07/23/2014  
Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters II in Theaters Aug 29 & Blu-ray Sep 16Toy Story of Terror! On Blu-ray + Digital Copy, DVD, and More Aug 19The Railway Man on Early Digital Aug 1 on DVD/Blu-ray Aug 12Gangster on DVD & VOD Jul 22Spartacus: The Complete Collection on Blu-ray, Digital HD, DVD Sep 16Awkward: Season 3 on DVD Aug 5Worm on DVD Aug 12

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters II in Theaters Aug 29 & Blu...
'Bosom Buddies' Star Donna Dixon Resurfaces, Stunning a...
'Fargo' will return to FX next season Ñ but with new ca...
Toy Story of Terror! On Blu-ray + Digital Copy, DVD, an...
The Railway Man on Early Digital Aug 1 on DVD/Blu-ray A...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT...
JACK REACHER...
MANBORG...

CA Chuck Aliaga

CORRUPTION (BLU-RAY)...
THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
TANK GIRL (BLU-RAY)...
HORROR STORIES...
THE UNINVITED (BLU-RAY)...

RR Rich Rosell

THE GIRL...
THE HORDE...
LIFE IS SWEET (BLU-RAY)...
SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO)...
THE BLUE ANGEL (BLU-RAY)...

MZ Mark Zimmer

BABY PEGGY: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...
STORAGE WARS: VOLUME THREE...
Take Part in a Film Restoration...
THE 39 STEPS (BLU-RAY)...
DARK SHADOWS: THE BEST OF BARNABAS...

JS Jesse Shanks

2 BROKE GIRLS...
DOWNTON ABBEY SEASONS ONE & TWO LIMITED EDITION...
FLORENCE AND THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE...
NAZI COLLABORATORS...
KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (BLU-RAY)...
PURPLE NOON (BLU-RAY)...
WEEKEND (BLU-RAY)...
JUAN OF THE DEAD...
THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...

JC Joel Cunningham

YOJIMBO/SANJURO...
SUMMER HOURS (L'heure d'ÈtÈ)...
WIZARD OF OZ...
WINGS OF DESIRE...
HORTON HEARS A WHO!...

DH Dan Heaton

REVANCHE...
LAST DAYS OF DISCO...
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
STARGATE SG-1: CHILDREN OF THE GODS...
STARGATE ATLANTIS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
MANAGEMENT...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...

KC Kevin Clemons

Freddy Got Fingered...

JU Jeff Ulmer

Secure The Second Season of The Border on DVD August 25...
THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE 9TH SEASON...
Dance Me Outside kicks onto DVD May 6, 2008...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

The Criterion Collection presents
Mafioso (1962)

"You guys are exactly the way I left you eight years ago."
- Nino (Alberto Sordi)

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: March 04, 2008

Stars: Alberto Sordi, Norma Bengell
Director: Alberto Lattuada

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:43m:14s
Release Date: March 18, 2008
UPC: 715515028226
Genre: gangster


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B-AB C+

DVD Review

Given this film's title and its Sicilian provenance, you might expect it to be a forerunner to the Mob pictures of Francis Coppola and Martin Scorsese, a link between Neorealism and the post-Code renaissance in Hollywood—but after a couple of frames (or even just a glance at the jokey DVD cover art), it's quickly clear that we're in for something else entirely, more of a cosa nostra comedy of manners. (It's a movie with a sensibility closer to After Hours than GoodFellas.) Alberto Lattuada's black comedy can be tonally uneven and structurally is rather ungainly—it sometimes feels like you're watching mismatched halves of different movies—but it's got a wry sensibility and an affection for Sicily that goes a long way.

The film starts off rather jarringly looking almost like a Milanese industrial film. We meet Nino (Alberto Sordi), a manager in a northern Italian automotive plant, clocking out just before his vacation—he's about to take his lovely young wife and their two little daughters to meet his family, for the first time, in Sicily, but not before agreeing to perform a favor for his boss: the delivery of a gift to Don Vincenzo, who we are led to understand is the local capo for this thing of ours in Nino's home town. Lattuada has an eye for the landscape, and for the procedural—he loves the cars, trains and boats that the family must take on its arduous journey, and when they make it to their destination, much of the film is about intra-Italian cultural differences. Nino's Sicilian family is boisterous, exuberant; his wife, Marta, is more reserved, so it's no surprise that they think she's stuck up, and she thinks they're more than a little coarse. Much of the story is about the pull of the old neighborhood, and of how it is informed by the code of omertà—Nino's pals are exactly the same, and the unspoken governance of the town by Don Vincenzo and his soldiers is made abundantly clear when one of the old gang is foolish enough to inform on another.

