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Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection (Caliber 9 / The Italian Connection / The Boss / Rulers of the City) [Import]


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Product Details

  • Format: Box set, Restored, Subtitled, NTSC, Import
  • Language: Italian, English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • Release Date: June 14 2011
  • ASIN: B004D8P23U

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
When you find a director like Di Leo - You Tip Your Cap! April 23 2011
By Bryan Byrd - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After watching way too many poor transfers of Euro films from the seventies, it's a real treat when I get a chance to see them released by a studio that actually cares what the final product looks like. In my opinion, Raro Video did an outstanding job with these four films, from the production value of the transfers to the package as a whole. I'm not going to imply that each one of these films is a five-star effort - even though fans of this director and this genre will most likely rate them very high, while others may nitpick at them - rather that it is the collection itself that I'm rating as top of the line, one that any enthusiast of Eurocrime or seventies cinema will find it well worth their time to track down.

Were I to rate them separately, I would give each film four stars - they all have their plusses and minuses, which seem inextricably linked in each. The first three films - Caliber 9, The Italian Connection, and The Boss - are part of Di Leo's 'Milieu Trilogy', a loosely linked series that doesn't follow a continuous storyline, but rather examines the criminal landscape of Italy in the early 1970's. Taking inspiration from the stories of Russian-born émigré Giorgio Scerbanenco, 'Caliber 9' (Milano Calibro 9) may very well be the overall best of the three, with Gastone Moschin taking up the part of the just-released convict Ugo Piazza, whom the berserk Mario Adorf suspects of having stolen money from his organization prior to the start of his three year-prison sentence. Labeled as noir by some, with a plot twisting and turning as well as anything by Chandler or Hammett, this film has one remarkable ending.

Mario Adorf returns in 'The Italian Connection' (La Mala Ordina) as a small-time pimp and hustler Luca Canali who gets served up as a fall-guy for two American hit men (Woody Strode and Henry Silva), who are sent to Milan to make an example of the man who stole a shipment of heroin. On the run, with nothing to lose, its either fight back against the overwhelming odds or die. This one is also based on a Scerbanenca story, and though I don't think it's quite on the same level as 'Caliber 9', it is still an extremely entertaining film. Henry Silva is back again in the trilogy's final installment, 'The Boss' (Il Boss), as bit-player Nick Lanzetta, and the film tracks his violent climb to the top of the organization. Somewhat talky, which slows down the film in spots, Silva still shines as an ice-cold killer.

The last film, supposedly exclusive to this box set, is 'Rulers of the City' (I Padroni della Città) with Jack Palance, Al Cliver and Harry Baer. This film seems somewhat mislabeled as a comedy - it is a bit more light-hearted than the others, but that's about it. Baer (looking like nothing so much as the younger brother of Robert Downey Jr.) and Cliver, a couple of nobodies trying to get ahead in the world, scam Palance's organization out of 10 million Lira. Getting the money was easy - getting away with it is the hard part.

All four films are highly entertaining, though time and distance mutes some of the social commentary that di Leo peppered his films with. All but 'The Italian Connection' include a soundtrack by Luis Bacalov, which reminds me (especially in 'Caliber 9') of the outstandingly funky pinball theme from Sesame Street. I watched all the films in Italian, but they all come with both English and Italian options. From my understanding, all Italian films from this time were re-dubbed after filming, even for Italian audiences, and 'Caliber 9' has probably the worst dubbing of the four films, though I consider this somewhat to be expected with these films and don't subtract much because of it. The 'Milieu Trilogy' films are all in 16x9 anamorphic widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1; 'Rulers of the City' is non-anamorphic wide-screen (black bars on top, bottom and sides). Above all, these films look terrific. Restored and remastered, they pop off the screen. Extras include five documentaries spread out over the four discs, consisting of interviews with Di Leo, his actors and crew, and historians to address different subjects relating to each film. Also included in the box set is a small booklet containing excerpts of the Di Leo interview.

