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Cry of a Prostitute - aka Quelli che contano
Not one to shy away from sleaze, violence or depravity, Italian filmmaker Andrea Bianchi gave fans of Euro-trash cinema many gifts, such as Burial Ground, Strip Nude For Your Killer, Malabimba and this 1974 picture, Cry Of A Prostitute, starring Henry Silva and Barbara Bouchet.
The film opens with a scene where a man and a woman are crossing the border into Italy only to be killed when a bulldozer crushes them to death, orphaning their young child. Or so it seems… see, that kid was already dead, his body was being used to hold a stash of smack, the adults killed by the bulldozer clearly drug smugglers. This event sets into motion some power plays between two opposing mafia families working out of the region, which winds up being cause to bring in Tony Aniante (Silva), a tough as nails, no-nonsense hitman from Brooklyn more than willing to take out any target for the right price.
It isn't long before Tony has noticed Margie (Bouchet), the beautiful wife of Don Cantimo (Fausto Tozzi). Margie once worked as a lady of the evening is a fox and she knows it, always dressing to the nines and bathing seductively in milk, presumably to keep her skin as smooth as it appears to be (we get to see a lot of her skin in this movie). Cantimo has a thing for hearing about his wife's exploits, so when they decide to have Tony over to their place, she makes a move on him first by fellating a banana and then coercing him into having sex with her right then and there. As their relationship intensifies, so too does the gang way, with Tony quickly coming to the realization that he's not going to get out of this without spilling a considerable amount of blood.
Strong stuff even by modern standards, Cry Of A Prostitute was Bianchi's attempt to cash in on the poliziotteschi craze that was booming in Italy at the time. American born Silva's presence likely gave the film some international appeal, and it's hard to imagine anyone doing a better job in the role than he does here. Always known for bringing a very specific intensity to his roles (though he was versatile enough to do comedy and drama as well), he really goes for it with this one, chewing the scenery in the best way possible and absolutely dominating every other performer in the film. It is, for lack of a better cliché to use here, a powerhouse performance, rivalling his work in Umberto Lenzi's Almost Human, also made in 1974. Bouchet is great here as well. She's absolutely gorgeous in this picture, and it's easy to see why Silva's character would, wittingly or not, let himself get caught up with her. Along with a natural beauty, she also brings a certain vulnerability to the role that works quite well.
Bianchi paces the movie pretty effectively, keeping things moving at a good clip. And, being Bianchi and all, he doesn't shy away from the sleaze or the exploitation. We won't spoil the details here, it would ruin the impact of some of the picture's more notorious moments, but it goes in every direction you'd expect it to and a few that you won't. It's as violent as it is salacious, though the production values are pretty decent with the film boasting an excellent score and some pretty strong cinematography as well.
Cry Of A Prostitute comes to Blu-ray from Code Red on a 25GB disc in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.35.1 widescreen taken from a "2017 HD scan of the original negatives with major color correction." Some print damage is noticeable here and there and some shifts in color occur but overall, this is a pretty solid transfer. Skin tones look nice and natural, black levels are decent and detail is generally pretty strong. The 2.35.1 framing looks good and the transfer is always filmic in appearance, showing no obvious issues with noise reduction or edge enhancement problems.
The English language DTS-HD 2.0 track on the disc is free of any issues. Dialogue stays clear, clean and well-balanced from start to finish and there are no audible problems with any noticeable hiss or distortion. There are no alternate language options or subtitles provided.
Extras are slim, limited to the alternate U.S. opening credits for the feature, a trailer for the feature and bonus trailers for Almost Human, The Violent Professionals, The Sicilian Connection and Family Honor. Menus and chapter selection options are also provided.
Cry Of A Prostitute is pretty sleazy stuff but fans of the trashier side of Italian cinema will definitely appreciate. Silva is in his prime hear, chewing the scenery the best way he knows how, and the lovely Barbara Bouchet is quite good as the female lead. Code Red's Blu-ray is light on extras but the presentation is, if not reference quality, generally very good. Recommended for those who know what they're getting into!
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.