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Blood Money (1981)
The 4 kidnappers were played by Juliet Hammond-Hill, whose character was of German origin, the calm one of the four and the leader, Stephen Yardley, whose character was a bully and a braggart, Gary Whelan whose character was Irish and called Danny Connors, and had connections with the IRA, and Cavan Kendall, whose character was called Charles Vivian, and seemed like an ex-public school type of an aristocratic family. I have always wondered if this story was partly inspired by a then recent event involving the SAS, with their name simply being changed to SIS for legal reasons in the fiction.
The most interesting aspect is what develops amongst the 4 kidnappers and the young hostage in the house where they are keeping him, in an almost routine daily life sense. The most memorable interrelationships are the fondness Danny forms for the hostage, and the dislike and contempt Stephen Yardley feels for Charles Vivian, the intellectual of the group, who doesn't use a gun or do manual tasks, but is necessary to them presumably for his knowledge of such things as the media (he delivers their letters to the press) and of people in high places. Stephen Yardley calls him a ponce, brags to him about when he was fighting in various places abroad, and seems to need to assert his superiority of physical strength over him as his contempt boils over several times. Juliet Hammond-Hill's character, although the leader of the group, actually made the least memorable impression on me. The almost soap opera atmosphere of these characters and especially the fondness formed between Danny and the hostage, Rupert Fitzcharles, who he calls 'Rup', make the ending seem abrupt, tragic and unjust. Maybe that's what the makers intended us to feel.
Giù la testa (1971)
Past and Present
I first saw this film in 1990 at 25, and I didn't keep it because I didn't understand it then (it was part of the Viva Leone season at Christmas 1989). Having spent 3 years of my life subsequently in a foreign country I can understand the cynicism and imagery of it. Like the beating up scene in 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly', the mass shooting scene in this film is reminiscent of Nazism in WW2. Up to the time where Rod Steiger discovers what's in the bank the film seems fairly light-hearted but afterwards is anything but.
The beauty of this film for me lies in having no clear good guys or bad guys, just different points of view and the tragedy of people killing and being killed, often not really knowing what they were killing or dying for.
Having it on video allows me to examine some minor details, like whether the men being executed at one point have been seen earlier in the film - I can't clearly match all the faces involved!