Fernado Di Leo, Il BossWritten by Joe D on January 10th, 2008
Maestro Fernado Di Leo between the two babes from Avere Vent’anni
I just watched an Italian language version of Fernando Di Leo’s great poliziotto Il Boss (Wipeout USA). A very cool film, I had the good fortune to see it on a double bill with Montaldo’s MachineGun McCain at Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse Film Festival. The Italian version is a bit different, for one thing a lot of subtlety is lost in translation, at least it seemed that way to me, the Italian language version created an overall impression of more political corruption and intrigue. It seemed more real in a way. commissario Torri (Gianni Garko) is in bed with local Mafiosi,
Gianni Garko, commissario Torri, Order in the Mob!
informing them of police action, he has a house and bank accounts given to him by the Mob but he justifies his activities by saying he’s all about “Order”, and only the Big Bosses can maintain order among the Underworld. Is this a rationalization? does he really believe he’s helping Society with his proto Fascist philosophy? The film doesn’t give any definite answers but it’s the questions I find fascinating. Lanzetta (Henry Silva in one of his most iconic performances) is a ruthless, cold blooded killer.
Henry Silva, looking like an Incan head carved from Stone
A monster raised by a Mafia don, almost like Frankenstien, except this monster succeeds in destroying his creator. The dialog between Lanzetta and Rina Daniello (Antonia Santilli) has more dimension in the Italian version.
Have a shot of the Italian Gangster’s Favorite, J&B!
She keeps calling him “Larry” which pisses off Lanzetta to no end. Their conversations seem almost improvised, very natural. The sequence where they shack up in Lanzetta’s apartment is one of the strangest in all Crime Cinema! A full blown Mob War is raging in Palermo and right at the height of it, the guy who started it all is locked away screwing his brains out with the daughter of his ex-boss! He even complains to her that he’s spending too much time in bed with her. It’s like it’s the first time this monster has had sex. Another point that struck me more forcefully in this version is this: the film opens with one of the greatest hits in all Mafia Films, Lanzetta fires a grenade launcher from the projection booth into a theater full of Mafia dons about to watch a Swedish porno film. It’s as if the projector literally becomes a Death Ray! The Power Of Cinema!
Coldest Killer in Cinema!
First To Rat!
This is Attardi (Gianni Musi), later when the gang has kidnapped the daughter of the Don responsible for killing half their family, Attardi wants to kill her with his bare hands, he has to be restrained by his brothers. But Attardi is the guy who rats out the family! He tells Lanzetta where they’re holding the girl! This strikes me as so true, the over dramatic guy, screaming for revenge is the one who rats out his family! Di Leo’s crazy characters really ring true! I also noticed a funny thing, when Lanzetta is in the projection booth preparing to send the audience to Hell, the projector is running but there is no film in it! The reels are empty! Check it out.
The Boss Never Sleeps
Cocchi, Casale’s Cousin From Palermo
And here’s another strange thing, at the end of the film in the Ameriacan version it ends with Lanzetta walking off down a road, in the Italian version it cuts to the lawyers office where he gets a phone call and a title appears, Coninua, to be continued. What ever happened to Part Two? I guess it never got made, too bad, I’d love for this film to keep on going!
I had dinner with the lovely, eternally young Barbara Bouchet during the Grindhouse festival. I asked her about working with Di Leo, she said she loved it, that when they made a film it was like one big happy family, a joy to be involved with. I was happy to hear that. As I watched Wipeout at the New Beverly Cinema Quentin was sitting next to me, he leaned over and told me that Di Leo is one of his, maybe his favorite director of all time. He also said he heard an interview where Di Leo was asked ” Are there any directors working today that you admire, or that remind you of your own filmmaking?” Di Leo replied, ” Yes, Quentin Tarantino!” It made Mr. Tarantino very happy.