|Poster designed by Guazzi|
This is by Tinto Brass? That was my silent question from the films first frame. Brasss films are warm and personal. Snack Bar Budapest is ice-cold and impersonal. This seems to have been a commercial venture designed only to make money.
PRODUCER: We just bought the rights to this hot new novel. Could you put Luomo che guarda on hold and do a commercial thriller instead?
TINTO BRASS: Maybe.
PRODUCER: We want lots of suspense, lots of gunfights, lots of blood, lots of sex. We want a seedy atmosphere, electronic rock music. We want a big hit, a blockbuster. Can you do it?
TINTO BRASS: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. If thats what you want, I can do it. Give me a deadline.
And he did it! Scored with moody electronic jazz/rock music by Zucchero, filled with dark rooms lit by blue neon, and consisting only of heartless characters, this is simply not what one would expect to pour forth from Brasss editing suite. The story has a disbarred Lawyer, recently released from the slammer and now involved with organized crime, taking Milena, who is both his girlfriend and his partner Sapos girlfriend, to a hospital in Ostia for an overnight abortion. He checks into a pension called the Snack Bar Budapest where Sapo instructs him by phone to make contact with the up-and-coming local kingpin, a 19-year-old punk-pimp-gangster named Molecola (Italian for molecule), who is a Buffalo-trained politician trying to run out the mom-and-pop shops and turn the town into a giant casino-entertainment complex, with the Snack Bar as the centerpiece. The Lawyer (he has no other name) accepts the job of ridding the town of the Snack Bars owners, a father, mother, and teenage daughter he had once represented in court. Objecting to the torture inflicted upon mommy by Pappera, one of Molecolas thugs, the Lawyer bludgeons him to death. In revenge, Molecola and his hookers turn on the pension with rapid-fire pistols. Though the Lawyer and Sapo win out against the poor aim of the hopelessly untrained gunners, they are too late to rescue Milena, who had been strangled to death just after her abortion, apparently by Molecolas gang.
Snack Bar Budapest uses a formula that almost always works. It consists of two parts: if you (1) go to pains to establish that your story is believable, you can then (2) add the most preposterous ingredients and your audience will still buy it. And here, after an hour and a half, we just accept that a bunch of coked-up hookers, still dressed in their skimpy come-on outfits, are happy to send streams of badly aimed bullets into a hotel. It works! The same holds true with the news media. Journalistsof all political persuasionsfollow this formula every day to make us believe whatever their big bosses want us to believe. And it works!
I doubt the film earned a profit, but Im not sure. This could easily have been the sort of sleaze that the Hollywood studios vomit forth all the time. It is with embarrassment that I admit I used to work in cinemas, and for years and years I had to deal with the ugly crime pics that kept being shoved at me. Despite their poor earning power, it is still dogma that they are staples of the box offices diet. I cant even remember most of the crap that I saw or that I had to force-feed our audiences. But here, with a distinguished professor given a kindergarten assignment, we have a film that looks far more smooth and slick than anything we get from our studio hacks, and it puts to shame the garbage that plagues our movie screens. In a sense, its exquisite. Brass was hired to make a thriller, and boy did he make a thriller. But its not exactly a feel-good movie, if you get my drift. Unlike most of Brasss films, the focus is on the men, but unlike Yankee, this is hardly a celebration of machismo. Anyway, like some other Brass movies that disappointed me at first, I found myself becoming addicted over the following few weeks. Theres something about his movies that just grows on you (or at least on me).
MOMENTS WORTH WATCHING FOR: Tinto Brass plays the confused judge (with a Hitler mustache), and his wife Tinta is also behind the bench. In another scene, Osiride Pevarello plays a monk who visits the ballroom at Molecolas brothel and has a great time dancing with the girls. The unexpected appearances of Osiride Pevarello constitute my favorite running gag in Brasss films. When Molecola takes his thugs to attack a local cinema, the Cine Tabù, he says that he hopes the Lawyer enjoys porn films. And what is this porn film playing there? Why, The Key, of course! You cant miss the close-up of the motor scooters license plate: TB 8 1567. I wonder what those first two letters stand for. And then Molecolas license plate is TB 51 2254. Hey.
TWO GREAT ACTORS YOUVE NEVER HEARD OF BEFORE AND WILL PROBABLY NEVER HEAR OF AGAIN:
François Négret had appeared a year or so earlier in Louis Malles Au revoir les enfants,
with probably his real voice.
Here hes dubbed into Italian, and he is just perfect as the overly demonstrative crime boss.
Hes supposed to be 19, but he looks more like 15 or 16.
