Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 26th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1976
Director: Ruggero Deodato
Writers: Fernando Di Leo, Alberto Marras, Vincenzo Salviani
Cast: Marc Porel, Ray Lovelock, Adolfo Celi, Franco Citti, Silvia Dionisio, Marino Masé, Renato Salvatori, Sofia Dionisio, Alvaro Vitali
DVD released: July 26th, 2011
Approximate running time: 94 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian, Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Raro Video
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.98
Live Like a Cop Die Like a Man was directed by Ruggero Deodato, who’s other notable film’s include Cannibal Holocaust and House on the Edge of the Park. The screenplay for Live Like a Cop Die Like a Man was co-written by Fernando Di Leo (Calibre 9) a filmmaker in his own right, who work within the Poliziotteschi is widely considered the high water mark for this genre. The cinematographer on Live Like a Cop Die Like a Man was Guglielmo Mancori, who’s other notable films as a cinematographer include Run, Man, Run, A Quiet Place to Kill (Paranoia) and Web of the Spider.
With a title like Live Like a Cop Die Like a Man, it is not surprising that this film is one of the more violent entry’s to emerge out of the Poliziotteschi genre. Right from the get go this film establishes a brutal tone that not only sustains throughout, it actually escalates to a fever pitch by the film’s explosive conclusion.
Whether it be the film’s lengthy motorcycle chase that opens the film or the way in which this film’s to main characters Anthony and Alfredo, who quickly resolve a hostage situation. Pacing is never an issue as things move along at a break neck pace. There is an immediacy to Anthony and Alfredo’s actions that makes the things they do all the easier to digest. Sure they don’t exactly play by book, but then those who they are taking down don’t have a total disregard for law and order.
Narrative wise, though the plot is fairly routine cops verse thugs. It is the way in which Anthony and Alfredo approach their job that sets this film apart when compared to other Poliziotteschi films. Another key ingredient to why this film has such an enduring legacy, is the way in which it depicts brutality of screen. Instead of bringing suspects, they torture and in some cases break their neck. And when trying to get information from a female suspect, they use their position to gain sexual favors. And while there is an abundance of violence that erupts on screen, most of which is directed towards human suspects. There is a scene in two suspects being chased by Anthony and Alfredo run over a blind man’s seeing eye dog. Had this been just about any other director this scene would not be a disturbing. A few years later Ruggero Deodato would direct what is arguably one of the most controversial film’s in Italian history, the aforementioned Cannibal Holocaust. A notorious film know for it’s cruel depiction of animal’s being tortured to death.
Performance the is not a single performance that is lacking. The chemistry between Marc Porel (Don’t Torture a Duckling) and Ray Lovelock (Oasis of Fear) is without a doubt this film greatest asset. Regrettably a proposed sequel would never materialize. It would have been interesting to see where they went with these characters. Two other performances of note include Adolfo Celi (Danger: Diabolik) in the role of the boos of the anticrime squad and Renato Salvatori (Rocco and His Brothers) in the role of Roberto Pasquini, a.k.a. Bibi, the crime boss that the anticrime squad are desperate to locate and take down.
Raro Video presents Live Like a Cop Die Like a Man in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This is a brand new transfer from Raro Video, who now present the film in an anamorphic widescreen (their previous DVD released was non anamorphic / letterboxed widescreen). The source material used for this transfer is in superb shape. Colors look vibrant, flesh tones look accurate and black levels look consistently good throughout. Details look sharp and there are no problems with compression.
This release comes with two audio options, a Dolby Digital Mono mix in Italian and a Dolby Digital Mono mix in English. Both audio mixes are in very good shape as dialog always comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. It should be noted that the problems with English audio from Raro Video’s previous DVD release have been corrected for this release. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free. It should also be noted that these do not appear to be ‘dubtitles’ and that they are direct translation of the Italian dialog.
Extras for this release include 20 minutes T.V. spots that were directed by Ruggero Deodato (who also supplies audio commentary in Italian with English subtitles) and a documentary titled ‘Violent Cops’ (41 minutes 45 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Italian with English subtitles) that includes comments from Ruggero Deodato, actors Al Cliver, Ray Lovelock, producer’s Gianluca Curti, Armando Novelli, weapons expert / stunt man Gilberto Galimberti. Also included with this release is a four page booklet with liner notes the film and bio for Ruggero Deodato. Topics discussed include the cast, the film’s stunts – most notably the opening motorcycle chase, the violent tone of the film and a proposed sequel that never came fruition. Overall Live Like a Cop Die Like a Man gets a first rate release from Raro Video.