30 December 2018 | Bezenby
A love letter to Naples
If you were a kid and it was your First Communion, what would you want at your party? I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be a crappy singing lady with a puppet pretending she's an angry boyfriend and the puppet is his girlfriend, one who wants to go skiing instead of getting married. This seems to last for about ten minutes. There's a cutaway scene where we see Mario supposedly enjoying this show, but it actually looks like he's about to start crying. I'm pretty sure the kid looked relieved when those guys turned up and shot him.
So starts another Napoli based Mario Merola film, where the coffee is strong, the streets ultra-busy, and everyone screams at each other at full volume. Mario, just like that last film (and the next twenty-six films) plays a cigarette smuggler who, just like that last film, has a family who have a very short lifespan. Mario must have loved his home town, because before things go tits up for him, he gives us a little song about how he loves Naples. Then four guys crash the party, rob him and kill his family before one of the killers does a weird backflip out of the window.
After much weeping, Mario decides to track down these robbers and find out who they are despite the warnings of the cops. We also get two bungling cops who follow him about everywhere and at least two scenes with a transvestite screaming at the top of her voice and doing a dance routine. Mario makes friends with a young streetwise orphan kid/possible new son and off we all go towards the ending we all expect.
This one has a bit more action than L'Ultimo Guappo, with a few car chases and a boat chase thrown in. We also get an awful lot of daily life in Naples, from selling/buying/smuggling/smoking cigarettes, to riding mopeds, screaming at everything, going to street markets, eating spaghetti and clams, wearing a moustache and more smoking. There are also a few laughs due to some Alfonso Breschia crapness, especially the bit at the end where a character on a boat seems to be played by two different actors depending on what shot we get, plus a truly terrible model boat being blown up with what looks like two figures from one of those minature villages in it.
I still enjoyed it though! Mario Merola doesn't come across as an egotistical actor. He comes across as a genuine good guy who loves Naples. This gives the whole film, and especially the ending, a slightly more emotional edge. I'm digging these Alfonso Breschia gangster films much more than his sci-fi films. And his gialli. And his Westerns.