Rulers of the City (1976)

“Rulers of the City” is enjoyable for fans of the Italian crime flick, with a fast moving story and a sense of humour to let you know that it’s never taking itself too seriously. The actors are all good and the film is effectively violent without ever getting very bloody. True enough that it may not be all that believable, but it *is* entertaining, if not memorable in the end. Director Fernando Di Leo was prolific in this genre and the viewer may want to check out his other works; they’re available in DVD and Blu-ray box sets from Raro Video.

The amiable Harry Baer stars as Tony, a young debt collector who’s tired of his go-nowhere job. So he hatches a scheme with aging mobster Napoli (Vittorio Caprioli) and his new friend Rick (Al Cliver of “Zombi 2”) to con big time hood Manzari (Jack Palance) out of several million. Naturally, things don’t work out the way that they want and they end up having to make a stand against Manzari and his goons.

It’s enjoyable to see this international, familiar cast at work. Palance is convincing as the bad guy, the engaging Caprioli supplies a good deal of the comedy relief, Edmund Purdom (the dean in “Pieces”) has a welcome presence as mafioso Luigi Cherico, the lovely Gisela Hahn provides the eye candy (and also sings some tunes), and Enzo Pulcrano is amusing as volatile jerk Peppi, who’s out to get Tony. Co-scriptwriter Peter Berling also plays the role of Valentino in the film.

All in all, this is pleasant to watch, with a reasonably rousing action climax and an eclectic score by Luis Bacalov.