Judge Daryl Loomis feels fat in a black shirt.
A story of love and revenge.
In the shadow of Mussolini's rise to power, Sicilian widow Titina Paterno (Sophia Loren, El Cid) has gone mad from grief after her husband was murdered by the Mafioso who is now the power in her town. She wants revenge and she's not the only one. Two men have returned to town to tie up loose ends: Socialist landowner Rosario Spallone (Marcello Mastroianni, La Dolce Vita) and gangster emigrant to America Giancarlo Giannini, Quantum of Solace), and both have the means to have vengeance, but they both also fall in love with Titina, causing them to feud with each other as well.
With the kind of lead talent on display in Blood Feud, as well as a writer and director in Lina Wertmüller (Swept Away), I hoped for something a little more substantial in this Italian romance. In spite of its weighty pre-war subject matter and nods to the political climate, it's really a pretty standard love triangle movie that all seems too conveniently put together to really feel for any of the characters or their situations.
It's just underwhelming, though; it's not a bad film in any way. Wertmüller's depiction of 1930s Sicily is excellent, with lots of little details that give an excellent sense of realism to the movie. For most, it's a rough life and it shows in the griminess of the rural surroundings. Blood Feud is well-directed, moving well at all times; it's just a whole lot lighter fare than I hoped to see.
Really, it's tough for a movie to be all bad with this kind of talent in front of the camera. When you're talking about foreign love triangle movies, Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni are hard to beat. Their long history together makes them something of an obvious choice, but they're as effective as ever and have an interesting chemistry as a relatively older couple. Giancarlo Giannini adds some spice to the triangle, but it's really about Loren and Mastroianni and they're as charming as ever.
Blood Feud is truly a victim of failed expectations. Not a bad movie, but also not a memorable one, this is minor Wertmüller, at best. Its virtues are there and, for devotees of the director, it's probably worth watching, but general audiences can skip this one.
We received a screener of Blood Feud for review, so technical stuff is subject to change. That said, the 1.78:1 image transfer looks pretty good. There's a bit of dirt and damage to the print, but it's nothing too distracting. Color and detail are a little muted, which is as much a symptom of the type of film Italy was using than the transfer.
The stereo sound is perfectly acceptable. This is the dubbed version of the film which, to some, might make it seem less classy. But whatever; that's Italian movies for you. In any event, the mix is fairly noise-free, with perfectly audible dialog and a fairly strong musical track. The only extra on the disc is a trailer.
There's nothing particularly bad about Blood Feud, but there also isn't a whole lot that will prove memorable about it. The performances and the period details are both strong, but for its heavy subject matter, it really comes off as too much of a trifling romance to be able to recommend with much conviction.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Scorpion Releasing
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