and wrote was ‘Live and Let Die’. I had access to draft scripts, the original shooting script, production documentation and letters, and pages of uncut interviews with all those involved in the film, both onscreen and behind the scenes. Most importantly I had the call sheets and progress reports for every day of the film’s production, both on location and in the studio, which tells the story of the film in the minutest detail, with precise dates and those who were involved. This enabled me to fashion an ‘oral history’ of the making of the film, with short shrift given to myth, apocrypha and hearsay. It was a deluge of information that was then edited into a coherent narrative by me and Paul. I went on to write three more chapters for the book: ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’, ‘A View to a Kill’ (so I covered Moore’s first and last appearances as the secret agent) and ‘The World is Not Enough’, which is fortunately my favourite of the Pierce Brosnan-era Bonds. The book has already received many great reviews from all quarters, including Esquire magazine, and seems to have been positively received by Bond fans in this year of celebration. There’s an in-depth interview with Paul Duncan at Mi6 Confidential, where he discusses the project, its genesis and execution, at length
http://www.mi6-hq.com/sections/articles/interview_paul_duncan.php3

And I think this review also sums up the book well
http://theincrediblesuit.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/taschen-james-bond-archives-review.html

‘The James Bond Archives’ is available directly from Taschen, where you can see 14 sample spreads, including one from my ‘Live and Let Die’ chapter
http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/film/all/00399/facts.the_james_bond_archives.htm

Or on Amazon
http://www.amazon.co.uk/James-Bond-Archives-Paul-Duncan/dp/3836521059/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355063101&sr=1-1-spell

http://www.amazon.com/James-Bond-Archives-Paul-Duncan/dp/3836521059/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355063181&sr=1-1&keywords=james+bond+archives

ROVERS, ESCORTS AND ISPETTORE CLIFF

New out this month in the UK on DVD ‘Region 0’ is Massimo Dallamano’s 1973 cop thriller ‘Super Bitch’, starring Ivan Rassimov and Stephanie Beacham. ‘Super Bitch’ was the title given to the film for UK videotape release in 1987 in the wake of Beacham’s success as catty Sable Colby on TV in ‘The Colbys’ and later ‘Dynasty’. The original Italian title was ‘Si può essere più bastardi dell’ispettore Cliff?’ (‘Could Anyone Be Possibly more of a Bastard than Inspector Cliff?’) and the film was also known as ‘Blue Movie Blackmail’ for its UK X-rated release in 1973. Beacham features prominently in the newly-commissioned DVD cover artwork by Graham Humphreys, with the original Italian poster artwork (foregrounding Rassimov) on the reverse.

In ‘Super Bitch’, Rassimov plays Cliff Hoyst, a US agent for the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, who infiltrates a London escort agency being used as a front for drug smuggling. Visually he looks like Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry Callahan and Cliff is similarly expert in the use of firearms and playing dirty. Don Siegel’s ‘Dirty Harry’ (1971) was one of the key influences on Italian ‘poliziotteschi’ cop films, when it was released in Italy as ‘Ispettore Callaghan: il caso Scorpio è tuo’ (‘Inspector Callaghan: the Scorpio Case is yours’). Beacham plays Joann, one of the escorts who becomes involved with Cliff, and much of the film’s continued cult popularity is due to her occasional nude scenes.

Dallamano’s was a consummate cinematographer who later became a director. He worked on some of the earliest spaghetti westerns, including ‘Gunfight at Red Sands’, ‘Buffalo Bill, Hero of the Far West’ and ‘Pistols Don’t Argue’, and Sergio Leone’s ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ and ‘For a Few Dollars More’, sometimes under the pseudonym ‘Jack Dalmas’. His directorial debut (billed as ‘Max Dillman’), the revenge western ‘Bandidos’ (1967), is rightly celebrated for its impressive cinematography. He made two great gialli – ‘What Have You Done to Solange?’ (his masterpiece, which was set in London) and ‘What Have they Done to Your Daughters?’ – and the erotic, strange ‘Venus in Furs’ (1969), with Laura Antonelli. He also directed an ‘Exorcist’/’Death in Venice’ derivative, ‘The Night Child’ (1974), which has also been released by Arrow Films.

In ‘Super Bitch’, Inspector Cliff initially appears to be an assassin – during a well-shot episode at the ruins of the Roman temples to Jupiter, Mercury and Venus at Baalbek, in the Beqaa Valley of Lebanon. The plot shifts from Beirut, to Paris and New York, but is mostly set in London (though interiors were lensed at SAFA Palatino in Rome). The film depicts the seedy underbelly of London life, with blue movies and blackmail laced with drug smuggling, threats, thefts and murder. As with so many 1970s Italian cop movies, the film’s biggest crimes are against fashion – with colourful costumery and décor on display – though whatever she wears, Beacham looks beautiful. The score is catchy, with Riz Ortolani’s strutting brass at its funkiest on the theme music. The film was largely shot in and around London, with touristy scenes filmed in Kensington and Chelsea, the Café Royale, Cumberland Gate, Trafalgar Square, Charring Cross Station, the Zella 9 gallery, Newbury Park station, outside a theatre in the Haymarket, Camera Place and Hyde Park (look out for Speaker’s Corner), while the International Escort Agency is quartered at 47A Belgrave Square, in the heart of Belgravia, SW1 – just up the road from what is now the Italian Cultural Institute.

