Blood and Diamonds 1977 ****

Releasing a kidnapping drama at the time of the kidnapping of Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro probably didn’t help the prospects of Fernando Di Leo’s thriller, but decades later, it’s a superior Poliziottesch with a number of unique elements. Original title Rome Calibre 9 indicates a follow-up of sorts to Milan Calibre 9 was intended; Claudio Cassinelli takes the lead as Guido, who comes out of jail and faces up to a crime boss Rizzo (US import Martin Balsam) who he believes killed his girlfriend as the left the prison. There’s also romance in the form of Barbara Bouchet as his previous squeeze Lisa, and Pier Paul Capponi does a nice job as Rizzo’s henchman, who has a consistent line in one-liners; he insists that Guido ‘conforms’ at every opportunity. The usual great music, wallpaper and detail from Di Leo, but it’s Cassinelli’s work as Guido that really stands out; baleful and brooding, he’s a compelling leading man in a tight little tale of diamonds and intrigue.


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