The late sixties and early seventies saw a crime wave of poorly edited B-movies from Italy that I fell in love with - the poliziotteschi - or police-related movies. Linked in heart to the giallo of the period, they abandoned any pretense of art and settled instead for loads of action, busty babes and recycled character actors from spaghetti westerns.
Bandits in Milan - Watch the whole movie here
Amongst my favourite were Bandits in Milan (1968) (sometimes called The Violent Four) with Italian superstar Gian Maria Volonte and cult British actress Margaret Lee as a prostitute. Essentially a tale of bank robbers, it has a pop art video style that demands viewing more than once.
An unusual entry into the genre was Charles Bronson's Violent City (1970). Set and shot in New Orleans, the film also stars Jill Ireland and Telly Savalas. Chuck is in his normal lone wolf persona, this time on the trail of the woman who betrayed him. It has a great car-chase scene.
Milano Calibro 9 (1972) sees Gastone Moschin released from prison and trying to go straight, but everyone believes he has a stash of hidden money somewhere and they won't leave him alone. The film also stars German-American actress Barbara Bouchet.
The Marseilles Connection (1973) stars Franco Nero and Fernando Rey with Delia Boccardo. Based loosely on The French Connection, but stripping out all the boring bits about character, it's an adrenalin-charged gangsters v cops epic from start to finish.
The Marseilles Connection
Revolver (1973) starts great British heavy Oliver Reed and Fabio Testi with Paola Pitagora. It's a tale of a gang kidnapping a rich man's wife. He pays up and when his wife is released, he then kidnaps the gang boss in revenge. His gang set out to release him.
Almost Human (1974), directed by the great giallo director Umberto Lenzi, starred Henry Silva and Thomas Milian with Laura Belli is another kidnap movie. By this stage of the genre's cycle, the movies had become ultra-stylish, and hyper-violent - it's easy to see how they influenced later directors like Ringo Lam and the derivative Quentin Tarantino.
Syndicate Sadists - trailer
There are dozens more films to explore in the genre of course - and this can only be a brief introduction - but I can't leave without mentioning another of Lenzi's masterpieces - Syndicate Sadists (1975) with Joseph Cotten, Thomas Milian again (continuing his love-hate relationship with Lenzi that spawned cinema classics) and Maria Fiore. Saying this is a revenge movie would be a bit like saying Michaelangelo was a bit of an interior decorator.