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Years of Lead: Five Classic Italian Crime Thrillers

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Genres: Crime, Thriller
Plot Synopsis:

The 1970s were a time of intense uncertainty and instability in Italy. Political corruption and widespread acts of left and right-wing terrorism, alongside a breakdown in social cohesion and a loss of trust in public institutions such as the government and police, created a febrile atmosphere of cynicism, paranoia and unexploded rage. Throughout this period, these sentiments found expression in a series of brutal, often morally ambiguous crime thrillers which tapped into the atmosphere of violence and instability that defined the so-called Years of Lead.

This box set gathers five films from the heyday of the "poliziotteschi" – the umbrella term used to describe this diverse body of films. In Vittorio Salerno's Savage Three (1975) and Mario Imperoli's Like Rabid Dogs (1976), random acts of violence committed by vicious young sociopaths threaten the fragile fabric of respectable society. In Massimo Dallamano's Colt 38 Special Squad (1976) and Stelvio Massi's Highway Racer (1977), renegade cops battling against red tape and political corruption turn to new and morally dubious methods to dispense justice. Finally, class dynamics are explored in Salerno's No, the Case is Happily Resolved (1973) as an innocent man finds himself under suspicion for a savage crime committed by a highly respected member of society.

Decried by critics for their supposedly fascistic overtones, the poliziotteschi were in fact more ideologically varied and often considerably more nuanced than such superficial readings would suggest, and proved a huge hit with theatergoers, who responded to their articulation of present-day social concerns. Featuring an impressive line-up of Euro-cult stars, including Joe Dallesandro (The Climber), Ivan Rassimov (Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key), Maurizio Merli (Violent City) and Enrico Maria Salerno (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage), this collection of stylish, hard-hitting Euro-crime thrillers showcases the range and breadth of the genre and is a must-have for newcomers and grizzled veterans alike.

Special Features and Technical Specs:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of all five films, restored from the original camera negatives, including a brand new 2K restoration of Colt 38 Special Squad exclusive to this release
  • Original lossless mono Italian audio
  • Original lossless mono English audio on Colt 38 Special Squad
  • English subtitles for the Italian soundtracks
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack on Colt 38 Special Squad
  • New visual essay by critic Will Webb
  • Interview with director Vittorio Salerno and actress Martine Brochard on Savage Three
  • Interview with actor Joe Dallesandro on Savage Three
  • Interview with cinematographer Romano Albani and historian Fabio Melelli on Like Rabid Dogs
  • Interview with assistant director Claudio Bernabei on Like Rabid Dogs
  • Like Rabid Dogs music sampler
  • Interview and introduction by composer Stelvio Cipriani on Colt 38 Special Squad
  • Interview with editor Antonio Siciliano on Colt 38 Special Squad
  • Interview with historian Roberto Curti on Highway Racer
  • Interview with director Vittorio Salerno on No, the Case is Happily Resolved
  • No, the Case is Happily Resolved alternate ending
  • Trailers
  • Poster galleries
  • Reversible sleeves featuring original artwork for all five films
  • Booklet featuring new writing by Troy Howarth, Michael Mackenzie, Rachael Nisbet, Kat Ellinger and James Oliver
  • Release Details
    Release Date: June 22nd, 2021
    MPAA Rating: Not Rated
    Movie Release Year: 1977
    Release Country: United States
    Movie Studio: Arrow Video
  • Technical Specs
    Specs:Blu-ray Disc
    Video Resolution/Codec:1080p AVC/MPEG-4