Blu-ray Review: Hands Over The City (Le mani sulla città)[1963]

hands-over-the-city-MOC

Hands Over the City (Le Mani Sulla Citta)is an insanely gripping political drama from director Francesco Rosi. It stars Rod Steiger as corrupt to the core land developer and elected councilman Edoardo Nottolo. Steiger, like most actors in Italian films of the 50s, 60s up to the 80s, is overdubbed in this version, but his performance never lacks intensity despite his voice not being his own.

Nottolo uses and abuses his power by making a huge profit in a working-class part of Naples by his real estate deals. There is a huge disaster, a building collapses and some of the residents are killed. Nottolo is to blame, but he tries his best to keep personal profit and professional interests together. Naturally there are deals made to let Nottolo off the book, despite passionate opposition from the socialists.

The film perfectly merges the Italian neo-realism of Rossellini and the courtroom drama of 12 Angry Men. It moves at a brilliant pace and is rarely boring. And as Time Out says in the press notes, it is “one of the very few left wing movies that can imagine actually the mass audience it’s aimed at”. It wears it’s politics on its sleeve but never seems preachy or preaching to the converted. It’s like the Italian equivalent of Sidney Lumet’s brand of political filmmaking.

[rating=4]

Ian Schultz

Genre:
Drama, World Cinema
Distributor:
Eureka! Entertainment
BD/DVD Release Date:
31st March 2014 (UK)
Director:
Francesco Rosi
Cast:
Rod Steiger, Salvo Randone, Guido Alberti,
Buy:Le Mani Sulla Città (Hands Over the City)(Masters of Cinema) (Dual Format Edition) [Blu-ray + DVD] [1963]