Wake Up and Kill (1966) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)
Directed By: Carlo Lizzani
Starring: Robert Hoffmann, Lisa Gastoni, Gian Maria Volonte
Rated: UR/Region AB/1:85/1080p/Number of Discs 2
Available from Arrow Video
During the 1960s Luciano Lutring committed more than one hundred armed robberies in Italy and on the French Riviera. To the media he was the machine gun soloist , a name he d earned as he kept his weapon in a violin case. To the public he was a romantic figure, one who only targeted the wealthy, stealing more than 35 billion lire during his criminal career. Wake Up and Kill was the logical extension of such fame. It became the first feature to commit Lutring s story to celluloid, shooting having begun mere months after his eventual arrest. Capitalizing on the breakthrough success of his performance in French television s The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Robert Hoffmann is perfect as Lutring, bringing just the right amount of charisma and youthful exuberance to his first major big screen role. Directed by Carlo Lizzani (Requiescant), scored by Ennio Morricone, penned by the future screenwriter of Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, and featuring that film s star, Gian Maria Volonté, in a key supporting role, Wake Up and Kill s true-crime thrills serve as an enthralling dry run for the poliziotteschi movies that would follow a few years later.
Luciano Lutring is committing a lot of crime, staying one-step ahead of the law, and doing it all while on the run with a hot woman by his side. This crime film has some shades of Bonnie and Clyde, but also steers off a bit more into the world of the underground crime ranks and does manage to flow-over with a bit of an exploitation vibe from time to time, especially if you hang in there and sit-through the somewhat slow start. As things go along our somewhat interesting crook, Lutring, ends up being even accused of crimes he didn’t commit, which only leads to the main detective, Moroni, wanting to track him down and catch him that much more. Like I said, it is a movie that has its moments. It basically has shades of just about everything tossed in for good measure. Things get dragged out a bit, but guns and violence come more into play and the whole film wraps up in a kinda cool way that I think kinda makes up for some of the film’s down points. I admit I’m not usually into these types of movies, especially if they drag a bit, but I still found this one to be fun enough regardless.
This is a movie that does look a bit dated, I don’t think even the transfer helps that much. There is a lot of noise and such in the transfer, especially during dark scenes, so don’t go looking for this one to pop-off your screen at you too much. The core of the film its self is very Italian. After seeing as many Italian horror movies as I have, it was nice to see a bit of a different genre get some of the spot light from a company like Arrow. This isn’t one of my favorite releases from them, but I always welcome in a little something different to the mix and this is at least a different kind of genre film release, one we don’t see much but is always welcome. Sure, the movie drags and still manages to feel a bit too rushed during the last act, but it is a story told with some creativity and with some tense and cool moments regardless. If you love scooping up every Arrow title, then I’m sure you’ll be happy with this one. It might not be a perfect film, but it is nothing short of a product of its time and genre, which is at least worthy of you giving it a look if you are a film fan in general.
– Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
– High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray and Standard Definition DVD presentations of two versions of the film: the original full-length Italian release, and the shortened English-language cut
– Italian and English soundtracks in uncompressed PCM mono sound on the respective versions of the film
– Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian version
– Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English cut
– Theatrical trailer
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist
– Illustrated collector’s booklet containing new writing on the film by Robert Curti, author of Italian Crime Filmography, 1968-1980
Quality of Transfer: 73%