Double Game AKA Torino violenta (1977) / Tony: Another Double Game
R0 - America - No Shame Films US
Review written by and copyright: Jari Kovalainen (7th August 2006).
The Film

DISC 1:

If you were about to make a hard-ass crime and police-film in the 1970s, you would probably set the story in some urban town, with a reputation and history of crime. Cities like New York and Chicago in the US, Paris and Marseille in France, and Rome and Naples in Italy have served as locations on countless movies. With the Italian “Polizia”-genre, it was a quite common practice to introduce some common town, suddenly full of crime, extortion, murders and muggings. Often the name of the city was included in the original title, and there are many examples; “Gang War in Milan AKA Milano rovente (1973)”, “Almost Human AKA Milano odia: la polizia non può sparare (1974)”, “Violent Rome AKA Roma violenta (1975)”, “Rome Armed to the Teeth AKA Roma a mano armata (1976)”, and “Violent Naples AKA Napoli violenta (1976)”. One town you could also add to the list is Torino - or should I say Turin (English word to pronounce the name), where director/writer/cinematographer Carlo Ausino has set his film “Double Game AKA Torino violenta (1977)”.

The film opens in quite a typical way when it comes to Italian crime-films - showing a crime wave that sweeps over the city, and a sense of minor anarchism is in the air. A local movie theatre is robbed - with the poor owner shot, a blackmailed wife of a doctor is stabbed for her reward, a young girl is found strangled and raped, and the French gangsters have been executed - leading the way to the mob war. Six robbings, ten assaults and four murders - all recent - is something that is too much for the city, so Inspectors Moretti (George Hilton) and Danieli (Emanuel Cannarsa) won´t have to worry what to do in the upcoming weeks. To add spice to the story, director Ausino has taken some influences from the known American “vigilante films” such as “Dirty Harry (1971)” and “Death Wish (1974)”, so the lead character Moretti is stretching the law quite a bit, when he secretly takes justice into his own hands and coldly executes certain criminals that come across his path. He calls himself “The Avenger”, living a double life (his partner is not aware of his secret “hobby”).

Now I have to admit that all this actually sounds quite cool, and should be a nice set-up for an entertaining Italian crime-film. Unfortunately, this is not the whole truth, and “Double Game” turns out to be one of the more mediocre films in the genre. In the end, it´s simply too confusing with several minor characters and storylines, and has too much “going on” to really make its audience focused and intrigued for the whole film through. Furthermore, acting is not in the level that it should be. George Hilton is actually a quite known and very capable Euro cult-actor from the various Giallo and Spaghetti western-movies, but in “Double Game” he´s merely walking the film through without any big fanfares. Of course, typical vigilante characters like Paul Kersey and Harry Callahan are not known for being cheerful and vivid, but the character of Inspector Moretti has very little to relate to, and also very little to make him fully convincing. It feels that every time when some interesting scene involving Moretti is starting to develop, the film moves on to some other location, and this eventually hurts the pacing. Emanuel Cannarsa has the certain look that suits his part, but his acting is mediocre at best. What both are lacking is charisma, which is quite important to the roles that they´re playing. When the plot is somewhat messy and the actors lack presence, you have a fairly good chance of being at least a bit disappointed with the end results.

“Double Game” is clearly a flawed film, but it still has some good scenes of action and violent crime to make most of the fans partly happy, and George Hilton is of course better than nothing (let´s face it; Italian polizia-films often need some proper leading actor to carry the film). You can also find some interesting aspects from the story of morale, relationships, and “good guys vs bad guys” (which one is actually which?), and the funky music score by composer Stelvio Cipriani is top notch. I also didn´t have that much to complain on the visual aspects of the film, although I have seen much better executed action-scenes.

DISC 2:

Second disc includes the “sequel” for “Double Game”; called “Tony: Another Double Game AKA Tony, l'altra faccia della Torino violenta (1980)”. Director/co-writer/cinematographer Carlo Ausino is back, with actor Emanuel Cannarsa in the lead role of Tony. This isn´t actually a proper sequel, since the characters and story are completely different. This time we´ll meet Tony, a goodhearted drifter, who seems to know every petty hoodlum and homeless person in Turin. He´s respected in the area full of poor people - who are just trying to get through to the next day, by helping them every now and then. Since Tony is wandering around Turin, he sees and hears things - some which could cause him serious problems. He is getting too close to the local kidnapping ring, which makes him a target to some hardcore criminals. From the start he has also another problem; Inspector Gregori, who is constantly trying to harass Tony. He wants to see Tony´s ass in jail, and waits for the excuse to nail him for good. Inspector Santini (Giuseppe Alotta) on the other hand knows Tony´s good side, but this eventually doesn´t help, and soon Tony finds himself in the touch spot; he has both the criminals and the police after him. What does the man do when he´s cornered? He has only one person to trust - himself.

“Tony: Another Double Game” is a bit of a more interesting film than the original “Double Game”, and although I still feel that the lead actor Cannarsa doesn´t really have enough charisma or acting abilities, he suits this role quite well; portraying a loyal, and most times also honest, man, who´ll get the worst from both sides of the law. Again, some valuable time is wasted to the scenes that don´t really help the story, but once the film starts to pick up pace, it goes rather smoothly to the end. This time there´s less typical “Polizia”-action, but in this case it actually works in the favour of the film, since you have more time to understand the complex character of Tony. I personally liked e.g. the scene where Tony meets his father after 5 years, since it´s adding some human drama to the film. Like the film on “Disc 1”, this is no masterpiece either, but well worth seeing after the main film.

