Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Super Bitch. Not a superhero film but a prime slice of 70s Italian poliziotteschi that also goes under the titles Blue Movie Blackmail and Mafia Junction, though none are as way out as the typically marque-filling Italian original "Si Può Essere Più Bastardi dell'Ispettore Cliff?," or "It May Be More Bastards, Eh Inspector Cliff?" It covers all the genre conventions: nudity, shootouts, a car chase, a vicious beating, cold blooded murder, corruption and double-crosses left, right and centre, with Ivan Rassimov doing his best Clint Eastwood impersonation (as is the voice artist who dubs him on the English track) as the corrupt undercover cop who's even dirtier than Harry. He's working as an enforcer for a gang of drug runners operating an escort agency in London who film their more prominent clients on the job and blackmail them into using their influence to get their drugs past customs. Naturally, he doesn't bother much with any of the rules. He'll happily sleep with the agency's star performer Stephanie Beacham, kill rivals en masse and possibly even his own suspicious superiors if need be and is lining up a neat pension plan for himself that depends on getting everybody else to kill each other and leave no witnesses.
There's some wonderfully eclectic casting here. Where else could you see the headmaster from Grange Hill as a narcotics agent, Felix Leiter from Goldfinger doing a bunny impersonation with a prostitute, Blake from Blake's Seven as a plainclothes cop, Stanley Kubrick's assistant and former Fenn Street Gang member Leon Vitali as a gay blackmailing escort who gets beaten up while Tutte Lemkow joyfully plays the guitar or, best of all, Patricia Hayes as the terrifying boss of an unrelentingly musical Turkish family running drugs from their barge, Mama Laturca? Whether she's speeding in a sports car, drinking beer from the bottle, laughing manically or warning Rassimov, "You double-cross Mama, my darling, and you will discover that under this skirt there hangs a pair that will put your own to shame!", she's great value for money. She even has her own theme song, with her children serenading her in the car on the way back from the airport with "When she kills, she kills with perfect skill!"
The casting isn't the only surprise in the credits, with Fistful of Dollars cinematographer-turned-director Massimo Dallamano somehow managing to snag Oscar-winning Bridge on the River Kwai cinematographer Jack Hildyard to shoot the picture. It may have played on the wrong side of a double-bill with Swedish porn flick Massage Parlour in the UK, but there's enough of a budget for the film to shoot not just in London but also Beirut and New York as well, giving it better production values than many of its contemporaries. The action scenes aren't especially exciting, it's true, but Dallamano makes a much better job of the crime genre than he did with horror in The Cursed Medallion/Night Child, and despite the healthy body count the film is more plot than action driven. Oh yes, and Stephanie Beacham shows off her spectacular assets. Thankfully, Patricia Hayes doesn't. Not top tier poliziotteschi, but there's more than enough here to satisfy fans of the genre, with Riz Ortolani's funky 70s score the icing on the cake.
As with most of their Italian exploitation titles, Arrow's DVD release is a mixed bag: while it does offer both the English and subtitled Italian soundtrack options (with one brief scene in the English dub subtitled), it's a very inconsistent transfer. Some scenes are fine while others look like they were sourced from video, with the quality veering from acceptable but never outstanding to a bit poor but never terrible. Extras are a bit thinner on the ground than the packaging makes them appear: a very brief rememberance of Rassimov by director Ruggero Deodato and an 18-minute primer and booklet on the genre.