The face of anarchy and unstable psychological makeups
Pork Chop | Lisbon, Portugal | 04/25/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Autostop rosso sangue (Hitch Hike - 1977), is a "B" movie,
obviously, that will easily be overlooked and too quickly
In reality, it stands tall for the niche story that it tells,
comprising a wide spectrum of fascinating aspects, turning the
movie into a kind of magic, along the 90 minutes.
The wide-screen cinematography is visually appealing, the
soundtrack appropriate (albeit low tech, not great).
Above all, the acting talent is phenomenal, as Franco Nero
carries the picture on his shoulders from start to finish as no
other actor could with sheer intensity, focus and hard work.
Corinne Clery is equally, if not more valuable as an actress,
with a rare combination of youthful yet classy, ravishing beauty
and sensuality that is rarely seen on screen anymore, these days.
David Hess, one of the bandits, has his moments too, convincingly
playing a bad guy escaped from a mental institution, authoring a
stick up with several others.
The number of surprises along the way never ceases, the tension
constantly building, the suspense heavy. There is a non-stop
theme of mental instability, whether it's played by the bickering
couple or the bandits, etc.
The mental state of the bad-guys is ascertained by exterior
expressions of obscene and/or tasteless humor / jokes made worse
with a non-stop patent alcoholism.
Unusual circumstances are added to the sequences, such as the
various pistols and rifles, and a number of more dead-serious
moments, namely, the point blank shootings resulting in blood
packs going off, cars driven over a cliffs, explodions, hostage
situations, nudity combined with brutality.
An effort is made for the work to be as realistic as possible,
with rival bandits trying to get the upper hand and seizing the 2
million in cash, for example.
An effort in realism is shown, demonstrated by the
vulnerability of the woman character, played by Corinne Clery,
and also the vulnerability of both Clery and Nero's characters in
face of anarchy, and unstable psychological makeups.
For example, juvenile delinquents with a criminal streak in them,
empty oil cans on a road to have the couple skid off, crash and
There are a number of controversial elements, nudity, the
yelling, drinking, demented conduct, as Murphy's Law is proven
time and again, as things turn for the worse as time passes, and
as cruelty becomes a token."
Gritty and cheesy at the same time!
D. Steinmetz | Georgia | 04/09/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I got this film for two reasons: Corinne Clery and Franco Nero. I've always liked Nero, but can't really say why. He always has such an imposing on-screen presence. My earliest memories of him were in the above average war movie "Force 10 From Navarone'. As for Clery, she first came to my attention as a 'Bond girl' in 'Moonraker'. Both do a pretty good job of portraying a very unhappily married couple that is taken hostage by evil David Hess. I recognized him from the horror classic, 'Last House on the Left'. Doing a little research, I found that Hess was formally a songwriter, and it was none other than Hess who composed 'Speedy Gonzalez', one of singer Pat Boone's biggest hits! What an interesting career this guy has had.
Nero does a fine job as a drunken jerk, an alcoholic writer on holiday with his wife, Clery, when they pick up a hitch-hiker, Hess, an insane crook who is on the run. Not only from the law, but his two partners, who he doubled crossed to the tune of $2 million. There's a deadly encounter with the police, and a gentle warning, it's brief but graphic, then a reckoning with the two jaded partners, who the couple thought, at least for a moment, might be their salvation. Konitz (Hess) then directs the terrified, exhausted couple to a remote location, where he proceeds to brutalize not only Nero but his wife, including a memorable rape scene in which Nero is tied up and forced to watch. While David Hess succeeds nicely as a brain damaged maniac, he really does overplay his role at times, coming across as a bit over-the-top. As for the ending, I won't give it away, but can honestly say I didn't see it coming.
All in all, this is a really unique Italian thriller. There's a certain feel to Italian movies that is somewhere between cheesy and edgy....a combination of disturbing realism and a strange taste for bombast and buffoonery. I've noticed it in nearly every Italian-made film I've ever watched. The DVD quality is excellent, and it shows best to highlight the scenic Gran Sasso mountain area of Italy where the movie was filmed. One of the few obvious flaws in the film....the director took great pains to make it look like the American West/Southwest, but with the gas stations, forgot to change the prices! Watch carefully, and it looks like the signs say $5-something a gallon. A tad high for 1977. It was actually the Italian pricing of $5 Lira per liter. Last but not least is some very minimal but impressive music by Ennio Morricone.
Nero, Clery and Hess all give memorable performances. Some of Nero's more highly praised films have been my least favorites...'Keoma' for example. Far from being 'the last great Spaghetti Western made', as is often claimed, it was a seriously flawed film. Clery was (and still is) gorgeous, with several nude scenes and looking absolutely stunning. David Hess, despite being a camera ham at times, is totally believable as a criminal psychopath. The DVD has some spartan extras, including 'The Devil Thumbs A Ride', featuring interviews with the stars. Among the more amusing recollections, how Franco injured his hand while filming 'Keoma' (he punched a horse!), which resulted in Corinne doing most of the vehicle driving for 'Hitch Hike'. The bandage you see Nero wearing on his hand in the movie is real. There's also an funny story about one of the fight scenes involving Nero and David Hess, in which Nero supposedly broke David's nose.
All in all, a bizarre and eerie film well worth the Amazon price."