Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 18th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, January 11th, 1974
Alternate Titles: Cry of a Prostitute: Love Kills, Guns of the Big Shots, The Big Shots
Approximate running time: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen
Director: Andrea Bianchi
Writers: Piero Regnoli, Sergio Simonetti
Cinematographer: Carlo Carlini
Composer: Sante Maria Romitelli
Cast: Henry Silva, Barbara Bouchet, Fausto Tozzi, Vittorio Sanipoli, Mario Landi
Synopsis: A mafia hit man returns to Sicily and pits two rival mafia families against each other in hope that they will wipe each other.
Cry of a Prostitute was directed by Andrea Bianchi whose other notable films include Strip Nude for Your Killer, Malabimba: The Malicious Whore and Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror. Key collaborators include screenwriter Piero Regnoli (Patrick Still Lives, Satan’s Baby Doll), cinematographer Carlo Carlini (The BIg Gundown, Death Rides a Horse) and composer Sante Maria Romitelli (Hatchet for the Honeymoon).
Content wise, this film has two obvious influences The God Father and a Fistful of Dollars. And though this type of borrowing is nothing new to the world of Italian genre cinema, it is the way in which these two elements are fused together are that ultimately sets this film apart from the rest of its contemporaries.
Right from the moment that Henry Silva’s (The Italian Connection, The Boss) character Tony Aniante arrives on the screen it becomes crystal clear what this film wants to achieve. And though his motivations at first may be ambiguous two the rival mafia families that he is trying to pit against each other, the same cannot be said for the rest of the characters which populate this film. They are all looking out for one number and anyone who gets in their way is disposed of.
The plot revolves around two Mafia families that are battling over control of a heroin operation. And the reason why they are now in the crossfire is because of the way in which they are transporting said drugs. This is not setting well with the hiring up Don’s who have sent Tony Aniante to Sicily to clean of their mess.
As mentioned before though there is a familiarity to the events which unfold in this film. The film manages to retain just enough of its own identity that pacing never proves to be an issue. In fact things actually move along at a brisk pace.
In other areas of the production the film’s visuals do a superb job reinforcing the bleakness to the story at hand. And when it comes to violence there is never a shortage in this film, which has some of the gut wrenching moments to ever appear in a Poliziotteschi film genre. Both scenes also feature Henry Silva and Barbara Bouchet (Don’t Torture a Duckling), in the 1st of these two scenes Silva’s character brutally rapes Bouchet’s character after she challenges his manhood. And in the 2nd and without a doubt more gruesome scene Silva’s character beats Bouchet’s character within an inch of her life and thus giving her lover the mafia Don another reason to want to kill him.
Performance wise it is hard to judge the rest of the cast against Henry Silva’s towering performance, which easily ranks amongst his finest work as an actor. And though he is known for playing intense characters like the one he plays in this film. There is something special about his performance in this film as he takes things up a few notches.
Besides Silva’s performance the only other performance that leaves any lasting impression would be Barbara Bouchet in the role of Margie, a former prostitute that has worked her way up to the position of being a Mafia Don’s wife. Also though her role is almost secondary, it is anything but a routine portrayal of a former call girl. This character’s nymphomaniac side ads another layer that makes her all the more devious and fun to watch.
I know of two DVD releases for Cry of a Prostitute, the 1st one a Italian release via Flamingo Video and the 2nd one an U.S. release via from the ever so dubious company named Televista. And then there was a potential release from Camera Obscura that has been put on hold indefinitely, since suitable film elements cannot be located.