I don't recollect giving many 10s. This film has to get the gong: it has it all, great acting, great scenario, brilliant direction, it's one of those films that feels like a slice of life rather than a drama. It could have been made yesterday, although not in the USA, I hasten to add, which is a shame because it really describes the post-WW2 dispensation imposed on Italy by the USA, with the aid of the Comorra, the criminal tribal system of greater Naples. The quintessential American figure, the property developer, played by US icon Rod Steiger, stands at the centre of this maelstrom of a movie, denounced daily on all fronts by the leader of the Left forces, De Vita (Carlo Fermariello),and catered to by the assortment of running dogs and capos on the Right. This movie performs nothing less than open-heart surgery on a great city at a turning point in its history: the eloquence, the in-fighting, the soul-searching. It also contains some great film-making, particularly the initial fatal building collapse that triggers the narrative. This film gets to the heart of what went wrong with the modern city, and it has attained the status of universality. In my opinion, every American high-school student should be obliged to view it in order to graduate from High school.
Hands Over the City
Hands Over the City
Loading video, please wait...
Prior to a city council election, the collapse of a building leaves a land developer and his political backers defending themselves against a scandal.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
Tech specs720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
An outstanding masterpiece of political cinema
The first quarter of an hour of this film is completely mesmerising as we see a series of overhead shots of the different sides to the city of Naples and then the incredibly shot building collapse. At the same time we are made aware of the corruption in the building industry and how most of the money ends up in the same place all the time. Rod Steiger plays the main villain of the peace and it is an extraordinary performance. For considerable periods we simply see him prancing about his office, clearly struggling to think of the best way out of the immediate problem, the best way to get more political power and the best way for him and his son to stay on top. he expresses so much, and in such an Italian way, the pressures his constant messing with peoples' lives brings him. There are many fine sequences as the various political factions gang up and then get bought off as the big man inevitably gets his way. I preferred the slightly more fictionalised and later Three Brothers and Illustrious Corpses but this near documentary impression of Italy's boom building phase is very impressive and involving.
Disagree with both previous comments
This film is not about any aspect of human activity which is particular to Italian life. It is about the prevalence of greed and corruption over the human being and society anywhere. In this sense its value is universal - not limited to Italy. One of its strong points is precisely that it is not focused on an individual family's drama. Such focus often moves in a very superficial way - it turns the universal problem into one family's problem (and if it could be solved everything would be fine). Take a movie like "Ace in the hole". An outstanding movie, one of the best of its kind and its time (maybe of all time) and a good example of the human-focused view. You empathise with the victim, you rebel against the man (KD) but otherwise this can still be the best of all possible worlds. Not so in any of the films of Rosi. Rosi, in this more than in any other of his films, puts the collective problem, as well as the collective responsibility so clearly and so strongly to the fore that I believe this to be, maybe, the best political film of its kind ever made.