Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Death Collector (1976)

Director: Ralph De Vito

Starring: Joseph Cortese, Lou Criscuolo, Joe Pesci, Bobby Alto, Frank Vincent

More info: IMDb

Tagline: He always collects...or you pay with your life!

Plot: After being away for a couple of years, Jerry Bolanti is back in his tough, North Jersey neighborhood, close to swampy meadowlands where bodies get pulled from the trunks of cars and dumped. He's short on cash, so a local boss, Anthony Iadavia, throws him some work - as a collector and a holdup man. But Jerry's cocky and a hothead, so he makes enemies faster than he can deliver on the jobs. Whatever bag or case of cash he touches doesn't seem to make it back to Iadavia. But Jerry's resilient and persistent, so he just may get his revenge as well as a chance to go caravan camping with his girl.

My rating: 8.5/10

Will I watch it again? Definitely!

It's just as potent as the first time I saw it. I know I seem to say this a lot but you need to see this movie. If you like GOODFELLAS (1990) or gangster pictures then this is one of those hidden gems you'll bust out for your friends with a giddy smile on your face. You can easily tell that Scorsese took some inspiration from this picture in more ways than one.

The acting across the board is great. The story and dialogue are sharp. I recently watched the extras on RAGING BULL and Scorsese said he cast Pesci based on seeing him in this one. You can see in TDC that Pesci's got a tremendous screen presence and it's easy to see how Scorsese was drawn to him. He's marvelous.

Frank Vincent is practically unrecognizable with his giant fro. His appearance definitely improved with age. It's amazing how many movies he gets the shit kicked out of him.

Of all the movies out there that get DVD releases it's a crime that this one has never gotten anything more than shitty print fullscreen DVDs. It might be low on the budget but it's loaded with greatness and it stands in the same company (albeit a couple of steps back) as THE GODFATHER (1972) and GOODFELLAS in my book!

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