‘Super Bitch’ was photographed by Jack Hildeyard, who also shot ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’. The London locales ensure that this cop thriller includes the distinctive dark blue Rover police cars, which were synonymous with 1970s British crime films and the popular TV series ‘The Sweeney’. As ‘Super Bitch’ is an Italian-UK co-production, the film offers an oddly exotic, slightly surreal view of London. There’s an appearance by that Italian B-movie staple J&B Whisky and also a less-usual cameo by bottles of Heineken. The Anglo-Italo origins are reinforced by an eclectic cast. Ettore Manni played Morrel, the head of the escort agency, Luciano Catenacci was vicious New York gangster Louis Gamble, and Cec Linder was blackmail victim Paul Lansin, who is snapped eating carrots whilst wearing furry rabbit ears. The supporting cast includes Gareth Thomas, Michael Sheard, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Verna Harvey and toothsome Tutte Lemkow. The latter plays Banco, a guitar-strumming gangster who is one of the sons of the film’s most memorable character – crazy matriarch Mamma the Turk, played with cackling abandon by well-known British actress Patricia Hayes. About nine minutes into the movie, when Mamma the Turk takes off across the Lebanese desert in a convertible (with Mario Novelli in hot pursuit in a Citroen) and a car chase ensues, you know you’re in for an eye-opening ride.

Arrow Film’s DVD release is an excellent, colourful transfer in 1.85:1 ratio, running 94 minutes. The sound is good and available audio tracks are the English dub or the Italian language dub, with translated English subtitles. Though the English dubbing is well done – with Beacham dubbing herself and Rassimov voiced by the same unknown voice actor who dubbed Terence Hill in ‘My Name is Nobody’ and Sam J. Jones in Dino De Laurentiis’ redo of ‘Flash Gordon’ – the film plays even better in Italian, with several plot points more clearly delineated. DVD extras include ‘Bullets, Babes and Blood’ (a short documentary on Italian crime movies) and a collector’s booklet written by author and critic Calum Waddell on the Italo crime movie explosion.

You can order the DVD from Amazon UK
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Super-Bitch-DVD-Massimo-Dallamano/dp/B008RLY97E/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1352151983&sr=1-1

Or Sendit
http://www.sendit.com/dvd/super-bitch/10630275.html

Or direct from Arrow Films
http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk/index.php?tle_id=683

There’s more about Dallamano, his gialli and the key Italian crime films in my book ‘Cinema Italiano: The Complete Guide from Classics to Cult’, published by I.B. Tauris
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cinema-Italiano-Complete-Guide-Classics/dp/1848856083/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1352152388&sr=1-1

LET THE SKY FALL, WHEN IT CRUMBLES

Today is designated ‘Global James Bond Day’ and sees a host of events worldwide to celebrate to 50th birthday of 007, the screen’s most famous, enduring and alluring secret agent. It coincides with the release of the first official James Bond film, ‘Dr No’, in 1962.

Adele’s much anticipated title song, written by Adele and producer Paul Epworth, has been released and can be heard here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HQoqNJtMTQ

It’s a fitting James Bond theme (in the Shirley Bassey tradition) and features a monumental orchestration (which includes references to Monty Norman’s ‘James Bond Theme’) and a smoky-then-powerful vocal from the most popular singer in the world at the moment. It’s Adele’s first new release in over a year and is guaranteed to be a number one hit.   

In the UK Sky launch a devoted James Bond Channel, ‘Sky 007’ (actually their Sky Showcase channel under an alias). For the next four and half weeks the channel will show the Bond back catalogue, along with documentaries, including ‘Bond Girls are Forever’ and behind the scenes Previews from ‘Skyfall’. In the UK, ITV have always had the broadcasting rights to the James Bond films, so Sky must have bought them. Highlights today include ‘Dr No’, ‘Casino Royale’, ‘Thunderball’, ‘Goldfinger’, ‘Live and Let Die’ and ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, but all the official films will get an airing over the coming month.

There’s also an auction at Christies, online from September 28 to October 8:
http://www.christies.com/sales/50-years-of-james-bond-september-2012/sale-info.aspx

There are 40 Lots and 11 of the most interesting are covered at this website:
http://www.businessinsider.com/james-bond-auction-at-christies-2012-10?op=1

Among the lots on offer, there’s a programme for the ‘Octopussy Circus’, suction pads from ‘You Only Live Twice’, the Aston Martin Coupe from ‘Quantum of Solace’, and Daniel Craig’s Tom Ford two-piece dinner suit worn in ‘Skyfall’.