Just when he thought he was out, they pull him back in—though he doesn't say as much, it seems clear that Nino headed north to get out of the orbit of Don Vincenzo and his comrades, but now that he is back, the family is intent on putting Nino's loyalty to the test. The second half of the film becomes a more conventional action picture, whereas the first had been a frisky comedy of social mores—some of the plot turns are abrupt and I don't want to give them away, but you can't help noticing that Nino gets treated much like suicide bombers do before they're dispatched to commit their heinous crimes, with the promise of everlasting glory, for their families here on earth, and for themselves in the hereafter.

The movie kind of moves forward in fits and starts, and can be a little unsatisfying—it's neither funny enough to provide lots of belly laughs, nor sufficiently interested in the workings of organized crime to be a wholly successful mob picture. But it's kind of intriguing as a mash-up, with a Neorealist's eye for the Sicilian landscape, a tongue firmly in its cheek while examining familial and social mores, and with enough passing familiarity to take much of the mob's workings for granted. And Sordi helps Lattuada hold the whole thing together—he can be broadly comic, but his Nino never becomes such a buffoon that we lose sight of the fact that first and foremost he's a family man, and wants to protect his little girls. It's not riotous and it's decidedly uneven, but it's clever enough to win over your good will.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.66:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: A glimmering transfer, one that looks as good as any Italian film from the period, and better than most. Location shooting can be unforgiving to some of the film stocks of the 1960s, but the black-and-white photography looks saturated and nuanced throughout. Exemplary work.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoItalian and Sicilianno


Audio Transfer Review: Any Italian you may speak will be sorely tested here, for much of the dialogue is in a heavy Sicilian dialect. Those of us principally reading along with the subtitles are in good stead, though; the mono track is certainly sufficiently clean.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
2 Original Trailer(s)
1 Documentaries
2 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. gallery of caricatures (see below)
  2. accompanying booklet
  3. color bars
Extras Review: Just a few choice extras, focusing on the film's director. A 1996 Italian television profile (16m:34s) of Lattuada, from a documentary series called Ritratti d'autore (Portraits of Artists), gives us a fine portrait of the man, with his stories, cigars, screenplays and props all in abundance. (Lattuada died in 2005.) The movie found a new audience when it was screened at the 2006 New York Film Festival, and on hand for the festivities was the director's widow, Carla Del Peggio—in an interview (8m:12s) from the festival, she discusses meeting her husband, the making of the film, and also her father, actor Ugo Attanasio. Her son, Alessandro Lattuada, discusses fond memories of his father in an interview (7m:36s) of his own, and particularly goofy on the disc is a gallery of caricatures of many of the film's characters, created by artist Keiko Kimura, for the movie's 2007 theatrical re-release. (One trailer is from the original theatrical run, the other from this re-release.) And the accompanying booklet features an essay on the film by Philip Lopate, and the text of a 1982 interview with the director, conducted by Claudio Camerini.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

A peculiar mixture of genres, with elements of the travelogue, the family comedy and the mob movie, it's not a wholly satisfying film, but its unevenness actually accounts for much of its charm.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

comedy, television, donna dixon, bosom buddies, dan aykroyd, james brown biopic, get on up, saturday night live, doctor detroit, fx, fargo, martin freeman, billy bob thornton, allison tolman, animation, drama, tca awards, breaking bad, true detective, matther mcconaughey, hbo, music, itunes festival 2014, september, pharrell williams, kylie minogue, maroon 5, david guetta, sam smith, blondie, beck, kasabian, movie, philip seymour hoffman, february death, cooper, tallulah, willa, mimi odonnell, james cahill jr., david friedman, box office, movies, action, app, james garner, maverick, the rockford files, devine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood, 8 simple rules, the children's hour, doris day, reality, marvel comics, thor, femail, god of thunder, mjolmir, super hero, horror, johnny winter, blues guitar player, zurich switzerland, johnny winter album, willie dixon, walter horton, sex tape, the purge: anarchy, planes: fire & rescue, dawn of the planet of the apes, documentary, soccer, world cup, germany, argentina, mario goetze, dancing with the stars, abc, cheryl burke, botox, no eating disorder, no plastic surgery, simian flu, matt reeves, rick jaffa, amada silver, mark bomback, andy serkis, jason clark, keri russell, kodi smit-mcphee and gary oldman, daytime talk, the view, rosie o'donnell. whoopi goldberg, elisabeth hasselbeck, emmy nominations, game of thrones, house of cards

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too
Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact