The Boss (1973)

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*. This is the third part of Fernando Di Leo’s Milieu Trilogy but has nothing to do with the first two films (Caliber 9 and The Italian Connection). It’s not even set in Milan but Palermo, which is quite a cultural leap.
*. Seeing as this is the final part of a trilogy you may be surprised that it ends with a title saying Continua (“to be continued”). Apparently this didn’t mean anything, as there was no sequel.
*. They could have called it The Godfather, which is all The Boss means in this context. This might tell you something about how marginal a genre the mafia film was at the time of Coppola’s movie.
*. I think it’s the worst of the three films, mainly because it doesn’t hold together as well. Lanzetta (Henry Silva) spends a lot of time sitting in his tacky apartment (a poorly decorated, oversize set), answering the phone and balling the nymphomaniac drug addict girl he inherits from his previous boss.
*. Speaking of which, Rina (played by Antonia Santilli) is a ridiculous part, seemingly included just for exploitation value. Di Leo apparently conceived of her as being a modern woman, a free spirit. She may be, but she’s out of place here and the movie spends too much time with her given that she has no essential role to play.

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*. “I’m going soft for a nymphomaniac drug addict! While out there is the wrath of God!” Hm. That does sounds like a problem. Can’t help you with that one.
*. The action scenes are all quite bad. The grenade launcher used by Lanzetta to take out the porn theatre at the beginning is laughable, as is the white car that splits in half and then turns into a fireball when he drives through it.
*. Damn, even the morgues are stylish in Italy. Does it make sense that they’d be so gleaming and white? Probably not, but they do look good.
*. There’s a nice rock score, but I don’t think it goes with the action that well. Essentially this is a movie about a chess game, full of political maneuvering.
*. The one thing I found interesting in it is the theme of the revenge of the flunkies, the nobodies, the paesani. All these second bananas deciding that now is the time to move up the ladder. It’s a revolution!
*. Cocchi self-identifies as a revolutionary, what with his rhetoric of being the hungry wolf about to feast on the spoiled graduate of Romance linguistics. I love how his henchman doesn’t have a clue what this “bullshit” means, but that doesn’t undercut Cocchi’s point, at least entirely.
*. In some ways it’s one of the most nihilistic gangster movies ever made. Even in the home of the mafia, “family” (be it biological or professional) means nothing. Loyalty means nothing. Ethical codes mean nothing. God isn’t interested in what’s happening — and the priests are as corrupt as the police anyway.
*. No, instead of all that there’s just a struggle red in tooth and claw to become the new boss — who will be the same as the old boss, we can be sure.

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