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A Movie A Day: Quint on RICCO, THE MEAN MACHINE (1973)
Tender Flesh! Burning Acid!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.] So we get to see son of Robert, Christopher Mitchum, in charge of RICCO, THE MEAN MACHINE, alias THE CAULDRON OF DEATH. What’s not evident by the DVD cover is that the flick’s a cheap Italian rip-off of THE GODFATHER and what’s not evident by the fucking awesome US poster at the end of this article, it’s not a horror movie. Chris Mitchum looks like he’s have a blast as the son of a murdered mobster, newly out of jail and forced into avenging his asshole dad by his crippled mother, horny sister and all his dad’s faithful followers. The new Don, Don Vito (no shit… he’s not cross-eyed, obese or a kid-toucher, though so I guess Bam’s uncle won’t have a leg to stand on in court) has also taken Mitchum’s hot girlfriend and married her. The hot girlfriend is played by Malisa Longo who seriously probably has the most perfect breasts I’ve ever seen. Love the natural ‘70s, man. Like I said above, Mitchum’s reluctant to take revenge, more of a live and let live type, but he’s not afraid to check on his girl and try to talk her away from Don Vito (Arthur Kennedy, who also appeared in previous AMADs CITY FOR CONQUEST, KILLER BAIT and SOME CAME RUNNING). When that doesn’t work out too well, he ends wanting to ruffle the Don’s feathers a little. Of course that leads down a road where no one escapes without a bullet hole or taking an acid bath. One of the gang’s fronts is a soap factory and those that cross the Don take a little dip in the acid bath and turned into bars of soap, which is awesomely forshadowed by the Don’s complete distaste of soap, to the point that he won’t use it anymore, not sure who he’s washing with.

Mitchum is Pinocchio here, but more wooden. He makes Hayden Christensen look like 1980s Robin Williams. He has the lazy eyes of his father, but not the immediate and striking screen presence. That said, he’s not out of place in this world. It’s very low budget, but that gives it its charm. There are enough colorful (and often naked) Italian characters around him, including the sexy Barbara Bouchet, known for her ‘70s exploitation fare like NEVER TORTURE A DUCKLING. Final Thoughts: The flick is ridiculous, the violence extreme (pre-HOSTEL 2 castration that gives us an even more graphic depiction of the act), the nudity coming fast and furious. In short, it’s about everything you’d want from an entertaining piece of ‘70s schlock. There’s a tone and earnestness to ‘70s exploitation that is missing from low budget knock offs today.

The schedule for the next 7 days is: Monday, July 28th: IN HARM’S WAY (1965) Tuesday, July 29th: FIRECREEK (1968) Wednesday, July 30th: THE CHEYENNE SOCIAL CLUB (1970) Thursday, July 31st: THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1956) Friday, August 1st: THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS (1957) Saturday, August 2nd: VON RYAN’S EXPRESS (1965) Sunday, August 3rd: CAN-CAN (1960) Tomorrow we jump to IN HARM’S WAY via Barbara Bouchet and more Mitchum blood (James Mitchum appears in the flick). Hrmm… more Barbara Bouchet… drooooolll… -Quint

Readers Talkback
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  • July 27, 2008, 8:23 p.m. CST


    by all

  • July 27, 2008, 8:23 p.m. CST

    awesome poster

    by all

    not referring to myself, obviously.

  • July 27, 2008, 8:37 p.m. CST

    Yeah, the poster looks good...

    by mrfan

    and you seem like a nice poster all

  • July 27, 2008, 10:22 p.m. CST

    Quint: A REQUEST!

    by Lukecash

    Make sure you have an archive list of what you reviewed people can look at it.

  • July 27, 2008, 10:48 p.m. CST


    by Quint

    I usually do, but I'm cutting some corners to get these up during comic-con. It'll be up on the next one.

  • July 27, 2008, 11:35 p.m. CST

    Wolverine has leaked, chums

    by O_Goncho I know this is irrelevent in here, but still...

  • July 27, 2008, 11:40 p.m. CST

    Oooo I gots ta see this one!

    by kafka07

    Thanks for digging this one up Quint. Maybe sometime you could do a streak of Italian films.

  • July 28, 2008, 1:35 a.m. CST

    Vern also reviewed this a while ago.

    by DerLanghaarige

  • July 28, 2008, 3:44 a.m. CST

    thanks o goncho

    by TELF

    Rather nice. Also, I have been wanting to see this since Vern gave it the treatment over at Then Fuck You, Jack. Great article Quint, where did you find it?

  • July 28, 2008, 6:17 a.m. CST

    Also released as "Gangland"

    by JackRabbitSlim

    Though the Alpha video release was notoriously cut and chopped for content - one of the few re-buys I've had to do...

  • July 28, 2008, 6:42 a.m. CST

    Gotta love these mob revenge flicks

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    In the Lee Marvin flick Prime Cut, which I haven't seen, I hear there's a great scene around a slaughterhouse where some guy is killed, and sent back to his mob boss in the form of sausage.

  • July 28, 2008, 7:29 a.m. CST

    This is the kinda film you need to watch on video.

    by Knuckleduster

    It's probably pure nostalgia, but I just love watching "exploitation" on video instead of DVD. Thank God my VCR still works. Good movie, shitty picture, shitty sound, good times.

  • July 28, 2008, 8:22 a.m. CST

    The anal-retentive in me must point out...

    by rockgolf

    ...that if the people in the movie are being converted to soap, then they are being dropped in <b>lye</b>, which is chemically a base, the complete opposite of an acid.<p> Lye plus fat creates a molecule that at one end attaches to non-polar molecules such as grease and at the other end attaches to polar molecules including water. Soap works by simply getting oil to mix with water.<p> I hope, Timmy, that our science lesson has enhanced your movie-viewing enjoyment.<p> Now can we get back to discussing Malisa Longo's breasts?

  • July 28, 2008, 8:22 a.m. CST

    once again, the stole our idea

    by ironic_name

    team OLEG has a similar cover for our danny trejo movie blood brothers.

  • July 28, 2008, 8:22 a.m. CST

    once again, they stole our idea

    by ironic_name

    team OLEG has a similar cover for our danny trejo movie blood brothers.

  • July 28, 2008, 10:33 a.m. CST

    Shia "The Beef"

    by fishpillow

    just got a DUI!!! Bwa-HA HA HA HA

  • July 29, 2008, 10:06 a.m. CST

    Prime Cut scene was , as I remember, the title-credit scene

    by JackRabbitSlim

    It opens with raw meat going through the processing machines and at the title we learn its human about to get sent to the baddie. I bet Quentin Tarantino knows that movie from opening to closing reel - including the "we've kidnapped sexy girls and are holding them nude in pens" bit.