La barriera della legge (1954)
Lea Padovani (see Il diavolo bianco)
Piero Costa, also co-writer
Thunderbird Film release of a Rossano Brazzi Production.
The film opens with a car-jacking and a gun battle, as a gang of counterfeiters escape the law. One of the passengers, Anna Sylvestri, is a mysterious woman with whom the police lieutenant(Jacques Sernas) falls in love. She turns out to be the sister of one of the gang members, who is trying to convince him to leave the gang. The gang’s ringleader, Max, is Rossano’s role.
As a criminal, he is a ruthless, harsh and cold with the group under his command, but very sensitive and sweet with the women around him – as the police close in, he seems to know something is going wrong. “Even animals can sense when there’s a storm coming …” he tells his lover, Wilma, sadly, which frightens her. In fact, one of our favorite aspects of this film is his warm, affection tenderness with Wilma (buying her gifts, caressing her – and using a wonderful little intimate gesture of playfully flipping her hair onto her forehead with one finger and playing with her hair … as someone mentioned a few issues ago, it’s always those little throw-away gestures that give you the impression, “Now here’s a man who knows what he’s doing.”)
Little by little the police get closer and closer to this ring and finally capture most of them unloading a shipment of 1000 lira notes. Max is arrested at his estate after a gun battle in which Wilma is killed. Even in defeat, he is quietly dignified and self-assured. He offers his hands calmly for hand-cuffing without being asked and pauses long enough to bend down and caress Wilma’s face in tender farewell before being led away. Aldo is also killed, and Anna is finally free to love the police lieutenant.
Rossano is wonderful in this – cold and heartless in the business, while tender and affectionate with his mistress, and always controlled and powerful … and very sexy.
Farnese also worked on L’assedio di Siracusa.
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