Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Silence the Witness (1974)

Original title: Il Testimone Deve Tacere

Director: Giuseppe Rosati

Writers: Vito Bruschini, Giuseppe Pulieri, Giuseppe Rosati

Composer: Francesco De Masi

Starring: Bekim Fehmiu, Rosanna Schiaffino, Aldo Giuffre, Guido Leontini, Romolo Valli, Elio Zamuto, Luigi Pistilli, Claudio Nicastro, Guido Alberti, Corrado Annicelli

More info: IMDb

Plot:  De Luca is killed by Marchetti's chauffeur. Marchetti ordered the murder because he was to be accused by De Luca. The two have a car accident while going home to get an alibi. There is a witness, Sironi, who calls the police. But when the police arrive the car has gone and so have the two men. Inspector Santi and young judge Novelli look into the strange case. Marchetti, however, is a powerful man and Sironi and his family begin to be obsessed first by threats then by assaults.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.


What starts out being a run of the mill crime drama about corruption ends up being a film with balls and the confidence to end on a really sour note.  The performances seemed fine (the copy I had was dubbed in English...and a lousy looking VHS rip to boot), as was the music, direction and everything else but it was the story that really sets this one above a lot of these type of Italian "poliziotteschi" pictures from the 70s.  See, the bad guys win and they win big.  They're able to slowly but surely wear down the witness by having his trusted assistant quit, have his medical license suspended pending a formal investigation that will end with his being barred from practicing medicine ever again and his wife being raped while he's forced to watch (a nice scene, too, because the camera stays on his face the entire time.  We only hear his wife and see him endure the  Only then does he realize their lives are next and he's powerless to stop them.  Then there's the detective on the case that has passed up every opportunity and threat from the bad guys until one day when, out of the blue, he gets a huge promotion to Chief Inspector and he'll be transferred to another part of the country plus a big vacation and so on.  He accepts it knowing that his adversaries are a lot more powerful than he is.  Bam!  End of the picture.  I really didn't see it ending that way and thought the film would go on to bring the bad guys down but they made it unharmed.  It's a great, shocking ending that elevates this picture above what you would normally get from other films.  I might've given this a higher grade if the print I watched wasn't so horrible and it were presented in a gorgeous image in the original Italian.  I'm sure it would play much better that way.  Still, I guess that shows you how good it is that I could see it in absolute shit condition and still come out the other side liking it.

No comments:

Post a Comment