Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hitch-Hike (1977)

It's strange that two of the must powerful and intelligent italian thrillers from the end of the seventies is about a couple of people in a car. I'm of course talking about Mario Bavas Rabid Dogs and Pasquale Festa Campaniles Hitch-Hike. There might be an answer to that. Both directors where intellectuals and probably worked very fine with a small cast, where they could concentrate on characters and the fucked up relationships they have.

Hitch-Hike is probably more a movie about a failed marriage than anything else. Sure, there's criminals, rape and murder along the way - but the main thing is the unhappy husband and wife played by Franco Nero and Corinne Clery. Franco is an alcholic italian jouralist who lives on his rich wife. They're having a vacation in northern California, maybe to start over again... or just find a way end it all. The pick up a hitcher, David Hess, who happens to be an escaped criminal with two million dollars in a bag and two of his "friends" chasing him. This is the basic storyline, but there's so many surprises and twists together with a great script that this must be one of the finest italian exploitation movies I've seen.

This is a violent and somewhat sleazy movie, but it shines of quality. The cinematography is stunning! It was shot in Grand Sasso, Italy, and that location is so amazing that every shot in the movie is like a painting. It works fine as a stand in for northern California to I must say, because I was fooled by it. All the actors are... and I'm not fooling you here... brilliant. Franco Nero and Corinne Clery has a disturbed and almost to real quality to their characters and they get the opportunity to play out every emotion. David Hess is absurd and strange, and more complex than the usual fan of exploitation might think. You never know where you have them, and everything get's more nasty when Hess friends shows up, a gay couple (one of they played by the odd Joshua Sinclair - which history outside cinema is even more interesting) which is more well written than anything I've seen in italian exploitation cinema during this period. They actually feels real.

Of course there's bloody squibs, fistfights, some nice car stunts and explosions. So I promise you, this is a movie with both brain and muscles. I'm happy I finally saw it.


Jocke Andersson said...

Damn. Another one on the Must buy list.

Jared said...

I haven't seen this one either. I think I will have to do so soon!

Ninja Dixon said...

Jocke and Jared: You won't regret it! Great, great movie!