(director/writer: Richard Wilson; screenwriters: Bertram
Millhauser/Richard Collins; cinematographer: Lucien
Ballard; editor: Walter Hannemann;
music: David Raksin; cast: Ernest Borgnine (Lt.
Joseph Petrosino), Zohra Lampert (Adelina
Saulino), Alan Austin (Johnny
Corsaro (Vito Zarillo),
Robert Ellenstein (Luigi Di Sarno),
Robert F. Simon (Police
commissioner), Howard Caine (Enrico
Duke (Lupo), Carlo Tricoli (Don Cesare),
Renata Vanni (Mama
Saulino), Bruno Della Santina
Judy Strangis (Marisa); Runtime:
111; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Richard Wilson;
Warner Bros.; 1960)
"Aside from Marty, this is my favorite Ernest Borgnine role where he plays a good guy."
by Dennis Schwartz
1906, in Manhattan's Little Italy, after there are a
few violent attempts at extortion of Italian small
business owners by the Black Hand, a mafia
organization started in the old country, and
it's found the victims are too afraid to talk, Lt.
Joseph Petrosino (Ernest Borgnine)
gets approval by the police
commissioner (Robert F. Simon)
to form a special squad made up only of Italian
policemen and it's called the Italian Squad. The
squad goes undercover, posing as members of the
community and thereby are able to identify and convict
a number of Black Hand criminals, something that never
happened before. One of Petrosino's
accomplishments is saving the life of the great
opera singer Enrico Caruso (Howard
Caine) from a bomb planted in the
singer's limousine, after he was threatened by
the Mafia to pay or die.
Wilson keeps things tense until the end, and manages a number of memorable scenes that include: the opening scene of a Mafia caused accident of a little girl (Judy Strangis) dressed as an angel in an afternoon outdoor Italian religious festival. The angel falls to the street and breaks her back and legs when the rope was cut by a thug, from one of the apartments used in her crossing. Secondly, when Petrosino's gunned down in the deserted night streets of Palermo when the Sicilian Mafia boss, Don Cesare (Carlo Tricoli), orders his hit after identifying himself. And, lastly, the Mafia enforcer goons, led by the vicious Lupo (John Duke), roughing up the baker Saulino (Bruno Della Santina) in the dawn hours when he opens his shop to light the ovens and the laughing thugs stuff him in the oven for not paying the extortion money. When the the middle-aged Lieutenant gets the baker's case, he finds time to romance the baker's twenty-year-old educated daughter Adelina Saulino (Zohra Lampert) and marries her before going to Sicily to check-out the Sicilian Mafia connections to America.
REVIEWED ON 7/25/2012 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