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Franco Nero, Francoise Fabian. An Italian film director begins probing the presence of severe corruption when his latest thriller about a judge on the Mafia's payroll begins to mirror actual events and the judge is found murdered. In Italian with English audio & subtitles. 1974/color/111 min/NR/widescreen.
The Damiani/Nero Connection - Interviews with Co-Writer/Director Damiano Damiani and Star Franco Nero
"Perche' si uccide un magistrato" or "How to Kill a Judge" is somewhat of an archeological experience, much like seeing Star Wars or another 70's movie, 30 years later. Yet, the changes borne by society at large during that time, and as shown in the movie to the present, are perhaps not as great as what some people might think.
Intended commercially as a Eurofilm (Italy, Spain, Portugal, etc.) at the time, but dubbed in English for international release eventually, this work is somewhat of an acquired taste. It will be appreciated by those wanting to see some imagery of the Sicilian country side, many cities that often appear very similar to those found in countries of Roman influence. It also is curious in its presentation of how public institutions function and how public servants interact in that culture.
Another, perhaps more mundane and less glamorous aspect, is how the movie suggests a closed-mindedness of the public at large, whose imaginations, thought processes, rational building blocks are dominated by the mass media's output in terms of newspapers, magazines, TV, and yes, even movies, such that, the human subconscience is not as objective, independent, or free from manipulation as most people would like to think. At worst, with a controlled, or limited mass media, human minds follow in step with Pavlov's Dog, unless they seek out new facts, new information, new sources, and balance facts out, to independently form accurate opinions and assessments.Read more ›
I think Damiano Damiani, the director of "How to Kill a Judge" (1974) is a masterful Italian director that is somewhat misunderstood and also a director of considerable importance now that I am seeing some of the scope of his career. One of his earlier pictures that was quite controversial, and in my opinion, quite brilliant was 1964's "The Empty Canvas" with Horst Buchholz, Bette Davis and Catherine Spaak, all giving superb performances and he followed this with another equally brilliant film, "The Witch in Love" with Richard Johnson and Rosanna Schiaffino, not as well known, but quite good. That same year, 1966, he directed a thoughtful spaghetti western, "A Bullet for the General" and later directed things like "The Day of the Owl," "How to Kill a Judge" and in 1982 he was the director of "Amityville 2: The Possession." "How to Kill a Judge" stars a frequent collaborator with Damiani, star Franco Nero, who as one of the extras in Blue Underground's wonderful edition on DVD participated in 15 minutes of interviews entitled, "The Damiano/Nero Connection" with Damiani also, of their relationship and the demise of their collaboration which is very enlightening. Other extras are an English trailer and an Italian trailer. The film, based on a story by Damiani and the screenplay by Damiani, Fulvio Gicca-Palli and Enrico Ribulsi with a memorable score by Riz Ortolani, is fascinating and reflects Italy's infamous decade of political violence. Damiani's influence on the story makes "How to Kill a Judge" important and a different artistic spin on the crime and corruption genre this could normally be relegated as a sample.Read more ›
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As others have mentioned, the film was pretty good! I really enjoyed it, not as action-filled as other italian crime films of the era, but wonderful plotting and characterization. My only big gripe is that the english subtitles do not match up with the Italian language track, but instead with the English. Now I'm no expert on Italian, but I think it's glaringly obvious that the subtitles were a rush job when they appear when nobody is speaking. Now, I can't comment on the quality of the English language track other than that Franco Nero is using his real voice (thank God), but if they were going to include an Italian language track at least give us the courtesy of translating the Italian for the subtitles. Still, all in all, a pretty decent release by Blue Underground and still worth the price tag.
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I really liked this film. It was not a work of genius, but it was very interesting and didn't bore. I happen to like Franco Nero (for those who don't know him, if you like Bruce Willis' films, you'll probably appreciate this). It's got lots of action and counterplots. Also, it's in English which helps a lot. It's not a heavy weight, but very entertaining nonetheless.