Caliber 9 (1972)

Milano Calibro 9/Milan Calibre 9(1972) contains a fast paced tightly edited prologue that is done with brilliance. The opening five minutes are both brutal and sadistic. Rocco played by Mario Adorf is introduced in the prologue as a psychotic mafia hood. The prologue is an example of setting up mood and story for the film.

Mario Adorf gives a performance that brings to mind Joe Pesce in Goodfellas(1990) and Casino(1995), Takeshi Kitano in Boiling Point(1990), and Lee Marvin in The Big Heat(1953). He is excellent as the mafia hood with a sadistic streak. Mario Adorf plays his character with unbelievable and vicious conviction. His performance is one of the best acting jobs from the film.

This movie along with La Mala Ordina/Hired to Kill(1973) and Il Boss/The Boss(1973) makes Fernando Di Leo the Italian eqivulent of Jean Pierre Melville. Fernando Di Leo is influenced by Melville in many aspects. Milan Calibre 9(1972) reminds me of Le Doulos(1961) with their use of anti heroes. One of many films that Jean Pierre Melville made an impression on.

Has a double plot twist which is utilized in cleaver and unpredictable fashion. I was surprised by the first plot revealing twist. I was convincing stunned by the second plot revealing twist which was much more unexpected. The double plot twist is one characteristic that makes the film special.

Fernando Di Leo stands out in the gangster craze of Italian cinema in the same way that Sergio Leone stood out as a master of Italian Westerns, Dario Argento as a master of Giallos, and Lucio Fulci as a master of Italian Zombie pics. He brings out a direction full of passion and spunk. The director films the violent scenes with panache and piazzazz. An underrated filmmaker in Italian cinema.

Soundtrack of Milan Calibre Nine is awesome and cool. Luis Enriquez Bacalov is excellent at performing music for Italian Crime and Western motion pictures. The Police are depicted in a cynical and unsympathetic light. The only Police officer who comes out in a sympathetic tone is Fonzino who’s only in the movie for a few minutes.

The major action sequence in Milan Calibre 9(1972) prefigures John Woo. What’s so twisted about the end of the motion picture is its Rocco whose the most trust worthy person in the entire story. Gastone Moschin gives a gripping performance as a man who cannot escape his tragic fate. Some wonderful performances are handed out by Barbara Bouchet, Philippe Leroy, and Lionel Stander.

The scene where Nelly Bordon played by Barbara Bouchet is doing an erotic dance is filmed with multiple camera angles. An sensual introduction to the character of Barbara Bouchet. The editing in this one scene is good and imaginative. Barbara Bouchet is definitely one of the beautiful women from the 1970s when one sees Milan Calibre 9(1972).

An example of the growing popularity of the gangster movie in Italy. Milan Calibre 9(1972) is in my opinion belongs among the top ten of Italian gangster pictures. The Godfather(1972) may have influenced the gangster film in Italy during the 1970s, but Milano Calibro 9(1972) takes on a life of its own. I’ve was very impressed by Milano Calibro 9(1972) that I’ve taken an interest in other films from this genre and decade in Italian cinema.

Provided many influences and inspirations for filmography of Quentin Tarantino. His portrayal of tough guys in his films takes a page out of Milan Calibre 9 as well as other mafia features by Fernando Di Leo. The sadistic violence and unpredictable plot twists can be seen in Resevoir Dogs(1992) and Pulp Fiction(1994). No one filmmaker has influenced Tarantino more frequently besides Jean Pierre Melville than Fernando Di Leo.