Slap the Monster on Page One / Sbatti il mostro in prima pagina (1972)

4.5 out of 5

The murder and rape of the daughter of a professor provides the opportunity for a newpaper of broadly fascist sympathies to smear the left. The backdrop for the story is one of political polarisation as demonstrators from far right and left clash on the streets in the run up to an election that is being held in Milan. While the skeleton upon which the story hangs is one of a crime the documentary style makes the whole thing an exposé of the role of the media in not just manipulating opinion but also maintaining an acceptance of the status quo and using personal tragedy to further a wider agenda.

Gian Maria Volonté is an editor who ignores inconvenient facts and engages in cover up to continue to manipulate a public for whom he feels nothing but disdain and typecast bad guy John Steiner has a smaller role as a publisher puppetmaster.

This is a film that would sit nicely alongside A Very British Coup or the political thriller Z, two films with which Sbatti il mostro in prima pagina shares a downbeat, conspiritorial vibe and faux documentary aesthetic.

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