25 April 2010 | lost-in-limbo
Read it in the papers.
The following year Charles Bronson would team up with director Michael Winner as a cop on the trail of the mafia, but the year before in "The Valachi Papers" he would find himself smack in the middle of it all as former mobster Joe Valachi serving 15 years in prison with a target on his head of twenty thousand dollars by mafia capo Vito Genovese. When he learns of it with there being no way of getting out of it when receives the kiss of death. Joe decides to spill his guts on the inner workings (extortion, vengeance and murder) of LaCosa Nostra for some sort of protection for him and his family. This would be the third European film of the trot between Charles Bronson and director Terence Young with the gritty crime flick "Cold Sweat (1970)" and buddy western "Red Sun (1971)" being the two before it. Coming out the same year as the similar in vein, but masterful classic "The Godfather". "The Valachi Papers" probably came and went with little notice. While not as stylish, it managed to have scope in its tough, trim and grippingly told narration splitting between past recounting and present situations. The plot was adapted off Peter Maas' novel of the same name that covers this true account of the mafia underworld and organised crime. A steadfast Bronson perfectly nailed down the lead with excellently respectable support by the likes of Lino Ventura, Joseph Wiseman, Walter Chiari, Gerald S. O'Loughlin, Angelo Infanti and Amedeo Nazzari. Director Young does a steadily routine job, but it's well done for such a minimal and straight looking production. For a running time of just over two hours, never does it feel it or seem to drag. The workmanlike execution gives the air a brutal (one raw act of violence would have any male squirming) and hardboiled touch, crafting well etched period (through the 1930s) location details and a having profound power in its escalating dramatics. A violent, tough-talking gangster feature with fine cast associated.