The Curator of Schlock #183 by Jeff Shuster
Meet Him and Die
How about I don’t meet him?
Who comes up with these titles? Seriously, when I think of meeting someone for the first time, my imminent death isn’t what springs to mind. Then again, I wasn’t living in Italy during the 1970s. Maybe a friendly get together at the local bowling alley would end up in a bloodbath every third Tuesday of the month. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. We’re continuing with Poliziotteschi Month here at the Museum of Schlock with 1976’s Meet Him and Die from director Franco Prosperi. Many characters will die in this film, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
We’re introduced to Massimo Torlani (Ray Lovelock) who wakes up one morning and decides to rob a bank. He’s got a gun and mask, the whole shebang. Unfortunately for him, the teller presses a button, sealing the bank behind steel shutters. It’s not long before the police show. Massimo attempts to take a hostage, but the cops wrestle him down. It’s off to the big house for Massimo and by big house I mean prison!
While in prison, he talks to his lawyer who, it turns out, is actually a police detective. Huh. It turns out Massimo is an undercover cop! He’s trying to infiltrate the drug rackets. And he’s not just doing this because he swore to uphold the law and protect the innocence. Massimo wants revenge.
Yes, revenge is a good thing.
Massimo was having a picnic with his mother when a couple of bank robbers shot her in the back. I think they were trying to get to him because he was in his police uniform. Maybe Massimo would have gotten a shot if his mother hadn’t been trying to get him to holster his weapon, to not get involved. Maybe if Massimo’s mama had let her son do his job, she wouldn’t have gotten two bullets in the back. I’m just telling it like it is.
Apparently, there’s some big drug kingpin in the prison by the name of Giulianelli. Martin Balsam plays him and it kept bugging me throughout the movie because I couldn’t figure out where I’d seen that actor before.
I kept thinking he had starred in one of those Giallo pictures by Argento or one of Fulci’s zombie flicks. Nope. I looked up his filmography online. Martin Balsam played Mr. Green in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.
Did I review that for this blog? I don’t remember.
He also played Detective Arbogast in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. You know, the detective who had the tumble down the stairs. Heh, heh, heh.
I have to say I learned some things about 1970s Italy from watching Meet Him and Die. First off, if you manage to escape from prison, you’re given a free pass by the justice system. You don’t have to worry about a manhunt. No cops will come after you. Also, if you’re an undercover police officer, you can do whatever a criminal would do, up to and including assaulting other police officers and killing rival drug traffickers for your organization, whatever helps you sink into that role.
Oh, and cars in 1970s Italy explode when flipped over.