When Joe Valachi (Charles Bronson) has a price put on his head by Don Vito Genovese (Lino Ventura), he must take desperate steps to protect himself while in prison. An unsuccessful attempt to slit his throat puts him over the edge to break the sacred code of silence.Written by
Richard Jones <email@example.com>
At his first interrogation, Valachi states his date of birth as 1903. Valachi was born in 1904. See more »
"Cut it off!" Bender to his two henchman as they grab Gap to get a "present" for Don Vito's girlfriend.
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To receive an 'X' certificate the UK cinema version received heavy cuts to scenes of violence including the castration scene, bloody shootings, and the meat hook killing. Video and DVD releases restore the cuts. See more »
I give this a 7 stars because it was made the same year as Godfather I, so it didn't benefit from all the film-industry wisdom that followed that production. Rather, this is a character study of one mafioso, which is a separate issue from the operatic, all-systems-GO no-holds-barred approach Coppola was able to employ in The Godfather. it's a smaller film, and should be compared to, say, Mobsters (1991), which deals with the same period and some of the same characters as V.P. Charles Bronson's Valachi is adequate. He's a workaday, uneducated, down- home mob guy, and Bronson plays him as if he were Polish, with a job that he goes to every day, where everyone talks Italian. Because it is through his eyes that we see his world, some of the other characters become more vivid, e.g., Joseph Wiseman as Salvatore Maranzano. When I compare the casting of the incomparable Joseph Wiseman in this role as opposed to, say, Michael Gambon in the same role in Mobsters, or Anthony Quinn as an equally old-school rival in the same film, I wonder: None of these actors are Italian -American or even simply Italian; why do some of them work, and the others don't? Granted that Wiseman, Quinn and Gambon are all consummate professionals and true craftsmen as actors, if anyone mentions Salvatore Maranzano and the Castellammarese gang war of 1929, the face that will come to my mind is that of Joseph Wiseman. He and Charles Bronson make this film worth seeing.
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