Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 19th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, August 7th, 1977
Director: Michele Massimo Tarantini
Writers: Dardano Sacchetti, Michele Massimo Tarantini
Cast: Luc Merenda, Giancarlo Badessi, Ferdinando Murolo, Claudio Gora
DVD released: November 15th, 2005
Approximate running time: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Italian, Dolby Digital Mono Italian, Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: No Shame
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: Dario Mauri (Luc Merenda) is cop who has recently transferred from Milan to Naples. Domenico Laurenzi is a local drug lord whose latest shipment was stolen. Domenico Laurenzi hires a hit man named Cerullo to find out who stole his drugs and where they are. Detective Mauri and his partner are looking for their big break in the case and it comes in the form of letters that contain child like drawings that are clues. The bodies start to stack as everyone connected to this case seems to be knocked off. Can Detective Mauri put the pieces of the puzzle together before Cerullo erases all the links that lead back to Domenico Laurenzi?
Michele Massimo Tarantini like his cousins Sergio and Luciano Martino has worked overall the past thirty years in a wide variety of genres with his greatest successes coming in the sex/comedy genre many of these films would star 1970’s sex goddess Edwige Fenech. Michele Massimo Tarantini is no stranger to the Italian crime thriller having directed the films Crimebusters and 7 Hours of Violence. One thing that immediately grabs you while watching A Man Called magnum is the stylistic choices Michele Massimo Tarantini makes like going for a more realistic look and feel to the film instead of trying to rely heavily like most of his contemporaries’ on over the top violent set pieces.
This film contains a few masterfully executed chase scenes that are some the closest I have seen yet to replicate the French Connection’s notorious chase. Overall the plot is pretty straight forward and the characters are just mere pieces used to advance what plot there is. One plot element that I found very cool was the idea of having a young girl who draws clues and sends them to the police. This film is all about Luc Merenda and outside of his performance no one in the rest of the cast stand out. Merenda plays Dario Mauri a detective from Milan while he has no patience when it comes to the bad guys he snuffs out. He does show a softer side as he befriends the young girl who is sending him clues. This is not his best performance by any means still the best parts of the film is when he interacts with the actor who plays his partner.
They make too many jokes that often insinuate that there may be some hidden desire between the two. Of course this is all done in jest and is not meant to be taken seriously. Part of the problem I feel is that comedy that regional doesn’t translate well in areas around the world that are not in tune with that type of humor. There is plenty of humor in the film unfortunately most of it falls flat. Franco Campanino disco like score makes you want to get up and boogie as it is just to funky for its own good. The score even though it sounds dated it fits in nicely with the rest of the film. Overall A Man Called Magnum never fully decides if its wants to be a comedy or an action film which at times disrupts the mood of the film.
No Shame presents A Man Called Magnum in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The colors look nicely saturated and flesh tones look healthy. The black levels are strong and grain is kept to a minimum. Details look sharp and there are no problems with artifacts or compression and edge enhancement is kept to a minimum. There is some minor print damage in the form of specks of dirt and scratches. This is due to the source material and not the transfer. Overall No Shame has done a wonderful job with the image.
This release comes with three audio options Dolby Digital 5.1 and mono Italian language mixes and an English dubbed Dolby Digital mono mix. The English audio track has some minor hiss that never becomes to districting and besides this minor flaw the track is more then adequate. The Dolby Digital 5.1 and mono Italian language tracks sound identical and the 5.1 mix most likely if anything is spread to thin. Overall both these tracks have clean dialog and the music and effects sound evenly mixed as they never overpower the rest of the mix. Removable English subtitles have been included that are easy to read and follow.
Extras include a brief poster & still gallery that includes music from the film in the background. A collectable booklet has been included that includes bios/filmographies for Luc Merenda. The booklet also includes liner notes written by Chris D. about A Man Called Magnum and another piece written by Richard Harland Smith titled “See Italy and Die: a tourist Guide to the Poliziotteschi . As usual the text included in the collectable booklet is an interesting read that is a nice introduction into the Poliziotteschi genre. Other extras include a Fifteen minute featurette titled: “Milan Naples One Way Only” which is essentially a one on one interview with Luc Merenda that is filled with clips from the film. Merenda discusses the various Poliziotteschi films that he made and the various directors he worked with like Sergio Martino. This featurette has way to many clips from the film and I wish that they had spent more time talking with Merenda. Rounding out the extras is a feature length audio director Michele Massimo Tarantini who is alive and well despite false reports of his passing away. The audio commentary is moderated by Giona A. Nazzaro who asks Michele Massimo Tarantini questions through out its duration. There is rarely a moment of silence as each question is followed by a detailed answer from Michele Massimo Tarantini. This audio commentary is in Italian and English subtitles have been included. No Shame gives this release with a wide variety of extras that are interesting and insightful. A Man Called Magnum is an action packed film that never takes itself too seriously and most of all it is a lot of fun.