Counsellor, The / Il consigliori (1973)

4.0 out of 5

Clearly owing it's existence to the Godfather the 1973 gangster film Il consigliori sees Tomas Milian take the role of the counsellor, a role associated with Robert Duvall, but here is played more like Michael Corleone. Milian even does his best to emulate the mannerisms of Pacino opposite Don Antonio played by a Martin Balsam who is very much working in Marlon Brando mode.

Milian tries to go straight and settle down with schoolteacher Dagmar Lassander, here woefully underused, after a spell in crowbar hotel but finds himself drawn into a bloody war within the families as there is an attempt to wrestle control of the San Francisco business interests from the ageing Don.

A schizophrenic score from Riz Ortolani veers between second rate American cop drama styling and near perfect more classical themes that compliment the more emotional and intimate moments of the film.

While The Counsellor is a minor film in comparison to the original Godfather which undoubtedly provided the template this is nevertheless a fine gangster film on it's own terms and a standout piece among the many that tried to mine this particular seam of exploitation.

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