Telly Savalas in a Eurocrime film… what’s not to like! Crime Boss, directed by B-Movie specialist Alberto De Martino, was released a month before The Godfather came out in Italy (and was presumably rushed into production just after Coppola’s film came out in the States some six months earlier in order to capitalise on the hullabaloo .
The familiar plot follows Antonio Sabato as an ambitious young Sicilian with a chip on his shoulder who joins the family of – and becomes a trusted henchman to – gardening loving Don Savalas. But in the Mafia, friendships are only temporary… It’s not bad, the script is stodgy and it lacks pace, but it looks good (the cinematography was by Aristide Massaccesi). There’s a neat climax in a hospital (a direct steal from The Godfather, but a god one), a gangster gets melted down into soap (‘send him to his Mamma’) and there’s a decent soundtrack from Francesco De Masi. But it’s certainly far from the best of its type and doesn’t come close to some of De Martino’s other work in the field (i.e. Blazing Magnums, Roma come Chicago and The Insatiables). It’s also not helped by the fact that Sabato, never the most appealing of actors, plays such a horrible character.