REVOLVER (1973) Reviews and overview

 

Revolver is a 1973 Italian-French-West German poliziottesco crime thriller film about the kidnapping of a prison warden’s wife. Also known as Blood in the Streets and In the Name of Love

Directed by Sergio Sollima (Run, Man Run; Face to Face; The Big Gundown) from a screenplay co-written with Arduino Maiuri and Massimo De Rita. Produced by Ugo Santalucia.

The co-production stars Oliver Reed, Fabio Testi, Paola Pitagora, Agostina Belli and Frédéric de Pasquale.

The soundtrack score was composed by Ennio Morricone. The main theme, ‘Un Amico’, was later re-used by movie magpie Quentin Tarantino in his remake of Inglourious Basterds (2009).

Plot:

An Italian prison official’s wife is kidnapped, and the kidnappers demand that a notorious prisoner be released in order for the man to get his wife back.

He gets the man released – but then kidnaps him himself, in order to ensure that the man’s colleagues don’t kill his wife. Enraged, the gang sets out to free their compatriot and kill the man who took him…

Reviews:

“Poliziotteschi are marked by a bleakness of tone and a burning cynicism of governments and authorities. The difference in Revolver is the extent of the pessimism, a deep suspicion and mistrust which crosses borders and forces good men to do bad deeds in order to return to the equilibrium of their lives.” The Celluloid Highway

Revolver is an original plot idea and lots of sweaty tension; the action is sparse, but the plotting and two muscular central performances make this a minor classic.” Film Authority

“Although there are a number of expertly executed action scenes – especially noteworthy is the shoot-out at the Parisian crossroads – Solima looks more interested in the psychological development of the two main characters. Therefore, their evolution is told through a dialectic scheme which recalls that of the director’s best westerns, namely The Big Gundown (1966) and Face to Face (1967).” Roberto Curti, Italian Crime Filmography, 1968 – 1980, McFarlane, 2013

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“Questions about the relative worth of human lives, what we owe society and one another as human beings and just what happens when the “right” thing to do and the thing we want to do are completely at odds, all intertwine and culminate in a shocking climax that won’t have you forgetting this movie for quite a while.” MonsterHunter

” …plenty of twists along the way keep the film moving at a brisk pace and the audience completely engaged in what’s happening on screen. Production values are also pretty strong here. The cinematography from Aldo Scavarda is slick, giving the film a nice, polished look while the score from the amazing Ennio Morricone ranks up there with the best of the maestro’s work…” Rock! Shock! Pop!

“The violence, mainly restrained to brutal punch-ups, seems sudden and messy, far removed from carefully orchestrated fisticuffs common in macho genre film-making. This is what sets Revolver apart from other crime movies from the same era…” The Spinning Image

” …the film is pretty violent and there’s a fair amount of skin on display. Reed gives a strong performance too, and he gets a couple of opportunities to chew the scenery […] Too bad he and Testi never have any genuine chemistry together. We do get a great Ennio Morricone score though.” The Video Vacuum

Cast and characters:

Oliver Reed … Vito Cipriani
Fabio Testi … Milo Ruiz
Paola Pitagora … Carlotta
Agostina Belli … Anna Cipriani
Frédéric de Pasquale … Michel Granier
Marc Mazza … Police Inspector
Reinhard Kolldehoff … French Lawyer (as René Kolldehoff)
Bernard Giraudeau … Kidnapper
Peter Berling … Grappa
Alexander Stephan … Jean Daniel (as Gunnar Warner)
Daniel Beretta … Al Niko
Calisto Calisti … Maresciallo Fantuzzi
Steffen Zacharias … Joe Lacours (as Steffen Zaccarias)
Michel Bardinet
Sal Borgese … Suicidal Prisoner (as Sal Borghese)
Giovanni Pallavicino … Kidnapper
Giacomo De Michelis
Amato Garbini
Carla Mancini
Orazio Stracuzzi
Marco Mariani … Carlo DeGregori
Jean Degrave … Harmakolas (as Jean de Grave)
Franco Moraldi … French Police Chief
Ottavio Fanfani … Shopkeeper
Gianni Bortolotto … Doctor
Ilona Staller … Young Woman in Threesome (uncredited)

Theatrical release:

Revolver was released in Italy on September 27, 1973, where it was distributed theatrically by Panta and grossed 477,374,000 Italian lire.

The US theatrical release by Independent-International as Blood in the Streets pitched the movie as a Death Wish-type vigilante pic.

Fun facts:

Fabio Testi claims that he did nearly all the stunts in the movie himself, including a difficult roof jumping stunt in Milan.

Director Sergio Sollima said in an interview that Oliver Reed was good to work with until 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon because by then his drinking would make him difficult to work with. Co-star Fabio Testi has recalled that it was both exciting and difficult to work with Reed due to his alcoholic tendencies and he would become uncontrollable on the set on many occasions. Oliver Reed also often challenged Fabio Testi to drinking games on set.

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Trailer: