Jan 082011
 

Johnny Cool - messaggero di morte

Johnny Cool (1963), a rarely-seen noir gangster film (starring Henry Silva and Elizabeth Montgomery), is based on a thinly fictionalised account of the life of Sicilian bandit Salvatore Giuliano after his betrayal and presumed death in an ambush in Castelvetrano (Sicily) in 1950. Like Giuliano, ‘Johnny Cool’, starts off as an idealistic freedom fighter corrupted through the patronage of organised crime figure John Colini (modelled on deported US gangster ‘Lucky Luciano’). Colini recruits Johnny Cool as a ‘messenger of death’ and sends him to the USA to take revenge on the former Mafia colleagues who betrayed him and carved up his empire. As with the real-life story of Salvatore Giuliano, given the nature of power and men’s inherent weaknesses, few, if any, have sufficient strength of character not to set themselves above all morality and – with their techniques of violent control – abuse their authority. Inevitably, like Giuliano — especially when collaborating with the landed aristocracy, right-wing politicians, criminals, mafiosi and neo-fascists — whatever idealism they originally may  possess will be poisoned, their social and ethical conscience eroded and corrupted, and their perception of the real world manipulated out of all realistic shape. See also FILMSalvatore Giuliano