Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released from Arrow and the films on them.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
DarkImbecile
Ask me about my visible cat breasts
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:24 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#1 Post by DarkImbecile » Fri Mar 26, 2021 2:17 pm

Image

The 1970s were a time of intense uncertainty and instability in Italy. Political corruption and widespread acts of left and right-wing terrorism, alongside a breakdown in social cohesion and a loss of trust in public institutions such as the government and police, created a febrile atmosphere of cynicism, paranoia and unexploded rage. Throughout this period, these sentiments found expression in a series of brutal, often morally ambiguous crime thrillers which tapped into the atmosphere of violence and instability that defined the so-called Years of Lead.

This box set gathers five films from the heyday of the “poliziotteschi” – the umbrella term used to describe this diverse body of films. In Vittorio Salerno’s Savage Three (1975) and Mario Imperoli’s Like Rabid Dogs (1976), random acts of violence committed by vicious young sociopaths threaten the fragile fabric of respectable society. In Massimo Dallamano’s Colt 38 Special Squad (1976) and Stelvio Massi’s Highway Racer (1977), renegade cops battling against red tape and political corruption turn to new and morally dubious methods to dispense justice. Finally, class dynamics are explored in Salerno’s No, the Case is Happily Resolved (1973) as an innocent man finds himself under suspicion for a savage crime committed by a highly respected member of society.

Decried by critics for their supposedly fascistic overtones, the poliziotteschi were in fact more ideologically varied and often considerably more nuanced than such superficial readings would suggest, and proved a huge hit with theatergoers, who responded to their articulation of present-day social concerns. Featuring an impressive line-up of Euro-cult stars, including Joe Dallesandro (The Climber), Ivan Rassimov (Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key), Maurizio Merli (Violent City) and Enrico Maria Salerno (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage), this collection of stylish, hard-hitting Euro-crime thrillers showcases the range and breadth of the genre and is a must-have for newcomers and grizzled veterans alike.

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
  • High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentations of all five films, restored from the original camera negatives, including a brand new 2K restoration of Colt 38 Special Squad exclusive to this release
  • Original lossless mono Italian audio on all five films
  • Original lossless mono English audio on Colt 38 Special Squad
  • English subtitles for the Italian soundtracks
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack on Colt 38 Special Squad
  • Poliziotteschi: Violence and Justice in the Years of Lead, a new visual essay by critic Will Webb exploring the recurring traits and themes of the genre
  • Rat Eat Rat, an interview with writer/director Vittorio Salerno and actress Martine Brochard on Savage Three
  • The Savage One, an interview with actor Joe Dallesandro on Savage Three
  • When a Murderer Dies, an interview with cinematographer Romano Albani and film historian Fabio Melelli on Like Rabid Dogs
  • It’s Not a Time for Tears, an interview with assistant director Claudio Bernabei on Like Rabid Dogs
  • Music sampler for Like Rabid Dogs
  • Always the Same Ol’ 7 Notes, an interview with composer Stelvio Cipriani on Colt 38 Special Squad
  • A Tough Guy, an interview with editor Antonio Siciliano on Colt 38 Special Squad
  • Archival introduction to Colt 38 Special Squad by Stelvio Cipriani
  • Faster Than a Bullet, an interview with film historian Roberto Curti on Highway Racer
  • Mother Justice, an interview with writer/director Vittorio Salerno on No, the Case is Happily Resolved
  • Alternate ending to No, the Case is Happily Resolved
  • Original trailers for Like Rabid Dogs, Colt 38 Special Squad and No, the Case is Happily Resolved
  • Poster galleries
  • Reversible sleeves featuring original artwork for all five films
  • Limited edition collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the films by Troy Howarth, Michael Mackenzie, Rachael Nisbet, Kat Ellinger and James Oliver

User avatar
TMDaines
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester

Re: Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#2 Post by TMDaines » Fri Mar 26, 2021 6:27 pm

I’ve only seen Poliziotto sprint from these and it was terrible. A couple of the others I’ve wanted to see for a while though and they are good rescues from the very expensive Cinema Obscura German label.

User avatar
skilar
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:45 pm

Re: Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#3 Post by skilar » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:56 pm

Any opinions on the other movies in this set? It sounds like it's right up my alley, but I'm not familiar with any of them.

