Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, leader of the Sinaloa cartel and considered by many to be the world’s biggest drug kingpin, was captured today in a non-descript hotel in the Sinaloan resort city of Mazatlán. By the time of his capture Guzmán’s notoriety had assumed almost mythic proportions, with the former farmer from the small mountain town of La Tuna being listed as Chicago’s ‘Public Enemy Number One,’ the first character to achieve that status since the 1920’s Al Capone.
There are already many angles by which his life and career have been examined, but one constant has been the ‘little guy’ (El Chapo is slang for ‘Shorty’) up against a world of violence and betrayal. It is only fitting for celebrating the capture of such a figure that we recommend watching one of the movie world’s greatest poliziotteschi, available free via FilmOn’s VOD service.
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Although it is set in 1970’s Milan, The Italian Connection, aka La Mala Ordina (roughly “Orders of the Underworld” from 1972). It was the second in director Fernando di Leo’s ‘Milieu Trilogy,’ between Caliber 9 and The Boss. Seven years before his widely acclaimed performance as Alfred Matzerath in Volker Schlöndorff’s The Tin Drum, Mario Adorf stars as Luca Canali, a deceptively meek Milan pimp falsely branded as a drug kingpin to cover a drug-shipment theft by the local mafia Don, played by the always amazing Aldolfo Celi (Thunderball, Danger: Diabolik).
When a stateside syndicate sends professional hitmen Henry Silva (Manchurian Candidate, Johnny Cool) and Woody Strode (Spartacus, Once Upon A time In The West) into the city, all hell breaks loose and it doesn’t let up. Silva and Strode are also excellent as a mismatched pair (it is easy to see why they are considered a prototype for Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta’s characters in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction), but Adorf’s bravura performance as a stylish underworld survivor really deserves his top billing, and in light of recent events with the capture of a similar “El Chap,” its timeliness resonates strongly.
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Francesca Romana Coluzzi (who turned down Fellini’s offer of a role in 8 ½ to continue her studies, later was a body-double for Marisa Mell in Diabolik, and became an Italian star with 1968’s Serafina) steals several scenes as the blue-haired counter-cultural nightclub denizen Trini (with future Blank Generation director Uli Lommel as one of her Warholian comrades). The germanic Orson Welles-personage of Peter Berling (Aguirre: Wrath of God, The Name of the Rose, Gangs of New York) leads one of the best rogue’s galleries ever committed to celluloid. Armando Travioli’s funk soundtrack is one of his best (if not THE best), and a coveted source of samples for many beatheads.
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