You wont forget him.
And Valentine Demì, who bears an undeniable and probably deliberate resemblance
to Tim Currys
|The phenomenal François Négret|
|The phenomenal Valentine Demì|
ROBERTO LERICI. This was the final collaboration between Tinto Brass and playwright Roberto Lerici, who would die just a few years later. In the future, without Giancarlo Fusco or Roberto Lerici on hand, Brass began to repeat himself. Now, thats not a bad thing, not at all. But it does seem to indicate that Brass really missed his fellow brainstormers.
TECHNICAL NOTES: The VHS edition was electronically matted at about 1.85:1, which is too small but doesnt look bad at all. The print used in the transfer was a circulating theatrical print, with grease-pencil cue marks every 15 minutes or so. While the film has no heart, it has technical ultraprecision. And that makes me wonder why there are two mistaken camera moves during the opening credits, which was probably the easiest and least expensive shot in the film. Why didnt the crew take 15 minutes to re-shoot it? Odd. The rest of the film is technically flawless.
QUESTIONS: The voice that comes out of Philippe Léotards mouth is the same as the voice that came out of Alberto Lupos mouth in Action. And it looks as though François Négret delivered his lines in French. So who dubbed the voices? And can anyone help us identify the actors?
|Italian DVD, allegedly wrongly cropped at 1.85:1. No idea about language options. PAL, which will not play on most US equipment.||The British Region-2 PAL DVD, which will not play on most US equipment. Correctly transferred at 1.66:1. Optional English subtitles. No extras. Note the plagiarized summary on the web site, which I have told the folks at Arrow about several times, to no  avail. (I really dont usually mind when people plagiarize me, if they only take a few sentences or paragraphs here and there. But when they dont understand my jokes, I get upset.)||NoShame Films promised to release this on DVD in the US sooner or later, but I think they closed down.|
STUFF ABOUT THE AUTHORS OF THE POPULAR 1987 NOVEL: ClarenceAutori AL: Lodoli Ipse dixit: Marco Lodoli Biblioteca Universitaria Alessandrina Sala Mostre: 9 November, Marco Lodoli And the always-expected dead link: http://www22.mondadori.com/panorama/numeri/pan2997/2997_cassetta.html
STUFF ABOUT THE MUSIC: Blue: Unofficial Site of Zucchero Sugar Fornaciari MusicalStore.it: Zucchero And the dead links: http://www.directmedia.ch/d/music/zucchero.cfm http://www22.mondadori.com/panorama/numeri/pan2997/2997_cassetta.html http://www.bluesoul.it/eng/duet.htm
FOR WHAT ITS WORTH: Miss Italia Pageant 1983: Raffaella Baracchi
ANICA Associazione Nazionale Industrie Cinematografiche Audiovisive e Multimediali
|Liberamente tratta dal romanzo omonimo di (freely adapted from the novel of the same name by)||Marco Lodoli and Silvia Bre, edito da (published by) Bompiani|
|Collaborazione ai dialoghi di(collaboration on the dialogue by)||Roberto Lerici|
|Una coproduzione (a coproduction)||Reteitalia S.p.A.San Francisco Film S.r.l.Metrofilm S.r.l.|
|Operatore alla macchina (camera operator)||Carlo Montuori|
|Collaborazione al montaggio(assistant editor)||Fiorenza Müller|
|Aiuto regista (assistant director)||Roberto Palmerini|
|Montatore del suono (sound editor)||Sandro Peticca|
|Direttore di produzione (production manager)||Massimo Ferrero|
|Edizione a cura di (continuity)||Carla Cipriani|
|Organizzatore amministrativo (accounting manager)||Mario Sampaolo|
|Organizzatore generale (general manager)||Aldo U. Passalacqua|
|Costumi di (costumes by)||Jost Jakob|
|Production designer||Paolo Biagetti|
|Scenografia - Arredamento(art direction - set décor)||Massimo Spano, Bruno Cesari|
