Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 6th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1978
Director: Duke Mitchell
Writer: Duke Mitchell
Cast: Duke Mitchell, Vic Caesar, Lorenzo Dodo, Louis Zito, Cara Salerno, Fred Otash, John Strong, Jimmy Williams, George ‘Buck’ Flower
DVD Released: October, 2009
Approximate Running Time: 79 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: JM Music
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $35 (limited Edition 500 copies)
“The Italian hasn’t been disgraced. You and I have disgraced it. This old woman here is the one who has been disgraced. This is the one who has been taking the punches. She was the one who was handed the organ grinder and monkey when she got off the boat. You see these hands? Know what they smell of? Oregano! Pasinigol! Beautiful herbs! They gave you mostaccioli, lasagna, pizza. Some of the most appreciated foods in the world. But what did we give her, Chucky? We gave her violence! We gave her death! We gave her dishonor!” – Mimi
After the worldwide success of The Godfather and its sequel Godfather 2, it was only inevitable that there would be a multitude of similar films trying to cash in the Godfather’s success. On the surface Massacre Mafia Style might appear to be nothing more than an exploitative take on the mafia. That is until you look past its rougher edges and get to the heart of the story at hand. In order to fully appreciate Massacre Mafia Style one must fully understand its star Duke Mitchell (who also wrote, produced and directed the film).
The plot for Massacre Mafia Style chronicles the rise and fall of a mafia Don’s son named Mimi. Not satisfied with his life Mimi leaves his son with his father in Sicily and returns to America in hope of trying to find success he feels he needs to provide for his son. Mimi has short fuse which quickly leads to him pissing off just about everyone who he encounters.
As the film progresses and Mimi’s unquenchable desire for power is further accelerated by his more violent side. Mimi is a man who knows no boundaries and somewhere along the way he loses sight of his original goal to provide for his son. In the midst of all the violence which unfolds at the core of this film is a story about family and more importantly as story about a father and his son.
Despite its limited resources Massacre Mafia Style stills manages to achieve most of its goals. If anything that this film is lacking is that at just under eighty minutes the story feels constricted. From an entertainment angel the film jumps right in with its opening sequence in which Mimi and Jolly go on a murder rampage through an office building. And from this opening sequence until the film’s bloody finale things don’t let up for one second.
Massacre Mafia Style is presented in a in a 1.33:1 (full frame) aspect ratio. This transfer has not been flagged for progressive playback. This transfer has been sourced from a one-inch video master and the film is an open matte presentation (the film was framed with the intention of being shown in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Colors and black levels fluctuate with details looking as good as one can expect considering the source.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio mix does exhibit some background noise and minor distortion issues. Despite these flaws dialog is easy never hard to follow.
Extras for this release are spread over two DVD’s. Extras on disc one include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 16 seconds – letterboxed widescreen), two radio spots and a tribute to Durante trailer (1 minutes 56 seconds – 1.33:1 ‘full frame’ aspect ratio). The remaining extras on disc one are three audio commentaries. The first audio commentary is with Jeffery Mitchell and John R. Hand, the second audio commentary is with Jeffery Mitchell, Frankie Ray (comedy writer for Lenny Bruce) and John R. Hand and the third audio commentary with John R. Hand. There are three Easter Eggs that can be found on disc one. The first one a trailer for Exposed can be located via the audio menu page, the second one is twenty plus minutes of Duke Mitchell songs which can be found on the chapter selections page and the third one is a trailer for Bela Lugosi Meets a Brookyln Gorilla which can be found on the trailers menu page.
Extras on the second disc includes an extensive stills gallery, forty six minutes of live performances with Duke Mitchell and various drafts of the screenplay on DVD Rom. Also extras include an extended interview with Frankie Ray (11 minute 27 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and an extended interview with George Jacobs (24 minute 27 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and a mini audio commentary with George Jacobs (Frank Sinatra’s assistant and valet) and Jeffery Mitchell (14 minutes 10 seconds). The main extra included on disc two is a feature length documentary titled “Like Father, Like Son” (63 minute 22 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), which includes comments from Jeffery Mitchell, Frankie Ray and George Jacobs. All of the content on disc two has been flagged for progressive playback. Rounding out the extras is a DVD insert which comes with Duke Mitchell’s Italian cheat sheet.
While there are some instances where the information covered in these extras does overlap. Thankfully there enough different things that are discussed in the three audio commentaries, extended interviews and the documentary “Like Father, Like Son” to keep things from ever getting stale. Of course the most fascinating and entertaining comments come from Jeffery Mitchell. Overall while most will find the audio / video presentation to be lacking, the wealth of extras included with this release make this a must have release for fans of Duke Mitchell and Massacre Mafia Style.
Note: There are plans from Grindhouse Releasing to release their own DVD of Massacre Mafia Style, which they are sourcing from a 35mm print.