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Illustrious Corpses

Cadaveri eccelenti

Now restored, Francesco Rosi’s conspiracy thriller about an investigation into the killing of a public prosecutor is a brilliant exercise in cinematic paranoia.

Dir Francesco Rosi
Scr Francesco Rosi, Tonino Guerra
With Lino Ventura, Renato Salvatori, Max Von Sydow
Italy-France
1976
120min
Prod Co P.E.A. – Produzioni Europee Associate
With English subtitles

Based on a novel rather than real events, but no less worrying for that, it finds Inspector Rogas (Ventura) searching for the culprit and reaching the conclusion – as he wanders the corridors of power and the murders mount up – that there could be a labyrinthine conspiracy on a national scale. Less journalistic in tone that Rosi’s earlier films, this is persuasively politicised film noir, with Pasqualino De Santis’ stylish cinematography and the atmospheric use of monumental architecture invoking the shadows of Italy’s past. The extraordinary cast includes such iconic figures as Alain Cuny, Max Von Sydow, Fernando Rey and Charles Vanel; none, however, is as eloquent or powerful a presence as Ventura, effortlessly expressive of Rogas’s cool intelligence, professional integrity and quiet determination.

Geoff Andrew

Additional information

Restored by the Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory and The Film Foundation, with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation.

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