Due July 30
Three more films from the influential Italian director -- considered by some, like Quentin Tarantino, who was immensely influenced by the director, to be "without a doubt, the master of (the gangster movie) genre" -- come to home video in the U.S., headed up by his lost masterpiece, "Shoot First, Die Later," which makes it to DVD and Blu-ray for the first time, digitally remastered and restored from 35mm negatives. Di Leo was a master of Mafia mayhem with ultraviolence (for its time), wild car chases and lurid tales of pimps and petty gangsters, made cheap and quick. Di Leo began as a screenwriter on Spaghetti Westerns, then soft-core exploitation films, then -- supposedsly inspired by the new realism of such American fare as "The French Connection" -- went on to make a series of Italian crime genre films that were marked by social criticism of Italy's eonomic and political landscape of corrupt cops, politicians and church officials. The three films here: "Shoot First Die Later" (1974), "Kidnap Syndicate" (1975) and "Naked Violence" (1969). In a classy three-disc boxed set with an illustrated booklet and documentaries on each disc. On DVD and Blu-ray from Raro Video USA.
"Shoot First Die Later" (1974): Desperately sought after and never before released worldwide Rarovideo is proud to be releasing the tough, exciting, dramatically potent, well acted and action packed film, Shoot first, Die Later which is known as one of the most impressive Italian crime/police movies ever made. Luc Merenda gives the performance of his career as a highly regarded police detective who is taking syndicate money in exchange for departmental favors. His father, a simple man, also works for the department but on a lower rung; he isn't jealous of his son, but rather proud of him, little knowing that he's a crooked cop. A series of events leads the young detective to ask his father for a favor (he wants a certain police report that is desired by the syndicate) and it doesn't take long for the detective's father to realize his son is on the take... which leads to numerous complications. Extras: Two documentaries: "The Master of the Game" and "The Second Round of the Game."
"Kidnap Syndicate" (1975): Colella is a hard working but struggling mechanic who raises his son Fabrizio after his wife passed away. Fabrizio is friends with Antonio, son of the extremely rich but incredibly repugnant businessman Filippini. When criminals kidnap Antonio in front of school, the brave Fabrizio tries to prevent this and the nervous kidnappers pull him into the car as well. They demand a huge ransom for the boys, but the pigheaded Filippini refuses to give in to criminals and put the lives of the boys at stake, whilst Colella and even the police commissioner can't do anything. Colella goes after them, but soon stumbles upon a very complex and well-protected network. Extras: "Violent Cities: The Other Fernando Di Leo's Trilogy."
"Naked Violence" (1969): A devastating, brutal, raw example of Di Leo's early works, Naked violence is about how a teacher of an evening school for youngsters with social problems is brutally raped and murdered right in her classroom. The only suspects are the kids and the police are surprised to find them all quietly in their homes instead of having escaped. There is a reason. Each kid declares that he did not participate in the brutality but was forced to watch. The police officer Lamberti has reasons to believe that someone, an adult, has orchestrated the kids whose name they are too afraid to mention. Extras: Two documentaries: "Goodfellas" and "Fernando di Leo at the Cinematheque Francaise."
Watch some scenes from "Shoot First Die Later":