The Curator of Schlock #278 by Jeff Shuster

The Italian Connection

Henry Silva enters The Museum of Schlock.

Week 3 of Poliziotteschi Month and I’m feeling fine about the whole thing. We’re covering 1972’s The Italian Connection from director Fernando Di Leo.  This movie goes by other titles. One such title is Manhunt in the City. Another title is Manhunt in Milan. Yet another title is just plain Manhunt. Curious. Very curious indeed. Well, not really, but I need to meander a bit before getting on with the review.

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The Italian Connection starts out with the head of the New York mafia sending two of his best hitmen over to Italy to take care of some business and even work some overtime. They are Dave Catania (Henry Silva), a fun loving hitman interested in strip clubs and leisure suits, and Frank Webster (Woody Strode), a no nonsense hitman who isn’t interested in having any fun. This could have been a setup for a weekly 70s TV show. Think Starsky & Hutch, only with hit men instead of detectives.

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Dave and Frank have travelled all the way to Italy to have a conversation with Luca Canali (Mario Adorf), a local pimp who prefers the term whoremonger. It seems that Luca ripped off the New York mafia for a lot of dough. Basically, Dave and Frank mean to kill Luca. The local don, Vito Tressoldi (Adolfo Celi), sends a couple of his goons to pick Luca up. The three of them drive to an abandoned building, the two goons call Luca names, punch him, and then Luca punches back. He knocks the two goons out and runs away. When the don shows up with Dave and Frank, he is not too pleased that Luca escaped. The don shoots the goons dead just to show Dave and Frank he’s taking this seriously.

At this point, the movie shifts focus and becomes Luca’s story.

Huh.

I thought this was the Dave and Frank show.

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It seems that Luca has an ex-wife and young daughter he thinks the world of. I wonder why his ex-wife divorced him. Might have something to do with him being a pimp. Anyway, Luca figures the Don has it in for him, but he doesn’t understand why. He meets up with his ex, tells her she needs to get their daughter of school and spend a few days in the country. She reluctantly complies. She retrieves their daughter no problem. As the two of them cross the street to meet Luca, a catering truck runs them over and speeds away. Luca cries over their corpses.

What proceeds is quite possibly the greatest car chase scene I have ever seen. Granted, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen Ronin, but I suspect The Italian Connection beats it. During this car chase scene, Luca ends up on the catering guy’s windshield and bashes it with his head until it shatters and then he grabs the guy inside. Now that’s something special. The movie proceeds to its violent conclusion and, you know, I wasn’t bored.

Good pacing with this one.


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Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.