I contrabbandieri di Santa Lucia (1979)

Mario Merola, Antonio Sabato, Gianni Garko, Jeff Blynn,
I contrabbandieri di Santa Lucia is a movie starring Mario Merola, Antonio Sabato, and Gianni Garko. With the American Mafia families pooling their resources to bring huge quantities of cheap heroin into the country, it's up to...
  • 5.2 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Ciro Ippolito, Piero Regnoli, Writer:
  • Alfonso Brescia, Director:
  • Producer:
7 / 10

Decent and different Eurocrime entry

The Poliziotteschi genre is mostly populated by maverick cops and sadistic criminals; so The New Godfathers is something of an original addition to the genre. As the Italian title suggests; this film focuses on contraband - which a popular focus for this genre, but rather than focus on one side of the war; the film is instead bolstered by a working relationship between a customs officer and a top criminal as they work together for mutual gain. It has to be said that the film has some problems in terms of plot pacing and it's not exactly a thrill a minute; but some good characters and interesting plot development at least ensures that the film remains decent for the running time. The New Godfathers begins with a heroin shipment in Iran being halted by a revolution. Naturally there's people intent on getting this heroin to the USA; and so decide to run it through a small group of smugglers in Italy. However, Italian customs get wind of what is going on and seek to strike a bargain with the local criminals.

The most interesting parts of the film focus on Naples' smuggler community and thankfully director Alfonso Brescia (who previously directed the disappointing Giallo Naked Girl Killed in the Park) spends a lot of time on this element. There's also a subplot involving two young kids in love that works better than it really had any right to. This genre is usually bolstered by high speed car chases and gunfights; although this one doesn't feature as much of that as other genres, which is disappointing; although it made up for by some superior characters and acting. The cast is lead by the pairing of Mario Merola and Antonio Sabato, who will both be familiar to Eurocrime fans; having starred in a number of these films between them. The second half of the film is more action packed than the first and the move towards the story's conclusion is carried off with style and verve; although the final sequences could have been better edited. Overall, I wouldn't exactly say that this film is at the pinnacle of its genre; but it's a more than decent watch and Eurocrime fans should give it a look.

6 / 10

kudos to Amazon prime so we can watch these

The new godfathers isn't a great polizia/gangster movie nor is it a terrible one either. if like me you spend your time tracking down every giallo and eurocrime from the 70's and early 80's you will have also seen far far worse and while not blown away its a decent 90 min fix. Set mostly in Naples its no Contraband (Fulchi's not the recent Marky Mark guff) but uses it and its other locations well, always cool to see how places looked in the 70's .The relationship between the Don and custom officer works pretty well the inclusion of the smuggler kids also adds to the character development seldom seen in these types of movies. It has its compulsory car chases and shootouts which are ok, its certainly no where near a Lenzi or Di Leo but if you have already done the best that this genre has to offer then this won't be a waste of your time. As in the title I came across this on Amazon prime with a whole host of other italian gangster, polizias , giallos and post apocalyptic movies, so fair play.

7 / 10

The Alfonso Breschia Movie Universe

Kudos to Alfonso Breschia for going all 'meta' as the kids say and including a scene in this film where Gianni Garko approaches a film poster for Breschia's Lo Scugzzino* and talks about how Gianni Garko is great in that film, followed by a member of the public who remarks upon Breschia's film skills (or lack off).

Anyone who has suffered through Breschia's sci-fi films will be glad to know that his crime films are a little easier to digest. He includes all the stuff you want to see in a crime film: gunfights, explosions, car chases and nudity. It's still not an amazing experience by any means, but a far cry from Star Odyssey, that's for sure.

A bunch of evil gangster fellows are in Turkey and want to ship a whole load of heroin over to New York, and are looking for a stopover on the way. Somewhere scuzzy where no one will notice. You know: Naples. Customs officer Gianni Garko makes the logical choice when he pinpoints Naples as the place the heroin is going to touch down, and heads off there to ingratiate himself with the local smugglers.

What Breschia nails here is the relationship between Garko and smuggler Mario Merola, as Merola relates his story that the impoverished people of Naples have to live by selling stolen cigarettes, and the whole community would collapse if this illegal industry dried up. He shows Garko how the people of Naples live in one room apartments (including the toilet and everything else) and are decent, friendly people. This convinces Garko to have the police not lean on Merola's gang in exchange for help tracking down the heroin.

What neither of them know is that local Mob boss Antonio Sabato is behind the heroin smuggling racket and intends to get it there without any setbacks, which leads to double crossings, massacres, shoot-outs and a cracking car chase that has one guy driving a car along a moving train!

The action also switches to New York where Sabato's goddaughter (a young Sabrina Sianni) is getting married, which leads to a sequence where Sianni leads in these surreal tributes to Italy (that also hold the heroin).

I'm not revealing everything here but I will say that Garko vanishes from the film for so long I thought they'd forgotten about him. Nevertheless, Breschia does manage to tie everything up quite nicely and I found, for a change, that I quite enjoyed the film. Eighth time's a charm, Alfonso!