The Climber (2-Disc Special Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD]
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After shooting cult favourites Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula in Europe, Joe Dallesandro spent much of the seventies making movies on the continent. In France he worked with auteurs like Louis Malle and Walerian Borowczyk, and in Italy he starred in all manner of genre fare from poliziotteschi (Savage Three, Season for Assassins) to nunsploitation (Killer Nun).
The Climber follows in the tradition of gangster classics such as The Public Enemy and Scarface as it charts the rise and inevitable fall of small-time smuggler Aldo (Dallesandro). Beaten and abandoned by the local gang boss after he tries to skim off some profits for himself, Aldo forms his own group of misfits in order to exact revenge...
Written and directed by Pasquale Squitieri (Gang War in Naples, I Am the Law), The Climber is a prime example of Italian crime cinema a high-octane action-thriller full of brawls, fistfights, shootouts and explosions!
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Roberto Curti, author of Italian Crime Filmography, 1968-1980
Top customer reviews
The Climber is a rather traditional Italian gangster story of an ambitious young thug, Aldo (Dellesandro), with dreams of toppling the local bosses and starting an organization of his own. Of course, as a foreigner in a country where "family" means everything, the odds are against his success. But Aldo pushes his way into the local clubs and restaurants, demanding protection payments and horning in on drug trade. Eventually, he and his upstart band of followers intimidate their way to the very top, leaving a trail of dead bodies their competition can't help but follow.
Director Pasquale Squitieri drenches his movie in New York-style swagger that's different from other Italian crime movies of the era. A recurring theme song full of gritty guitars and an irresistible beat announces every important moment like cinematic chapter headings. And Dellesandro, probably better suited to supporting characters than a lead, uses his fish out of water looks to good effect, creating an upwardly mobile henchman who rises far above his station and eventually pays the price.
The similarities to Brian De Palma's Scarface are rather striking (right down to that aforementioned score), but, then again, the gangster genre only has so many paths to follow. Squitieri's film isn't as down and dirty as it would like to be. Aldo's career takes quite a while to take off, bogged down by some romantic foreplay with beauty Stefania Casini (Suspiria). But once he begins recruiting local talent, made up mostly of dirt-bike mechanics who wield their motorized transportation as lethal weapons, its a fun ride downhill toward the expected tragic conclusion.
Arrow Video's Blu-ray / DVD combo looks just tremendous and includes an especially information sit-down interview with Dellesandro who's not afraid to turn over a few rocks about the production and his career itself. The film is presented Italian-subbed and English-dubbed with a brand new 4K transfer from the original negative. A reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork goes along with a collectible booklet featuring new writing on the film by Roberto Curti, who really knows his stuff.
THE CLIMBER is a reference to Dallesandro’s character Aldo, a low level criminal working in a warehouse and as a transporter for a gangster in Italy. Aldo dreams of bigger things and when he makes a mistake in crossing the boss an attempt is made on his life. He moves and begins again with several friends, creating a gang for himself in a nearby town but under the radar of his old boss.
As I sit here writing much of what I watched is lost to me now. It left that little of an impression on me. The standard fare is here with gangsters threatening people, a few shootouts and attempts made on the lives of competitors. But nothing tremendous is on hand here. In fact most of it moves along fairly slow and the number of unbelievable moments that should demonstrate the ruthlessness of all these gangsters is never quite there.
I’ve been fortunate to have access and viewed several crime dramas from Italian cinema and this one left me wanting more. It offered little in the form of entertainment and made me think that my opinion of Dallesandro as an actor is more justified than ever. If you’re a fan then by all means add this to your collection and continue to sing his praises. If you’re wanting to know what Italian crime films from the time period are like then don’t start with this one. And for the average viewer there is far more out there worth your time.
Arrow Video is releasing this film and I can’t fault them on anything here, they continue to present any film they handle with love and care. The presentation is brand new 4K restoration of the film from the original negative. Extras include LITTLE JOE’S ADVENTURES IN EUROPE a brand new interview with Joe Dallesandro on his numerous European film appearances during the 1970s and early 1980s, a reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon and with the first pressing only a booklet featuring new writing on the film by Roberto Curti, author of ITALIAN CRIME FILMOGRAPHY 1968-1980.