User avatar
Reifferschizzle
Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:54 pm

Re: Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#4 Post by Reifferschizzle » Mon Mar 29, 2021 11:41 am

Yeah, I love the genre and have barely heard of any of these. Not sure if there's a true established canon for it yet anyway but I'd at least have expected some of the more acclaimed directors - Di Leo, Castellari, Lenzi, Damiani.

pistolwink
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:07 am

Re: Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#5 Post by pistolwink » Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:06 am

Anyone know why one of the seminal poliziotteschi, Carlo Lizzani's Banditi a Milano, is generally unavailable, particularly on some kind of "restored" release"? I keep waiting for that one, but lots of later (and often inferior) films in this "genre" have come out and no sign of it....

User avatar
Fred Holywell
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:45 pm

Re: Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#6 Post by Fred Holywell » Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:06 pm

pistolwink wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:06 am
Anyone know why one of the seminal poliziotteschi, Carlo Lizzani's Banditi a Milano, is generally unavailable, particularly on some kind of "restored" release"? I keep waiting for that one, but lots of later (and often inferior) films in this "genre" have come out and no sign of it....
Banditi a Milano (U.S. title, The Violent Four) is one of the many Dino DeLaurentiis productions distributed by Paramount. The company may still own the rights and, if so, it's likely not high on their release list. Probably the best hope is that they license it out to someone else.

User avatar
Mr Sloane
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2015 8:10 am

Re: Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#7 Post by Mr Sloane » Fri Apr 30, 2021 6:12 am

skilar wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:56 pm
Any opinions on the other movies in this set? It sounds like it's right up my alley, but I'm not familiar with any of them.
I've seen No, The Case Is Happily Resolved and found it quite entertaining. I rather liked the fact that they made the central protagonist rather unsympathetic. In fact it is his own cowardice in not reporting what he has seen to the police that results in him being fingered for the crime in the first place, and from that point onwards he just continues to dig a deeper hole for himself thanks to his own sheer incompetence!

User avatar
Thornycroft
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:23 pm

Re: Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#8 Post by Thornycroft » Wed May 05, 2021 9:01 pm

Arrow on Facebook wrote:We wanted to let our UK fans know that our upcoming release of SAVAGE THREE in our YEARS OF LEAD boxset will be censored (but not cut).

The is due to some moments of animal cruelty where mice fight in a cage which occurs for 17 seconds within a longer scene. Only the elements of animal cruelty will be censored, the rest of the scene will remain uncensored and completely intact.

The US edition will be unaffected and uncut and all other films in the UK collection will be uncut.
Based on the wording it sounds as though they're going to go the same route as Sister Street Fighter and reframe the offending shots to avoid having to remove any footage outright.

User avatar
Big Ben
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:54 pm
Location: Great Falls, Montana

Re: Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#9 Post by Big Ben » Wed May 05, 2021 9:12 pm

On that note I was kind of shocked by some of the people in the comments on Facebook who were legitimately angry about not being able to see mice fight for seventeen seconds.

User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#10 Post by tenia » Thu May 06, 2021 2:19 am

It's always the same : it's less about what is cut than the cuts existing in the first place.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#11 Post by MichaelB » Thu May 06, 2021 3:09 am

Thornycroft wrote:Based on the wording it sounds as though they're going to go the same route as Sister Street Fighter and reframe the offending shots to avoid having to remove any footage outright.
Perfectly sensible, and that’s the route I’d go down if I was in a similar position and reframing was feasible.

(The one time I actually had to cut a film for animal-cruelty reasons, reframing wasn't possible because the cruelty in question - a blatant and indefensible horse trip that saw the poor creature landing upside down on its neck - was slap bang in the middle of the frame.)
Last edited by MichaelB on Thu May 06, 2021 6:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

M Sanderson
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:43 am

Re: Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#12 Post by M Sanderson » Thu May 06, 2021 6:53 am

Reifferschizzle wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 11:41 am
Yeah, I love the genre and have barely heard of any of these. Not sure if there's a true established canon for it yet anyway but I'd at least have expected some of the more acclaimed directors - Di Leo, Castellari, Lenzi, Damiani.
Yes, I’m still craving more di Leo restorations after the amazing work on Milano Calibro 9.

