November 4, 2011

Revolver (1973)

Directed by Sergio Sollima. Starring Oliver Reed ("Vito Cipriani"), Fabio Testi ("Milo Ruiz"), Paola Pitagora ("Carlotta"), and Agostina Belli ("Anna Cipriani"). Rated R.

Source: Region 1 DVD (Blue Underground)
Running time: 01:49:31
Country: Italy, France, West Germany

When Eurocrime flourished, directors and producers of the genre had a tendency to bring in tough-guy actors from outside of Italy to star in their films, and amongst those outsiders was British actor Oliver Reed, who, in REVOLVER, plays Vito Cipriani - a tough, no-bullshit prison warden whose wife is kidnapped by criminals. In exchange for his wife, the criminals demand the immediate release of Milo Ruiz, played by Italian pretty-boy Fabio Testi. Cipriani complies, but on his terms: he removes Ruiz from the prison himself and attempts to personally deliver him to the criminals to make sure that no harm comes to his wife. Strangely, Ruiz has no idea who the criminals are or why they want him free. Things go awry for some reason, and, next thing you know, the unlikely duo of Cipriani and Ruiz are headed to France to handle some business and rescue Cipriani's wife.

The first thing worth mentioning is, in my opinion, the best thing about the film: the score. The theme song in particular is amazing, and easily one of my favorite pieces of music that Ennio Morricone has ever produced. Apparently Quentin Tarantino is also a fan, seeing as he used the very song I'm talking about in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS during the scene where - I believe - Shosanna kills the dude up in the projectionist booth. Compared to a lot of the Eurocrime movies that I'm familiar with, the music in REVOLVER is unusually sad. Moving on.

It should be noted that Oliver Reed is dubbed, which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone familiar with Italian cinema from back in the day. Everything was dubbed. In some cases, the same actors went back and dubbed their own voices (Franco Nero being the main example that comes to mind), but in this case it's someone else doing the voice-work for Reed. Luckily, the person who did the dubbing sounds a lot like Reed, but without the accent. Hell, it could have been Reed for all I know, but apparently he bailed as soon as his scenes were shot, so I doubt it. Speaking of Reed, while he doesn't emote very much in the film (I later realized that all of the screenshots I took of Reed had him making the exact same facial expression), his mere presence speaks volumes.

In particular, what I enjoyed about this film was the pairing of Ollie Reed and Fabio Testi. I wasn't blown away by their chemistry or anything, but as a fan of both actors' respective works, it's interesting to see these two worlds collide - Reed being the legendary "hellraiser" that he was, and Testi being one of the more familiar faces (and names) of Italian genre films. And while I'm on the subject of the cast, the actress who plays Reed's wife, Agostina Belli, is hands down one of the most beautiful Italian actresses I've ever seen. As far as the plot, I honestly could have cared less about what was going on despite there being a few twists and turns to keep things moving along at a good pace, just for the simple fact that I felt the plot was way too complicated than it needed to be.

Compared to the stereotypical entries in the Eurocrime genre, REVOLVER is fairly tame. There's a heavy drama element to the film rather than it being another shoot-'em-up, although the film does have its share of gunplay and car chases. I found REVOLVER to be a worthwhile viewing experience because of the cast and because of how stylish it was. Also, to be fair, the film does end on a strong, satisfying note, story-wise. Recommended, if anything, for the novelty of seeing Oliver Reed in a Eurocrime movie.

Score: 6.5


  1. Oh yeah! It's Hairy Macho Bullshit Month 'round here, girl. Mustaches galore!

  2. I dig this one lots. Love the whole downbeat tone of it as well as the ending. All of Sollima's movies, at least the ones I've seen have a really deep story to them and with him doing the writing, it makes sense. Amazingly, he wrote a number of sword and sandal movies which you'd never guess given his later works as those mythological and or gladiator pictures tended to be more playful with less political intrigue which was ironic considering a lot of peplums DID have a lot of political intrigue in them. I have Sollima's entire SANDOKAN tele series around here somewhere and never watched it yet. His best movie for me would have to be FACE TO FACE. Excellent Italian western, imo.

    Dude, have you seen Reed in THE HUNTING PARTY with Gene Hackman and Candice Bergen? It's one of the most infamous of the splatter westerns including stuff like WILD BUNCH and SOLDIER BLUE.

  3. I haven't seen HUNTING PARTY, but I just added it to my queue. As for REVOLVER, yeah, I dunno. I loved certain aspects of it, but as a whole it just didn't do much for me.