Saturday, June 20, 2015


With a running time of just over two hours, Mike Malloy’s 2012 documentary Eurocrime! is a mostly excellent and information-packed look at the violent Italian 'poliziotteschi' movies that were immensely popular in their home country and other foreign markets during the 1970's, but were pretty much ignored or scorned at the time in the US (though they started building a cult audience there on VHS in the 80's). Flourishing as an Italian genre after the popularity of the spaghetti westerns had started to die out, the poliziotteschi films were made up of such tough titles as The Italian Connection (1972), High Crime (1973) and Violent Naples (1976).
Eurocrime! traces the roots, rise and eventual fall of the poliziotteschi films, and interviews some of the biggest surviving players from the genre, including director Enzo G. Castellari and actors Franco Nero, John Saxon, Joe Dallesandro, Henry Silva, Fred Williamson and Antonio Sabata (the poliziotteschi films would often import a minor or once-major name from the US to increase their international marketability). Unfortunately there is virtually no female participation in the documentary - certainly the poliziotteschi films were very machismo and male-oriented, and the doco does have a section covering the misogyny inherent in the films, but it would have been nice to have had some input from some more of the female names who appeared in these movies (Nicoletta Machiavelli is the only female interviewee here).
The little moments of animation used do not really suit the style and tone of the subject, and the narration sometimes comes across like a bland high school classroom lecture, but anyone whole loves the poliziotteschi films should be able to overlook any of its little drawbacks and devour it from start to finish.