Loaded Guns (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: Stuart Galbraith IV
  • Review Date: Feb 23, 2024
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Loaded Guns (Blu-ray Review)


Fernando di Leo

Release Date(s)

1975 (January 30, 2024)


Cineproduzioni Daunia 70 (Raro Video/Kino Lorber)
  • Film/Program Grade: D
  • Video Grade: B-
  • Audio Grade: A-
  • Extras Grade: B

Loaded Guns (Blu-ray)

Buy it Here!


You’d think an Italian crime film starring Ursula Andress and Woody Strode, directed by genre specialist Fernando di Leo, with a poster featuring Strode and co-star Marc Porel, guns drawn, flanking voluptuous Andress, would have something to offer, right?

Alas, Loaded Guns (Colpo in canna, “Shot in the Barrel,” 1975) is miserably bad, so bad even the frequent nudity of Andress and her undeniably fabulous body can’t save it. The movie isn’t at all what the above description suggests. Opening with sprightly music and a cartoony font in its main title design, I was surprised to discover this was a comedy, at least it was intended as one, sort of Confessions of a Stewardess but with the mindset of Franco and Ciccio slapstick.

Criminally overlong at 96 minutes, the thin plot concerns airline stewardess Nora Green (Andress), who during a stopover in Naples, is asked to deliver a letter to Silvera (Woody Strode), who happens to be one of two rival gangsters fighting for control of the city’s drug trade. The message is a threat of some kind from “the American,” a hitman so mysterious no one that has seen his face has ever lived. Silvera, thinking Nora is in cahoots with the American, has his thugs beat her ruthlessly, punching her in the gut until she’s unconscious and then dump her on the sidewalk. I told you—a million laughs, this.

Then again, Silvera’s thugs couldn’t have beaten her too badly, because after stranger Manuel (Marc Porel) takes her to his home to recover, in no time she strips to her underwear, and shows no signs of bruising. Indeed, despite the severity of the beating, Nora is curiously unconcerned that Silvera’s men, or the American, or gangsters from a rival gang headed by Don Calò (Aldo Giuffrè) might come looking for her which, of course, they do.

It’s easy to differentiate a great film from a poor one: in great films, every scene has a point. (And, in many of the greatest films, every shot has a point.) At the other end of this spectrum are movies like Loaded Guns, which is overrun with scenes that have no point at all. The plot barely exists, so it jerks along at an excruciatingly slow pace from one slapstick chase to another, from one nude scene with Andress to the next. In between is endless filler, shots of Andress walking across the street, methodically changing her costumes, dull scenes of Alpha Romeros and Fiats chasing one another, etc. Director di Leo is no Lubitsch; he’s not even William Asher, whose slapstick climaxes to AIP’s Beach Party movies this resembles.

With few exceptions, Italian film comedy doesn’t travel, though I’d be surprised if even Italian audiences found Loaded Guns amusing. When a pervert interrupts Andress’s afternoon bath, she clobbers the man, his pants down, with a vase and he lands in the tub, knocked-out. She calls room service, complaining her bath tub is “clogged,” and two unblinking bellhops remove the unconscious slob, pants down and all, dumping him into a laundry hamper and rolling him away. Funny?

Andress was a limited actress but spectacularly good-looking. Even here, in her late 30s, her body is in better shape than the best-looking 20-year-olds. Likewise, Woody Strode, pushing 60, is impressively fit, though the picture doesn’t use him well. Though he had only a handful of good film roles (Sergeant Rutledge, Spartacus, The Professionals), Strode was a genuine movie star and bona fide hero to several generations of white kids as well as racial minorities. It’s both gratifying and a little sad to see him here, prominent but wasted in a trivial, dumb movie.

Swiss-French actor Marc Porel has much less to do. He worked in several prominent films for major directors like Costa-Gavras, Henri Verneuil, Georges Lautner, Jacques Deray, and Luchino Visconti, but died of meningitis in 1983 at just 35.

Raro Video’s all-region Blu-ray presents the film in 1.85:1 widescreen. The image is okay but rather blah, with rather unimpressive color and contrast. The Blu-ray defaults to the Italian-dubbed version, with good English subtitles. Though Andress spoke Italian well it doesn’t sound like her voice on the track, and Strode is clearly dubbed. The English version definitely uses both their voices. The track is rougher than the Italian one but acceptable. Both are DTS-HD Master Audio (2.0 mono).

Extras include a well-researched audio commentary by film historian Rachael Nisbet, and an older featurette for an earlier Italian DVD release, Fernando di Leo: Parody of a Genre. Included are interviews with di Leo (who died in 2003) and associates and it runs 19:53. However, for some reason, this 4:3 show has been disappointingly stretched to fill the 16:9 screen.

Even copious nude scenes by Ursula Andress can’t hide the fact that Loaded Guns is a stinker.

- Stuart Galbraith IV