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Friday, 18 January 2008

Ricco (1973) Tulio Demicheli

This Midnite Movie Mamacita screening was advertised as Mean Machine and shown as The Dirty Mob, but on looking it up at IMDb I see it's really called Ricco with a video release as The Cauldron of Death. It seems to be known as Gangland too, along with a whole slew of foreign titles which are appropriate given that this is really an Italian/Spanish coproduction, even though it stars Robert Mitchum's prettier but far less talented son Christopher who was pretty good in Big Jake but doesn't impress here.

He's the son of a mob boss who gets killed at the beginning of the movie. Ricco gets sent to prison for a couple of years but is now out and looking for revenge. What makes this somewhat unique is that none of the usual cliches are there but it's still not a good movie. Usually the revenge artist is either angry or blisteringly calm, but Christopher Mitchum is just there. He strolls into the film with a laugh and that cheeky grin, then works his way through the plot like he's on autopilot and we never get a single impression that he really cares about what he's doing, even when the rest of his family get shot.

Arthur Kennedy isn't bad as the bad guy, even though he's called Don Vito. Really beyond the story though, which like Mitchum is just there, it's about the girls. Sure, they're not really important in the grand scheme of things and are there as little more than eye candy, but the way it's done seems to merit attention. Barbara Bouchet is bubbly and sassy and girly and powerful all at once, and the first time we meet her she's working a forged currency scam on the streets in an awesome dress. She also gets a bizarre scene that can only be compared to the sort of thing Tawny Kitaen used to get up to in Whitesnake videos.

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