While its understandable that anyone can get a lemon, I thought the packaging in this collection was fine - each film comes in its own case, and which are exactly the same as regular DVD packaging except that they are half as thick. The DVD itself is affixed to a spindle to keep it in place (as it is in traditional cases), and unlike some cheap sets, the tension on the spindle is sufficient to keep the DVD from slipping off and banging around loose inside the case. All my DVD's arrived in good shape and played well, and I highly recommend the entire set.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Great Collection w/DVD issues July 5 2011
By Barclay G. Virden - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Nothing to add in the way of another film review.
The treatment of these movies is good, they look and sound very nice.
Yes, the cases are a bit flimsy but they're acceptable.
I, too, had an issue with the Il Boss disc. The feature doesn't freeze up but the Storie di Mafia documentary does have the 30 second audio delay. It's pretty f'n annoying and might render it unwatchable for many. I'm pretty patient with such things and still had a difficult time.
The "anyone can get a lemon" assessment by an earlier reviewer doesn't apply here.
The now-majority of Amazon buyers are having these same problems.
What seems odd to me is that the quality warnings on here are getting "1 out of 5 found this helpful" responses.
Seems to me that it might be kind of important to a potential buyer.

For whatever it's worth I'll contact RaroVideo.
Still, I won't be returning the set.
The films are great and I'm happy to have spent $20 to have them collected.

UPDATE: The good people at RaroVideo are aware of the issue, have fixed it and have offered to send me a replacement.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
THE CREAM!!!!!!! Oct. 24 2011
By Richard J. Oravitz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Each and every film here a classic. I have most of them on bad vhs transfers from the 80's, MILIAN CALIBRE, MANHUNT, SCARFACE. All of the films presented here look absolutely GREAT!!! Widescreen, sharp, crisp, clear!!! If you're thinking about purchasing these gems of sex and violence, please go right ahead. Each and every film is a masterpiece in exploitation cinema. No one can or would even dare to make films like these today. No computer generated images of heroes flipping and swinging from high rises here. Down and dirty action and violence on the gut level only. Real action at real time! BEAUTIFUL!
And all films have BEAUTIFUL transfers! My God, what are you waiting for, an invitation from Ugo Piazza? Tip the hat and buy.
It's truly the best out there of this kind of stuff.
Even more than HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
entertaining, satisfying and rarely dull Jan. 31 2012
By W Mianecke - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I came upon this set after reading a positive review of CALIBER 9. I decided to take a chance and check out 4 by this acclaimed yet unknown-to-me director.

Each film looks and sounds great, especially in the original language/dialects.

CALIBER 9 was my favorite for plot and acting. The twists and turns of the plot worked quite well, and the climactic revelation is so well-filmed it's astounding. AWESOME stuff. VERY SERIOUS. And Barbara Bouchet is a serious eye-full throughout. Impressive action drama, not just puffed-up swaggering macho nonsense.

THE BOSS was my favorite, though, for outrageous, cold, trashy, guilty-pleasure CARNAGE. Henry Silva taking out a bunch of (spoiler) in a (spoiler) with a (spoiler) has to be one of my new favorite action sequences. And he does it silently. None of the stupid cliche's we've been subjected to in contemporary films, like screaming, two-gun-toting, anguished killers. This is his job and he gets it done and in doing so he left my jaw dropped open to the floor. Lots of dark humor in this one. Never thought I'd laugh with some of the things I did while enjoying this one.

RULERS OF THE CITY has some well-choreographed nastiness throughout, and Jack Palance owns the screen every time he enters it. I liked the contrast of the younger, capricious, less commanding, less serious male lead in this compared to the other 3 films.

THE ITALIAN CONNECTION was, in my opinion, rather ho-hum, dated and way too serious, but, it had its moments, too. I just found the acting of the leads in that one to have nowhere near the charisma seen in the other 3 films. (yes, eve though Henry Silva is in THE BOSS as well.) And it is melodramatic to the nth degree.

I'd recommend this set to anyone who loves oversaturated celluloid, gorgeous 60's Italian design, go-go dancers occupying the full ratio of the screen, and some dead-serious vengeance.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3 of 4 July 17 2012
By grafdog - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Are you kidding me?!?!
The quality of the first 3 films is through the roof.
Calibre 9 and Italian connection are completely different in terms of theme and rendering, both are masterfully crafted but its impossible to pick a favorite. I will lean a bit towards Italian connection mainly because of the main character Luca and how he operates, tho I must tip my hat to ugo from calibre 9.
I won't spill the beans on these, you'll want to go in blind and without looking at the included booklet or any of the extras.
I will say that both films start slowly and build to incredibly cathartic resolutions.
By this I mean, they will blow you out of your seat and you'll be writhing about the floor in astonishment and ecstasy.
Interestingly enough, as a film the Boss seems "aware".
Possibly, the Boss hearing how much you enjoyed the earlier films, is engaging in your discussion of them?
If so, the Bosses initial sequence could be seen as a cinematic rebuff of your exuberance over Calibre 9 and the Italian connection.

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