Misleadingly released in the US as Cauldron of Death, which suggested a horror film rather than the crime picture it actually is, this downbeat tale of vengeance stars an international cast toplined by noir icon Robert Mitchum's son Christopher, US character actor Arthur Kennedy and Euro-babe Barbara Bouchet.
Fresh off a two-year jail hitch on trumped-up charges, Ricco (Mitchum) -- the son of murdered mob boss Gaspare Aversi (Luis Induni) -- just wants to have a life like his pregnant sister Concetta (Paola Senatore), who's contentedly running a modest roadside hotel with her husband (Luigi Antonio Guerra). But Ricco's mother (Rina Franchetti) is committed to the old ways: It's Ricco's responsibility to avenge his father's death at the hands of Don Vito (Kennedy), who also appropriated Ricco's girlfriend, Rosa (Malisa Longo) as part of the spoils of war. Don Vito launders his money through a high-end soap factory -- that cauldron is full of acid in which Vito dissolves the bodies of those who cross him, the better to turn them into luxury personal-care products -- and is about to do a major deal with French crime lord The Marsigliese (Jose María Caffarel). Ricco throws in his professional lot with Rosa's uncle Giuseppe (Angel Alvarez), a small-time counterfeiter with a major grudge against Don Vito, vengeful former Don Vito associate Cyrano (Eduardo Fajardo) and Rosa's smoking-hot cousin, Scilla (Bouchet), who also proves a willing substitute for Rosa.
A deeply uneven GODFATHER (1972), RICCO's cult reputation rests equally on the oft-displayed charms of Longo and Bouchet (her mid-road strip scene burned itself into the brains of exploitation moviegoers of a certain generation) and the acid-bath sequences, which culminate in the castration-murder of one of Don Vito's henchmen: The graphic mutilation is surprisingly shocking despite 35 years of subsequent advances in special-effects technology. The film's downsides include the slow pace and Mitchum's less-than-impressive martial arts fight scenes and the long gaps between spasms of violence.
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- Released: 1973
- Rating: NR
- Review: Misleadingly released in the US as Cauldron of Death, which suggested a horror film rather than the crime picture it actually is, this downbeat tale of vengeance stars an international cast toplined by noir icon Robert Mitchum's son Christopher, US charac… (more)