|Music by||Zucchero Sugar Fornaciari|
|Additional music by||David Sancious|
|Direttore della fotografia(director of photography)||Alessio Gelsini (a.i.c.)|
|Scritto, diretto e montato da(written, directed, and edited by)||Tinto Brass|
|Segretaria di edizione (continuity)||Carla Cipriani|
|Ass. regia (assistants to the director)||Francesco Ascione, Bonifacio Brass|
|Fotografo di scena (still photographer)||Gianfranco Salis|
|Ufficio stampa (publicity)||Lucherini - Pignatelli|
|Ass. operatore (assistant camera operator)||Ettore Corso, Claudio Sabatini|
|Aiuto operatore (focus puller)||Ivan Casalgrandi|
|Parucchieri (hair dressers)||Giancarlo De Leonardis, Barbara De Leonardis|
|Truccatori (make-up artists)||Giovanni Rufini, Claudia Shone, Gabriella Trani|
|Maestro darmi (stunt coordinator)||Giorgio Ricci|
|Capo macchinista (key grip)||Giancarlo Rocchetti|
|Capo elettricista (gaffer)||Sergio Spila|
|Capo attrezzista (prop master)||Roberto Magagnini|
|Coreografo (choreography)||Pino Pennese|
|Effetti speciali (special effects)||Corridori Studio|
|Fonico (sound)||Fabio Ancillai|
|Microfonista (boom operator)||Marco di Biase|
|Costumista (costume designer)||Massimo Bettini|
|Elettricisti (best boys)||Marcello Cardarelli, Franco Cardarelli, Walter Romoli|
|Macchinisti (grips)||Massimo Galiano, Riccardo Ferrero, Roberto Rosati|
|Ass. al montaggio (second asst. editors)||Benedetto Atria, Emanuele Cassin|
|Sarte (dressmakers)||Franca Paoletti, Alberta Ceccarelli|
|Ispettore di produzione (unit manager)||Luciano Pecoraro|
|Segretari di produzione (production secretaries)||Francesca Andriotto, Mauro Babini, Alessio Juso, Annamaria Severini, Carlo Macrini|
|Amm.ri cassieri (payroll)||Alessandra Sampaolo, Ruggero Nicolai|
|Teatri di posa (interiors) / Postsincronizzazione||Cinecittà|
|Negativi (negative stock)||Kodak S.p.A.|
|Sviluppo e stampa (lab)||Telecolor S.p.A.|
|Tecnico del colore (color technician)||Pasquale Cuzzupoli|
|Segretario di doppiaggio (dubbing secretary)||Corrado Russo|
|Fonico di doppiaggio (dubbing recorder)||Angelo Raguseo|
|Mixage (mixing)||Fausto Ancillai|
|Mixage (mixing)||Cine Audio Effects:Fernando Caso, Alvaro Gramigna|
|Dolby Stereo Sound Consultant||Federico Savina|
|Titoli e truke (titles and opticals)||Studio 4|
|Sartoria (wardrobe)||Russo, GP 11|
|Calzature (footwear)||L.C.P. S.r.l.|
|Parrucche (wigs)||Rocchetti - Carboni|
|Giolelli (jewelry)||Paolo Fidemi|
|Pellicce (furs)||de Carlis - Roma|
|Arredamento (set décor)||Dedalo - GRP|
|Mezzi tecnici (technical equipment)||Cinenoleggio, A.R.C.O. Due S.r.l.|
|Trasporti (transport)||Romana Trasporti Cinematografici S.r.l.|
|Executive producer||Michael Torpedine|
|Edizioni musicali (music publishers)||POLYGRAM DISCHI - BIXIO C.E.M.S.A. - RISPETTO|
|Musical excerpts||IL VALZER DELLORGANINO di B. Cherubini - C.A. Bixio, Ed. Musicali BIXIO C.E.M.S.A.ARTURO E MARION, di Vincent Tempera, Ed. Musicali BIXIO C.E.M.S.A.SWEET GIRL, di Farmer - Bixio - Frazzi - Tempera, Ed. Musicali BIXIO C.E.M.S.A.LAMORE È UN PIZZICOR, di B. Cherubini - C.A. Bixio, Ed. Musicali BIXIO SAMFOX TROTT DEGLI SPECCHI, (Cesare Andrea BIXIO), Ed. BIXIO CESARE ANDREAVIOLINO TZIGANO, (B. Cherubini - C.A. Bixio), Ed. BIXIO C.E.M.S.A.RAPPS BOOGIE, (L. Humphries - J. Bilsbury - G. Bottger), Ed. BIXIO C.E.M.S.A.SHES MY LITTLE GIRL, (Farmer - Bixio - Frizzi - Tempera), Ed. BIXIO C.E.M.S.A.|
|PERSONAGGI E INTERPRETI|
|Hospital patient?||Sylvie Orcier|
|Daughter?||Giuditta del Vecchio|
|???||Claudio Del Falco|
|???||Tilde De Spirito|
|???||Tiziana Del Poggio|
|???||Carmen Di Pietro|
|???||Sibilla De Conti|
|Il monaco||Osiride Pevarello [uncredited]|
|Il giudice||Tinto Brass [uncredited]|
|La giudice||Carla Cipriani [uncredited]|
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