Video

Video/DISC 1:

“Double Game” is presented in Anamorphic 2.35:1, which looks pretty good. Apart from minor grain and a few film artifacts, the print is clean, relatively sharp, and boasting solid black levels. Some exterior scenes looked a bit pale, but this was most likely due the original cinematography rather than the transfer. During the film, some night scenes are more brightly lit, while the others are darker, and some of them looked better than others. Not a perfect presentation, but another solid transfer by “No Shame Films”. The “dual layer” disc is coded “R0”, and it has 12 chapters. The film runs 84:34 minutes (NTSC).

Video/DISC 2:

“Tony: Another Double Game” starts with the statement that the transfer is taken from the “only existing 35 mm print” from the director Ausino himself, and is partly “deteriorated”. This is true, since the film is somewhat wore down and murky, with print damage and a few “frame jumps” here and there. It also has some overall softness. Fortunately the film is presented in Anamorphic 2.35:1, and I´m very happy that a print still in decent condition was found from this rare film. “Single layer” disc is again coded “R0” (even when the back cover says “R1”). The film runs 88:32 min (NTSC).

Audio

Audio/DISC 1:

“Double Game” includes both Italian and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono -tracks, and optional English subtitles (there are no subtitles for the Italian newspaper headlines, though). Now let me say this out right; choose the Italian track with English subtitles. English dub is really bad, making the film much worse than it actually is. Italian dub is not a masterpiece either, but clearly the better choice. Both tracks have some hiss in the background, but these are still fairly standard sounding Mono-tracks when it comes to films like this one, probably a bit more mediocre though. Note, that you first have to choose (for the film AND for the extras) the audio and the subtitles from the Menu, which can be annoying in the long run (since you can´t change them during the film).

Audio/DISC 2:

“Tony: Another Double Game” includes only Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono-track, with optional English subtitles. The track has hiss and crackles, and it´s generally muffled, but this is fairly understandable due the source of the transfer. It still could be worse. The Italian dub is, again, quite mediocre itself, but that sometimes goes with the territory.

Extras

Extras/DISC 1:

This 2-disc SE is packed with extras. Do note that all the extras are in Italian, and if you want the (optional) English subtitles, you have to first choose them from the “Main menu”. Also the Trailer is subtitled.

-First disc includes the “Introduction by director/writer/cinematographer Carlo Ausino” -featurette to “Double Game AKA Torino violenta”, running 17 seconds. Here Ausino tells that this was the film that opened some doors for him.

-“Double Game, One Player” -featurette runs 22:19 minutes, and includes the interview with Ausino. He talks about his early background (he watched a lot of movies as a boy, and started as a projectionist assistant in the local movie theater), his other films and influences (such as his debut one; “La Città dell'ultima paura (1975)”), and of course about “Double Game” and its lead actors.

-Next are “Carlo Ausino’s short films”, all with introduction by the man himself;

*“Christmas Tale AKA Un Racconto Di Natale” runs 20:50 minutes, telling about the young woman on the verge of committing suicide, only to be saved by a homeless man. The story has some potential, but eventually the film is trying too much. It´s shot without any dialogue.

*“The Trailer AKA Il Trailer” runs 16:54 minutes, and is the homage to director John Carpenter (made for the Turin Film Festival) and inspired from his film “Christine (1983)”. The story tells about the woman who after the film promotion will be trapped in the car, which seems to be living on the life of its own. Interesting horror effort.

*“A Modern Fairy Tale AKA Una Favola Moderna” runs 24:11 minutes and is a semi-documentary (still mostly acted I guess) of the young, model-like actress, who started her acting career in the unfinished film by Ausino; “Sahara Killing” and later worked with him in the upcoming “Killer´s Playlist AKA Sulla Lista Del Killer (2006)”. The film is about “her journey” to become an actress.

-Original Italian theatrical trailer runs 3:00 minutes.

-Poster and still gallery runs 3:40 minutes, and the core of the photos are taken from Ausino’s private collection; Posters [2>, Stills [12>, Italian theatrical release photos [8>, On the set [8>, Original English press book [5>, “Tony: Another Double Game” poster [1>, and “Killer´s Playlist” poster [1> are included.

Extras/DISC 2:

-“The Burning of the Marus Department Stores” -news reel runs 2:31 minutes, and is filmed by Ausino himself for “Rai TV” in Turin 1974. This is very interesting and powerful news-material, adding a bit of realism into the DVD package. There´s no audio (restored from the original 16mm print).

-“Sahara Killing” -Italian trailer runs 1:49 minutes. This is the “never-seen-before” trailer for a film that was never completed.

-“Killer´s Playlist AKA Sulla Lista Del Killer (2006)” -Italian trailer runs 2:30 minutes, with introduction by Ausino. This should be the “feminine version of Double Game”, but we´ll see.

Keep case also includes the 16-page Booklet, with liner notes and biographies for director Carlo Ausino, actor George Hilton, editor Eugenio Alabiso, and composer Stelvio Cipriani, all by Richard Harland Smith, and “Turin in Cinema, A Small Chronological History”-notes by Francesco Giai Via.

Overall

With 2 feature films, 3 short films and other extras, the “Double Game” SE can be considered as much a “Carlo Ausino” SE, since it gives a great opportunity to see several films from his cinematic career. Ausino is not among the best “Euro” directors (I could boldly say that this is quite clear), nor are his films that original, but they´re far from being truly bad either. Recommended for the fans that have already done their basic homework, and want to widen their views with the more unknown films from the “Polizia”-genre. When it comes to general DVD-presentation, another (near) winner by “No Shame Films” - they´ve really gone some extra miles with this release.

This DVD is available at Sazuma.com.

The Film: Video: Audio: Extras: Overall:

 


DVD Compare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, and amazon.de.