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Charles Cioffi

Review: Lucky Luciano

[Originally published in Movietone News 36, October 1974]

Francesco Rosi’s attempt to adapt the method of The Mattei Affair to the career of Charles “Lucky” Luciano fails almost completely. What made the earlier film such a morally disturbing and aesthetically challenging experience was its formal complexity as a real-life mystery story in which the levels and processes of the narrative act became implicated in the hypotheses and half-truths it hoped to sort out. No such structural complexity informs Lucky Luciano. Sections of the movie are compelling, partly because they are imaginatively filmed, partly—the greater part—because they provide us with fascinating historical dirt: e.g., the connivance between Vito Genovese (Charles Cioffi) and the United States Army after the liberation of Italy. But whereas the fractured chronology and mixture of narrative modes served in Mattei Affair to render the very abundance of its mountain of evidence meaningful, here the method merely produces a muddle.

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Review: The Next Man

[Originally published in Movietone News 53, January 1977]

Voyeurs with the socially redeeming grace of cinematic conscientiousness, despair: Cornelia Sharpe has had her big chance, and she botched it. A near Dunaway-lookalike whose face and body—clad or not—irresistibly drew the eye whenever she eased into frame in Serpico and Busting, Sharpe aroused, among other things, hope in the breast of anyone with a lech to welcome another glamorous actress to the comparatively de-glamorized contemporary screen. Glamorous she remains in The Next Man, but scarcely anything more. And without that something more, the meretricious narrative folds up on itself like the aggregate memories of every undistinguished spy flick you ever waited through to see the main feature.

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