Monday, October 1, 2018

KIDNAPPING ...A DAY OF VIOLENCE - BLU-RAY REVIEW

Early English export ad-line, from Foreign Sales Italian Movie Trade (January 1977): “Another hallucinating page in the black annuals [sic] of crime.”

One sociopathic scumbag, to another: “I don’t give a shit about cops!”            

Exaggeratedly touted by Subkultur Entertainment as “A tour de force of horror”, Luigi Petrini’s KIDNAPPING …A DAY OF VIOLENCE (1977) was one of many ‘teenage crime wave’ scenarios, which proliferated at the peak of Italocrime’s popularity, of which Romolo Guerrieri’s YOUNG, VIOLENT, DANGEROUS (1976) is probably the best-known example. More commonly known as simply DAY OF VIOLENCE, Subkultur’s Blu-ray / DVD combo is yet another highly attractive release of this genre obscurity. 

After getting thrown out of an upper-class house party, which underlines the mandatory generational gaps (“These young folks don’t have any taboos anymore!”), two-bit punk Paolo Soprani (Mario Cutini, who at times bears some resemblance to Helmut Berger) meets up with Jo Arbelli (Marco Marati), who is demoralised because he was unable to make love to his girlfriend Anna (Maria Pia Conte). After forcing their way into Anna’s house, they rape her and, to make matters worse, in the ensuing scuffle, they murder her next door neighbor on top of it. On the run, they attempt numerous petty crimes to try and earn some fast cash (“With money, you can fuck the whole world in the ass!”), but after some dubious inspiration, they decide to hold-up an upscale restaurant and take the clientele hostage. Negotiating with Insp. Aldovrandi (director Mario Bianchi in one of his few acting roles), they demand $1 million in gold ingots and safe passage in exchange for the hostages, but as tensions mount, Aldovrandi also has to wade through plenty of bureaucratic red tape. 

Originally (circa 1976) announced as STORIA D’AMORE IN GIALLO (trans: “Thrilling Love Story”), but eventually retitled OPERAZIONE KAPPA: SPARATE A VISTA!! (trans: “Operation K: Shoot On Sight!”), this film was initially hoped to star George Hilton, Cutini, popular softcore starlet Gloria Guida and ex-peplum star Roger Browne, a more upscale cast which may have given the film a bit more prestige. Cutini was the sole actor to wind up in the finished film, however. (Lucky him!)

Italian 2F manifesto courtesy of Steve Fenton.
While basically a subgenre of the poliziesco, most of these Italo-JD pictures came in the wake of the infamous Circeo Massacre in September of 1975, wherein three young men brutally raped and tortured two teenage girls outside of Rome. Films such as Sergio Grieco’s and Massimo Felisatti’s VIOLENCE FOR KICKS (a.k.a. TERROR IN ROME, 1976) and Mario Imperoli’s COME CANI ARRABBIATI (1976) began to focus predominantly on disillusioned, violent youth, a subject which integrated well with the established Italocrime genre. In the case of DAY OF VIOLENCE, Petrini’s crude messaging (“I fear the future!” exclaims one hostage) is peppered throughout the film, which even includes a title song with some typically strained lyrics (“We loathe war in the city” / “We want a peaceful city”), but like most discount exploitation films, it also wallows in the excessive violence and sleaze it so passionately condemns. Following the example of these earlier films, originality was never one of Petrini’s strongpoints, and in a brazen – or just plain desperate? – attempt to add at least some substance to his meagre scenario, the film also structurally replicates Sidney Lumet’s DOG DAY AFTERNOON (1975), but without any of the emotional conviction a situation such as that depicted in the film requires and, if anything, it continues to highlight the misanthropic/chauvinistic excesses of the leads. 

Petrini’s film is a generally downbeat, grubby affair, but as with their earlier Italo-crime Blu-ray of Marcello Andrei’s SEASON FOR ASSASSINS (1975), Subkultur’s Region B Blu-ray really looks terrific. The remastered image is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is very clean, and apart from a softish opening credit sequence, the rest of the transfer is razor-sharp, with stable colours that really pop off the screen amidst the dreary urban setting. As a side-note, Subkultur have also included a “Grindhouse-Version”, which is essentially an unrestored version of the film. The DTS-HD 1.0 Mono audio is provided in both German and Italian with optional German and English subtitles with the German audio sounding a little canned, but being an Italian crime film, most English-speaking viewers will undoubtedly choose the latter.

Italian soggettone courtesy of Steve Fenton.
The most significant extra is an on-camera interview (7m42s) with film composer Fabio Frizzi, who was one of three composers (the others being Carlo Bixio and Vince Tempera) that made up the collective calling themselves Bixio-Frizzi-Tempera. Speaking in English, Frizzi talks about the Circeo Massacre; the (quote) “not-so-exceptional” cast and how Marco Marati got his role through his connections to the Bixio family; he also discusses the failed attempt of creating Magnetic Systems, a rock band very much in the vein of Goblin, but Frizzi doesn’t have a whole lot to say about the film itself, unfortunately. Other extras include a couple of trailers for DOV, alternate opening and closing credits, and a 10-page booklet with an essay from Thorsten Hanisch, which is in German only. Although Limited to 500 copies, Subkultur have decided to offer two distinct cover choices, which are still available via Amazon Germany here and here and it's also available from DiabolikDVD.

Thanks to Steve Fenton for additional comments and research.

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