Colt 38 Special Squad (1976)

Il Marsigliese “The Black Angel” has been killing people left and right in Turin. One cop, Inspector Vanni (Marcel Bozzuffi, The French ConnectionContraband) has had enough. Instead of going by the book, the death of his wife leads Vanni to give out unlicensed .38 Colt Diamondback revolvers to a select group of officers that he trusts, making them the Colt 38 Special Squad.

What makes it even better is that “The Black Angel” is one of the best Italian movie villains of all time, the dashing and yet oh so reprehensible Ivan Rassimov. Vanni killed his brother, so he hunted down Vanni’s wife and killed her in front of their son. Making this villain even more insidious is the fact that his gang goes beyond simple murder to becoming near supervillains, planting bombs all over the city.

This is a movie filled with stunts that look beyond dangerous, probably because they were filmed with no permits and one shot at glory. Vanni and “The Black Angel” are two sides of the same rage-filled soul and only one of them will escape this film alive. Vanni’s gun jammed the last time they met and he blames himself for everything that follows; that .38 Colt Diamondback is the only thing left he can rely on.

Perhaps most importantly, your eyes are not deceiving you. That’s Grace Jones singing in the nightclub scenes. Her being in this movie is alone worth the price of owning it.

Sadly, this would be the last film of Massimo Dallamano, who was the cinematographer on Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More before making one of the best giallo ever, What Have You Done to Solange? (and the cinematographer on that was Aristide Massaccesi, of course), as well as A Black Veil for LisaWhat Have They Done to Your Daughters? and The Night Child. He died in a car accident soon after this movie finished production.

Savage Three is one of five movies on Arrow Video’s Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers 1973-1977. These films are great examples of the Italian poliziotteschi genre and the set includes high def versions of this movie, Savage Three, Highway RacerLike Rabid Dogs and No, the Case Is Happily Resolved. This version of this film is a brand new 2K restoration exclusive to this release and it comes with an interview and introduction by composer Stelvio Cipriani and an interview with editor Antonio Siciliano. You can get it from MVD.

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