Release Date(s)1974 (December 8, 2020)
Studio(s)Alexandra Internazionale Cinematografica (Code Red)
- Film/Program Grade: D
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: C
- Extras Grade: D
Cry of a Prostitute is a crime drama that takes place in Italy and deals with a gruesome method of drug trafficking, warring Mafia families, vengeance, lurid sex, a high body count, and graphic violence. The brutality is over the top and many scenes still shock.
Dead children are being used to transport drugs undetected through customs. The bodies are sliced open, heroin is stuffed into their chest cavities, and the corpses are sewn up and dressed. A woman holds the corpse, pretending it is a sick child, until they clear customs.
Don Cosemi (Vittorio Sanipoli) and other members of the mob find this practice reprehensible. They suspect the mastermind is Don Ricuzzo Cantimo (Fausto Tozzi), an Italian-American mobster deported from Brooklyn. As a result, a long-standing feud between the two families is exacerbated.
Don Cosemi brings in Tony Anianti (Henry Silva, The Manchurian Candidate), a powerful American mobster, to find out definitively who is responsible for these atrocities. Anianti, however, has his own agenda, which may bring down both families.
Director Andrea Bianchi immerses Cry of a Prostitute in sleaze and gruesome gore. The first scene, for instance, shows a horrible car crash in which the driver is decapitated. This scene leaves little to the imagination, and signals that the picture is not for those who shrink from violence and scenes of degradation. The mayhem is almost non-stop, as one scene tries to top the one before. Killings occur constantly and vary from shotgun blasts to single shots to the temple. Several rough-and-tumble fights are executed with basic, unimaginative stunt work. The plot is secondary to the action, and several characters are cliches of mob bosses. Painted in broad strokes, they are one-note plot devices.
Only Silva’s Anianti has some layering. We see how lethal Anianti is, yet his expression suggests there’s more to him than professional hit man. Ever cool and collected, even when confronted by life-threatening danger, Anianti always appears several steps ahead of his adversaries, both physically and intellectually. Unseen, he whistles an eerie tune to taunt his victims before dispatching them with flawless aim. One shot is all it takes. But for good measure, he lines up the bodies and flattens them with a steamroller.
Margie (Barbara Bouchet) is a former hooker now married to mob boss Don Cantimo. She refers to herself as a whore, knowing full well her marriage keeps her in a luxurious lifestyle. A perverse relationship develops between Tony and nymphomaniacal Margie. He beats her with his belt, then sexually assaults her while shoving her face inside a bloody pig carcass dangling from a meathook in the kitchen. The scene is made even more sadistic because Anianti is so turned on. The sequence is more repellent than titillating.
Featuring 1080p resolution, the Blu-ray release from Code Red is presented in the widescreen format of 2.35:1. The presentation is from a 2017 HD scan from the original negatives with major, extensive color correction done in America. Corlo Carlini’s cinematography captures the beauty of the Italian countryside, especially under the opening credits, with lovely shots of the beach, old houses, and narrow streets. The Movielab color palette is not as rich and deep as Technicolor, and is more effective in outdoor settings. Indoor scenes are muted, with darker colors dominating. There’s lots of blood but its color is too bright to pass for the real thing. Silva is sweating in nearly every scene, including night scenes, suggesting the weather must have been very hot during production. Bouchet’s outfits are suggestive, with short skirts and low-cut blouses. Her hair is obviously a wig. After an especially horrifying beating, her face bears only some artistically applied stage blood and make-up bruises.
The English-dubbed soundtrack is DTS-High Definition Master Audio 2.0. Optional English SDH subtitles are available. The dubbing ranges from very good to fair, depending on the actors. The voice double for Don Cantimo is very good, as is the one for Don Cosemi. Silva uses his own voice, making it cold and emotionless which is befitting of his character. Bouchet’s dubbing is the worst. Overly flirtatious in some scenes, unconvincingly fearful in others, and mechanical in still others, her character seems to lack consistency because of the poor dubbing. Fights feature sound effects of fists hitting faces, bodies being pummeled, and grunts, none of which are very convincing. Some big stunts, such as car crashes and the opening scene of a car hitting a construction vehicle at high speed, are staged well and contain screeches, skids, and the sound of metal hitting metal.
Bonus materials on the unrated, Region A release include the U.S. opening credits and several trailers.
U.S. Opening Credits – The American credits are simply red block letters against a black background shown in full frame, unlike the widescreen Italian version, with credits projected over scenic Italian locations.
Trailers – Five trailers are included: Cry of a Prostitute, The Death Dealer, The Violent Professionals, The Sicilian Connection, and Family Honor.
Cry of a Prostitute is a nasty, salacious, vicious film. Director Bianchi portrays the world of big-time crime turning explosive unexpectedly as loyalties are constantly tested, death can occur in an instant, and profits from drug trafficking outweigh the value of human life. Nothing is subtle and none of the characters are likable.
– Dennis Seuling