Iron Prefect, The / Il prefetto di ferro (1977)

4.5 out of 5

In the years during the Mussolini government Prefetto Cesare Mori, the eponymous Iron Prefect, is dispatched to Sicily to root out the Mafia and the bandits with whom they have formed an alliance. Committed to the rule of law as opposed to the insignia of the fasci Mori undertakes his duties diligently despite meeting opposition from the communities within which he operates.

Upon rooting out the bandits Mori's investigations take him deeper as he uncovers mafia links to local dignitaries and politicians that stretch all the way to Rome and the ministries of the fascist government.

While on one level the film can be taken literally as a historical drama it can be seen as an allegorical tale for contemporary Italy in making a connection with the themes of the 1970s Eurocrime wave. As the bandits were expelled so the fascists moved in to fill the vacuum, even with their organised crime connections. The themes of the political connections of the Mafia and that the more things seemingly change the more they stay the same are not uncommon ones in the Eurocrime genre.

Exploitation regular Paul Muller puts in an appearance. Recommended.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics