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Rififí en la Ciudad
Chasse à la Mafia

Spain/France 1963
produced by
José López Brea, Pío Ballestros (executive), Jess Franco (associate) for Albatros
directed by Jess Franco
starring Fernando Fernán Gómez, Jean Servais, Laura Granados, Antonio Prieto, Robert Manuel, Maria Vincent, Dina Loy, Agustín González, Manuel Gas, Luis Marín, Ángel Menéndez, Serafin García Vázquez, Jacinto San Emeterio, Joaquín Pamplona, Davidson Hepburn, Greta Marcos, Antonio Jiménez Escribano, Antonio Padilla, Javier de Rivera, José Luis Zalde, Pilar Vela, Lola del Pino, María Rosa Mallén, Blanquita Diwoney, Enrique Navarro, Gonzalo Linares, José Castell, Emiliano Lizares, Tomás de Molina, Frank Bana, Rafael Hernández
screenplay by Juan Cobos, Jess Franco, Gonzalo Sebastián de Erice, based on the novel Vous souvenez-vous de Paco? by Charles Exbrayat, music by Daniel J. White

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Juan (Serafín García Vázquez), barman of the Stardust Club and police informer, has disappeared, and his buddy, sergeant detective Miguel Mora (Fernando Fernán Gómez) is quick to suspect Leprince (Jean Servais), a rich businessman running for senator, who promises to bring justice to the region but seems to have his hands in every dirty business in town. In his desperate attempts to find Juan, Mora goes to Leprince's house to accuse him personally - bad idea, because now Leprince knows Mora is after him, so his men throw Juan's corpse through into Mora's house through a window that night. Mora however is not one to give up this easily, and since this incident has only infuriated in, he storms into Leprince's office at the Stardust Club to ... well, I don't know what exaclty he wanted to do, but Leprince's men beat him up really badly, then throw him into the sea to drown. Luckily though, two of Juan's friends (Dina Loy, Luis Marín) who mistake Mora for Juan save him from certain death. However, Leprince sees to it that Mora soon gets fired from his job at the police, even if the chief of police (Antonio Prieto) is sympathetic to his cause.

Because Juan was a personal friend of his, Mora is passionate of the case, so not being a policeman anymore can't stop him from investigating further. However, somebody else seems to be enthusiastic about the whole case as well, somebody who one by one kills the people responsible for Juan's death (their identities being pretty much an open secret by now).

Nina Laverne (Maria Vincent) is Leprince's lover and the singer at the Starlight Club, but she also was Juan's girl once and has never quite forgotten him, so eventually she turns to Mora to pass some information on to him - information that Mora uses to force the chief of police into raiding the Starlight Club, where tons of drugs are found hidden in the main chandelier.

Leprince is quick to realize it must have been Nina who tipped off the police, so he kills her together with his henchman Miralles (Manuel Gas), then they ditch the corpse into the sea, and Leprince helps Miralles skip town in a freight train - where Miralles is found and killed by the mystery killer, who then turns out to be Pilar (Laura Granados), Mora's girlfriend.

Mora searches Juan's apartment and finds a busload of loveletters - including some very passionate ones written by Pilar. He returns home just to tell her that he'll leave her, and leaves the loveletters with her as explanation. Pilar now wants to kill the man who has caused everything, Leprince, but her eyes are clouded by tears on the drive there, so she drives her car over a cliff and dies.

Mora calls the chief of police and persuades him to raid Leprince's home, then he gets there ahead of the police, forces Leprince to open his safe and hand over incriminating evidence at gunpoint, then intentionally gives Leprince access to a weapon which he uses to shoot Mora - and that was exactly the mistake Mora wanted him to make, because the police has just arrived on the scene, and now Leprince is a murderer, and there is no more loophole for even the most powerful politicians. Leprince tries to make an escape, but is eventually shot dead by the chief of police.

 

A slightly pulpy crime thriller that shows director Jess Franco, still early in his career, at his best: He shows directorial verve and elegance, at the same time makes the movie look hip, shows inventiveness in terms of cameraangles and cameramovement, and tips his head to classic Hollywood film noir without ever becoming a mere copycat. Also, he shows his mastery in staging musical numbers and weaving them into the film's crime plot. Add to this a great plot full of plottwists, a competent cast, nice locations and one of Daniel J.White's best scores, and you are left with a pretty good film.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD