Director: Enzo G. Castellari
Starring: Franco Nero, Fernando Rey, James Whitmore, Delia Boccardo, Dullio Del Prete, Silvano Tranquilli
More info: IMDb
Plot: An Italian police inspector matches wits with a powerful European drug ring. As he comes closer to the top of the underworld organization, his odds of survival decrease.
My rating: 7/10
Will I watch it again? I could but there's a gazillion other Italian crime films from the 70s that I need to see first.
I'm not sure when it started but Italy was cranking out police/crime films like crazy in the early 70s and lasted throughout the rest of the decade. These films were all over the place with plots and ideas but they always dealt with cops and criminals. They featured a who's who of not only Italian film stars like Franco Nero and Tomas Milian but international stars (on the way up in their career or on the way down, usually the latter) as well. It might have been THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971) that helped kick start this 'Poliziotteschi (Polizia)' genre in Italy. That was certainly a huge world wide hit that just had to be one of the sparks that ignited it. It's also worth noting that this genre started it's rise as Spaghetti Westerns were on the way out, bringing a lot of talent in front of the screen and behind it with it.
THE MARSEILLES CONNECTION, aka HIGH CRIME, is one of the better ones and it's got more than a few similarities with FRENCH as it deals with the drug trade/kingpins and it also used one of the main players from FRENCH, Fernando Rey...as a drug kingpin (surprise). Franco Nero is always great and puts in a gutsy performance. The rest of the cast does a fine job, there's a very good score by G & M (Guido & Maurizio) De Angelis, it's got a quality story with some weighty consequences, great camerawork and direction by Enzo G. Castellari. The chase at the beginning of the film (above video) is great and does a fine job of getting you right into the picture and holds you there until the finale. And this one doesn't pull its punches as you'll see in the following clip (MAJOR SPOILERS):