When the police discover that the mafia is using children’s corpses to smuggle narcotics over the French border the mob closes ranks to deal with the matter internally. Tony Aniante (Henry Silva) is dispatched to Sicily to deal with the culprit Don Ricuzzo (Fausto Tozzi). Aniante fans the flames of Ricuzzo’s enemies, pitting Don against Don until only one man remains.
Cry Of A Prostitute (1974) is a nasty little crime film. Director Andrea Bianchi’s penchant for sadistic violence and aggressive misogyny appears in great abundance throughout the film. In the first five minutes a man is decapitated and a child is cut open and a metal canister of heroin is removed from his torso. Bianchi has no sympathy for the character of Margie (Barbara Bouchet) who exists only as a sexual object that is used and abused systematically until she is literally disfigured and commits suicide.
Tony Aniante, the would-be hero of Cry Of A Prostitute, is often times much crueler than the mafia Dons he has been sent to deal with. Aniante is the direct descendant of “the man with no name” and Kuwabatake Sanjuro. Cry Of A Prostitute is in substance a western and in appearance an organized crime film. Bianchi equates the code of honor amongst mafiosos with that of the gunslinger and the ronin. It’s a structure of cruelty, abuse, and exploitation where only the most violent men rise to the top.
On an aesthetic level Bianchi’s appropriation of both Leone and Kurosawa is pretty compelling and well executed. It’s possible to read Cry Of A Prostitute as a kind of commentary on the political unrest and corruption in Italy during the mid-seventies. However Bianchi clearly privileges spectacle for the sake of tantalization over any social or political metaphor.
It’s impossible to deny that Cry Of A Prostitute is a disturbing picture that certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s well made (stylish, pulpy) with an economic sense of storytelling that really holds one’s attention. The Code Red BluRay release looks excellent and has retained a definite filmic quality to the grain of the image. This one is most likely only for the adventurous viewer or the serious collector.