Arrow Academy is proud to present L Assassino, the debut feature of the late Italian director Elio Petri, a man whose films have often been unjustly overlooked in favour of other more heralded filmmakers. L Assassino tells the story of 30-something antiques dealer Alfredo Martelli (Marcello Mastroianni) who, at the film s outset, finds himself under suspicion for murdering his wealthy older lover. As the investigation presses on, a series of flashbacks gives us an insight into Alfredo s character and the nature of his relationship with his now deceased lover Adalgisa Micheline Presle) With its Kafkaesque mood and distincly political bent, Petri s first film bears many of the hallmarks of his later work. In the director s own words, L Assassino reflected the changes wrought by the early 60s.
Released in 1961 this is a beautifully made and artfully shot piece of cinema. The plot is pretty simple in that playboy Nello (Marcello Mastroianni) is arrested at home and asked to go to the police station. Once there they are slow to reveal why he is being questioned. It soon transpires that his former, older lover has been murdered. Bad news for him is that he is suspect number one and they ain't looking too hard for a number two.
Then we start to get the back story told in flashback and soon the past is getting closer to the present day. That is when clever and imaginative camera work starts to blend the past with the now in some brilliant ways. This was cameraman Carlo di Palma who was a favourite of Woody Allen.
The question throughout is did he or didn't he - is he just a bit of a cad or a manipulative killer. And I have to say that the balance is done just right making your loyalties ebb and flow with the turning of the scenes. Superbly directed by Elio Petri and with music from Henri Salvador - who has a style that seems to have influenced Henri Mancini. For the time it was made it is a technical and artful marvel. Time has been fairly kind too in that it still has a universal theme of where the good ends and the bad takes off and I have to say I really enjoyed it. This is the fully restored edition and it has been done lovingly - bringing the whole film to life with an immediate vibrancy. In Italian with very good sub titles, this is one for Euro cinephiles and those who love cinema history.
A very clever film with another superb performance from Marcello Mastroianni He plays an antiques dealer arrested on suspicion of murdering his wealthy and older lover. The police seemed convinced, but there is only circumstantial evidence and he seems to be suspected as much for his lifestyle and presumed lack of moral scruple. Is he guilty or not? He finds its difficult to convince the police and there are some general filmic comments of the social mores of the time in Italy. The DVD extras contain an excellent introduction by Pascale Iannone and a fascinating documentary about the screenwriter, Tonino Guerra, showing extracts from some of the many films he has written, making you want to see to see them as well.
A wonderfully restored piece of Italian cinema on Blu-ray. This is the first full feature from Elio Petri who has now been largely forgotten. Marcello Mastroianni puts in a charismatic performance and the camera work by Carlo di Palma is quite extraordinary.