User avatar
TMDaines
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
Location: Stretford, Manchester

Re: Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#13 Post by TMDaines » Thu May 27, 2021 8:23 am

Thornycroft wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 9:01 pm
Arrow on Facebook wrote:We wanted to let our UK fans know that our upcoming release of SAVAGE THREE in our YEARS OF LEAD boxset will be censored (but not cut).

The is due to some moments of animal cruelty where mice fight in a cage which occurs for 17 seconds within a longer scene. Only the elements of animal cruelty will be censored, the rest of the scene will remain uncensored and completely intact.

The US edition will be unaffected and uncut and all other films in the UK collection will be uncut.
Based on the wording it sounds as though they're going to go the same route as Sister Street Fighter and reframe the offending shots to avoid having to remove any footage outright.
On some previous Arrow releases, I think the US and UK discs have been the same, and it decides what footage to show based on region codes. Wonder if that will be the case here?

User avatar
EddieLarkin
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:25 am

Re: Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#14 Post by EddieLarkin » Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:33 am

It has indeed been confirmed by those who have started receiving the sets that the UK release runs uncut if played in a Region A machine. The cut film from the Vengeance Trails set will no doubt be the same.

User avatar
cdnchris
Site Admin
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:45 pm
Location: Washington
Contact:

Re: Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#15 Post by cdnchris » Wed Jun 23, 2021 1:57 pm

I'm finding this a nasty set so far and I'm just kinda slowly going through the films as my patience has grown pretty thin. The Joe Dallesandro interview is pretty great, though, and I will say he found his calling playing a robotic, expressionless sociopath in Savage Three.

M Sanderson
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:43 am

Re: Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#16 Post by M Sanderson » Thu Jul 01, 2021 8:34 am

Anything remarkable in the set?

Dallamano is a very noteworthy director (not only …Solange and …Daughters but also Night Child/Together Forever) & I noticed one of his films is also in the upcoming Vengeance Trails box. How is his contribution to this set?

User avatar
cdnchris
Site Admin
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:45 pm
Location: Washington
Contact:

Re: Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#17 Post by cdnchris » Thu Jul 01, 2021 11:06 am

Nothing I would call remarkable, though these films just may not be my thing, with the first two just being incredibly unpleasant. I still have one film left to watch but Dallamano's Colt 38 Special Squad may have the distinction of being the best film in the set; it's an entertaining enough action/cop flick, it's just all-over-the-place plot wise and then just ends.

User avatar
The Elegant Dandy Fop
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 3:25 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977

#18 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Thu Jul 01, 2021 7:31 pm

I'm three films deep into the set. I started with the Massimo Dallamano film as I've liked everything else I've seen by him. Colt 38 Special Squad proves to be an incredibly frustrating film of pathetic cops doing very little actual crime solving or detective work to solve the mystery of who the criminals are. Marcel Bozzuffi is quite good in it and it ends with a taste of his past with The French Connection's famous chase as Bozzuffi drives across recklessly culminating with him driving across a literal moving train. The villain of the film is nearly a comic book character with his black-and-white levels of motivation even going as so far as demanding a ransom of diamonds as opposed to cash. There's at least an excellent score by the always fantastic Stelvio Cipriani.

Watched Like Rabid Dogs last night and found it to be a particularly annoying experience again as cruel, rich youths torture and abuse all sorts of people and continuously get away with it. No sense of drama, tension, or even fear. Just sort of cruelty. The finale where
SpoilerShow
the scion of an Italian industry attempts to run over a Communist march, only to be pulled out of his car and beaten to death on the street
proved to be sort of enjoyable in the sort of "WTF" factor some of these types of films have, but not enough to save the rest of it. These are cop films where the cops sort of just stay aside and complain about how castrated they are. It's also the worst soundtrack in the set sounding like bad 60s library music with garish synths blaring over easy-listening organs.

No, the Case is Happily Resolved is quite good. What starts off as another nasty film quickly becomes a Hitchcockian wrong-man style film of guilt built around cowardice and the liberties people of certain social-economic classes get over the average working man. The finale ends
SpoilerShow
with a sudden bit of deus ex machina ruining the sort of cynical mood of the film, but the original ending included on the disk captures the sort of hopeless of it all.
cdnchris describes these films as nasty, but I think the underlying mood for these types of Italian films is always cynicism. I personally have a taste for the more tongue in cheek fare like Umberto Lenzi's incredibly fun The Tough Ones or Enzo G. Castellari's The Day of the Cobra.

Post Reply