AKA: Murder Inferno, Wipeout
Director: Fernando Di Leo
Starring: Henry Silva, Richard Conte, Gianni Garko, Antonia Santilli, Howard Ross, Marino Masé, Claudio Nicastro, Andrea Aureli, Pier Paolo Capponi
Music: Luis Enríquez Bacalov
Based on the novel “Il Mafioso” by Peter McCurtin
Does any other actor do ‘menace’ like Henry Silva? Sure there were some good ‘bad’ actors in the seventies. John Saxon, Michael Ansara and John Colicos were all featured as nefarious characters in films too numerous to mention. They were bad. They were evil. But were they menacing? No, that was solely Henry Silva’s domain, and during the seventies and eighties he was the king of ‘menace’. The Boss, an Italian Euro Crime thriller, showcases Silva’s unique brand of intimidation: death and destruction.
The film, set in Palermo, opens with Don Antonio Attardi (Andrea Aureli ) and some mafia colleagues arriving at a cinema to watch a private screening of the latest, top-shelf porn from Copenhagen. Sneaking into the projection room is Nick Lanzetta (Henry Silva). Lanzetta assembles a bloody great grenade launcher, and then fires some shots into the cinema. Don Attardi and his colleagues are blown to pieces.
Lanzetta is a vicious soldier for mafia Don Giuseppe Daniello (Claudio Nicastro). And as you will have surmised, Attardi was Daniello’s main competitor. Not anymore. But Daniello, while being high on the mafia chain, isn’t the local head of the syndicate. That honour goes to Don Carrasco (Richard Conte). Corrasco is the Boss of Bosses. And it is under his orders, that Daniello has arranged the hit.
Accompanied by Don Daniello, Lanzetta, dressed in black turtle neck which just screams out ‘I am a killer’, arrive at Don Corrasco’s palatial home. Corrasco greets them enthusiastically after their successful coup. Corasco takes Lanzetta aside and indicates that Lanzetta’s initiative and skill will help him rise in the family.
Back at the Attardi family, Cocchi (Pier Paolo Capponi) has taken control. He refuses to accept the family’s defeat and plans an all out gang war. His first move is to kidnap Don Daniello’s daughter. Cocchi telephones Don Daniello while he is meeting Corrasco and informs him that he has Rina (Antonia Santilli), Daniello’s daughter. But there is no ransom demand. It is a simple trade – Don Daniello’s life for his daughter. Naturally Daniello turns to his number one man, Lanzetta, to formulate a plan to get her back
The Boss is the third part of an unofficial Euro Crime trilogy, the other two films being Milan Calibre 9 and Manhunt, which also features Henry Silva. And this one isn’t too bad. Some Eurocrime thrillers have a tendency to be over-ripe, with a lot of sweating, shouting and wild hand movements. Thankfully The Boss plays it pretty cool. This is probably due to Silva, who is ice-cool and Richard Conte’s steady understated performance as Corrasco. Conte, after playing Don Barzini in The Godfather spend the rest of his life playing mob bosses and the like. Overall, The Boss is a very entertaining flick. As you can imagine, with the themes it encompasses, it is pretty violent. But if violence doesn’t bother you, and you’re a fan of tough mafia films, this is well worth checking out.