Looking for a beer and a brutal entry from the Italian Poliziotteschi library, The Savage Three (or Fango bollente) looks to be an efficient reminder of just how immoral some of Italy’s output in the 70’s could be. However, where some films look to overachieve, The Savage Three keeps its nastiness within the realms of normality and that makes things just that little bit more unnerving.
Ovidio is a young computer technician working with cutting edge technology, however, he is finding the job boring. Feeling he needs more excitement in his life Ovidio and two buddies embark on a vicious rampage across the city. The three are well presented and dressed, easily luring unsuspecting folk into their peril. On the case is Commissioner Santago, an older officer with old-fashioned instincts who is never too far away from the truth.
It is an interesting turn on the typical politizi movies as the savages are from a better background. Looking at Almost Human and other films of their ilk, the antagonists are much generally more undesirable. When compared to the antics of those in Almost Human the Savage Three are, in most instances, more tame. When I say tame, they are still a little shocking. Although fans of the genre will probably be expecting more depravity from the film’s initial premise.
The least satisfying aspect of the film has to be the big connection made by Santago. This comes too easily. Out of all the folk in Turin, Santago manages to come up with Ovidio. This leads to the face off between Santago and Ovidio and whilst it’s a little unexpected that it’s all over quite quickly… it’s all over too quickly. I had been hoping for more of a confrontation and dialogue between the two.
Joe Dallesandro plays Ovidio beautifully. His youthful good looks add volumes to sinister nature. Toning down his emotions Dallesandro gives Ovidio a cold demeanour and this hits beautifully when he dooms his own loveless relationship. Martine Brochard plays his wife, Alba, a perfect piece of casting to cement the insanity of Ovidio. Brochard is stunning and whilst she is a wife who harbours a secret, any spouse would be besotted with her.
Enrico Maria Salerno of Casanova ’70 plays Santago, a no nonsense, aged detective with limited mobility but, as it would appear, a brilliant mind. He shares an enthusiasm with computers despite Ovidio’s waning interest. Gianfranco De Grassi and Guido De Carli play Ovidio buddies Giacomo and Peppe who are along for the ride with differing views on their savagery.
The biggest impression made in the film was Carmen Scarpitta’s role. Instead of being a screamy victim Carmen plays up to the Savages and twists the audience’s expectations. Whilst a small role it provides for the most interesting scenes in the film as the Savages react to someone who isn’t (initially) terrified of them.
Writer and Director Vittorio Salerno keeps the film bouncing along but never really dares to push the envelope beyond mild violence. The film can be compared to A Clockwork Orange but falling short with much less aggression or stylist choice. Worth noting that the recent Blu Ray omits scenes of animal abuse that would have been most horrifying for a modern audience.
Savage Three has some amusing issues along the way. The police were talking about a Ferrari the trio stole and raked about in, however, we see the boys in a Fiat Dino, which is a somewhat easy mistake to make. There is also some great footage of Dallesandro zipping about in the Mini 90.
I found a lot to like in The Savage Three, however, initially I walked away a little cold. It took time and reflection to realise that it has stayed with me and I’m glad to have seen it. I can’t say I will return to it any time soon however it makes for a decent addition to The Years of Lead box set even if it is one of the titles that I was not purchasing the set for. A decent discovery.
Posters feature one of the acts of depravity, some variations show the blood stain on the dangling victim over the groin as it is in the movie. Alongside this the (now removed) mouse trap sequence.