One of the lots is a new book called ‘007: The James Bond Archives’ published by Taschen. It’s the official book of the 50th anniversary celebrations and I was one of the team of writers who worked on this earlier in the year. It will be published in the UK on October 26 (to coincide with the release of ‘Skyfall’) and on November 9 in the US. The 600-page full-colour volume is the result of two-and-half-year’s research by the book’s editor Paul Duncan and is the definitive story of the James Bond films, from ‘Dr No’ to the present day. It includes a closely-guarded chapter on ‘Skyfall’ and initial copies also feature a film cell from ‘Dr No’. With the complete cooperation of film production company EON (Everything or Nothing), the Bond guardians, and co-producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the archives have been opened and the book is a treasure trove of rare documents, stories, interviews, on-set photographs, and other Bonderania, which provide insights into how, where, when and why the films were made over the last half-century.

There’s a link with some page previews here:
http://www.hypemeanseverything.com/2012/10/03/the-james-bond-archives-by-taschen-book-early-christmas-gift/

There’s quite a bit of interesting info on the book here, including details of  limited special edition print runs (2x 250) with signatures from Ken Adam and Daniel Craig:

http://www.theestablishingshot.com/2012/10/taschen-release-ultimate-james-bond.html

You can pre-order the book from Amazon UK here:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/James-Bond-Archives-Paul-Duncan/dp/3836521059/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1349442549&sr=1-1-catcorr

And from Amazon US:
http://www.amazon.com/James-Bond-Archives-Paul-Duncan/dp/3836521059/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349443036&sr=1-1&keywords=007+the+james+bond+archives

VIOLENT CITY ON CD

Intermezzo Media Records have recently released the ‘colonna sonora originale’ (that the original soundtrack to you and me) from Sergio Sollima’s 1970 crime flick ‘Violent City’ (GDM4218).

The score is one of Ennio Morricone’s finest albums and this expanded edition, with 21 tracks, is limited to 500 units. Previously tracks from this film appeared on a very good RCA ‘Cinematre’ album that paired the soundtrack with another classic continental crime film, ‘The Sicilian Clan’ (1969). This original release only included seven tracks from ‘Violent City’: Citta violenta (titoli), Rito finale, Momento estremo, Con estremo dolcezza, Norme con ironie, Sospensione sovrapposta and Riassunto. All these are included in this new release (as tracks 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 17, 21), but there are 14 new tracks too, taking the total running time to over 60 minutes of the Maestro’s music. The orchestrations are excellent, from the pulsating, scything theme tune (and its many reworkings) to the oppressive moods of the incidental cues, from groovy nightclub psychedelics to delicate love themes. The CD is accompanied by a collector’s booklet featuring liner notes, a selection of great colour stills from the movie and original CD and poster artwork.

Click here to order ‘Violent City’ (billed as ‘City of Violence’) from Italian film soundtrack specialist Hillside CD Productions:
http://www.hillsidecd.co.uk/contents/en-uk/p1746_CITY_OF_VIOLENCE.html 

After Sollima’s spaghetti westerns with Tomas Milian – ‘The Big Gundown’, ‘Face to Face’ and ‘Run Man Run’ – ‘Violent City’ is the director’s most famous work. Also known in the wake of ‘The Godfather’ as ‘The Family’, it’s a tale of betrayal and revenge. Professional hitman Jeff Heston (Bronson) finds himself duped into knocking off key members of crime syndicate The Organisation by crooked attorney Steve (Umberto Orsini) and Jeff’s one-time girlfriend Vanessa Sheldon (Bronson’s wife, Jill Ireland). Violent City sees Bronson at the peak of his Euro-stardom. It was conceived with the working title Final Shot and was to have starred Tony Musante and Florinda Bolkan in the leads. Sollima shot the movie’s interiors at Cinecittà and exteriors in the US Virgin Islands, in New Orleans and at the Michigan International Speedway track at Irish Hills, for a memorable scene when Jeff makes one of his assassinations appear to be a tyre blow-out.
The film opens with a great car chase, staged by stunt driver Remy Julienne, from The Italian Job (1969) and the James Bond films.

The first version of this film I saw (on video) was considerably cut – as was all Sollima’s work for international release – to 92 minutes. The full uncut version of the film at 109 minutes is now available in various editions:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Brotherhood-Justice-Violent-City-Action/dp/B0006683KM/ref=sr_1_3?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1349105768&sr=1-3

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Violent-City-DVD-Region-NTSC/dp/B00114UURC/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1349105768&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Violent-City-Charles-Bronson/dp/B00114UURC/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1349105906&sr=1-1&keywords=violent+city+bronson

‘Violent City’ and Sollima’s other great crime thriller ‘Revolver’ (starring Oliver Reed and Fabio Testi) are discussed in detail in my book ‘Cinema Italiano: the Complete Guide from Classics to Cult’. This volume has received another positive review, this time from Scott Eyman of the Palm Beach Post, who hopes I write companion editions on French and German cinema:
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/entertainment/defining-italian-cinema/nRP26/