I mafiosi (1959)

4.0 out of 5

Featuring a score that is not unlike that of La strada, I mafiosi is a riot of delightful, neorealism-styled, location work. Somewhat reminiscent of Day of the Owl, and presenting a switchblade wielding, horseback Mafia as a kind of informal enforcer of justice, this Damiani-esque tale of postwar rural Sicilian life, and small-town corruption, is a million miles from the explosive excesses of the later poliziotteschi wave.

Nevertheless, this somewhat understated effort should be of more than passing interest to those wishing to trace the rich lineage of Italian crime cinema. The director, Roberto Mauri, would go on to helm the likes of King of Kong Island, Ivanhoe, the Norman Swordsman and, ultimately, The Porno Killers. This is much better, though.

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