Saturday, January 08, 2011

Michael Caine's Italian Vacation

Ah, the 70s. Disco music, disco balls, platform shoes, afros, and Mickey Rooney in shorts. You heard me! Actually, he's about as buff as can be in 1972's Pulp. Having success with director Mike Hodges the previous year with Get Carter, they teamed up for this mess. Apparently, it was the last straw for Caine, but Hodges would later redeem himself as a British George Lucas of sorts with Flash Gordon and Morons from Outer Space... please note that I said "of sorts."
But back to the instant case. Part of the whole 70s motif is indeed the insufferable Italian film; the kind that Lina Wertmuller made, for example. And, of course, The Godfather duet of 1972 and 1974 fame. The Aussies would take the latter half of the decade. As for this film, it must've seemed a nice cultural mix of sorts, but it's basically an Italian film, but with a British star and director, and of course the insufferable Mickey Rooney. Arguably, not as Italian as, say, Red Sonja.
As for the plot, well, I'd hate to ruin it, and I probably will anyway by pointing out that it's in the noir tradition of the usual lot: Hammett, Chandler, The Big Sleep, what have you. Caine is quite similar to Mike Hammer in this one, actually! Clearly he's a babe magnet, and revels in it to the PG-13 rated hilt, but he put all that behind him when he married Shakira. The dialogue is perfect, perhaps a little too perfect. Somehow, the rest of the film fails to live up to the dialogue! Too many diversions, I guess. This is the second time I and my viewing companions started to watch this after TiVo-ing it off of Turner Classic Movies, but we soldiered through it this time all the way to the end. I think I was the only one who made it.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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