Gone with the Pope (2010) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)
Directed By: Duke Mitchell
Starring: Duke Mitchell, Lorenzo Dardado, Jim LoBianco
Rated: UR/Region A/1:78/1080p/Number of Discs 2
Available from Grindhouse Releasing
“Lost for over 30 years, GONE WITH THE POPE stars famed nightclub performer Duke Mitchell as Paul, a paroled gangster with an unholy scheme: to kidnap the Pope and ‘charge a dollar from every Catholic in the world’ as the ransom”. Shot in 1975, GONE WITH THE POPE was unfinished at the time of Duke Mitchell’s death in 1981. Sage Stallone and Bob Murawski of Grindhouse Releasing rediscovered GONE WITH THE POPE in 1995 and vowed to save it from obscurity. Academy Award-winning film editor Murawski (THE HURT LOCKER, ARMY OF DARKNESS) spent 15 years completing GONE WITH THE POPE from the surviving film elements. Grindhouse Releasing proudly presents the Holy Grail of exploitation cinema!
Duke Mitchell might have been insane. I don’t know if that is at all true and I don’t at all mean it in a negative way, even if it might sound negative. I just think, based on his movies I’ve now saw, that he was some sort of mad scientist that made weird, but extremely entertaining movies. Adding to the mad scientist idea, he even seemed to toss in some social commentary into his films, those speeches and their deep meanings happen at random in a movie that otherwise is full of vulgar things, racist dialogue (Whew!), and sexual romps (watch for the scene with the really big girl). That is how you’d describe Massacre Mafia Style and that also is how you’d describe the lost for nearly three decades, Gone with the Pope. A movie that starts off as a mob film, but turns into something else before finally returning to the mob roots before the end. That something else in the middle is the whole kidnapping the Pope plot. At first he wants a dollar from every catholic in the world, but then he settles for fifty cents. Why? Why not! Duke’s character does a lot of bad things, but he really isn’t a bad guy. I know that seems a bit far fetched to say about a guy who puts together a plot to knock off seven guys at the start of the film, only to go on a boat ride around the world that results in him kidnapping a man that many consider to be the right hand of God, but that is what makes the character of Paul so darn interesting and fun. Quentin Tarantino would love a character like this, he made a career making characters a lot like this. That being said, even if the plot gets a little too weird or odd by the time it starts and finishes, I’d safely say that I believe if you like crime films like Quentin Tarantino makes, then you will enjoy this as well and as much.
The movie clocks in at around and hour and twenty minutes (never once drags), the work print was much longer, but due to the nature of the movie and how they found it (that is a whole other interesting story), what we get is a straight to the point version. Some stuff might not add up or seem silly, but that is fine given the content and style of the movie. I mean, they really didn’t have much of a script to work with when putting it all together, so the end results are great all things considered. Duke Mitchell really shines in this movie, as he did with Massacre Mafia Style and this movie really makes you wish we had more down and dirty Duke Mitchell movies to watch. You will never be bored while watching this movie and I can promise you that you will want to re-watch it again soon after. From the violence, to the comic undertone of the film, to the wacky but effective plot of trying to kidnap the Pope (not to mention how they go about it), there is something really for everyone to love here in Gone with the Pope. I haven’t even mentioned the ending, but I won’t give anything away. It leave us with something to talk about and I think the more we all talk about Duke Mitchell and movies like Gone with the Pope the better we all are.
– “The Players”
– “Shooting ‘Pope'”
– “Restoring ‘Pope'”
– Deleted Scenes
– “Frankie Carr and the Nov-Elites: Live in Vegas”
– “Hollywood World Premiere”
– Theatrical Trailer
Quality of the Transfer: 91%
I totally used the screen grabs from Mondo-Digital because I don’t have a Blu-ray drive