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CHARLES BRONSON IN TERENCE YOUNG'S 'THE VALACHI PAPERS'

The Valachi Papers Year: 1972 Rating: **1/2

One of the last Charles Bronson roles as a moody and irritable, tempermental character, soon mellowing int strong-silent types after DEATH WISH while director Terence Fisher follows along the exploitation crime template of their European venture COLD SWEAT (before RED SUN); yet THE VALACHI PAPERS is an American-backed feature that had to be shot in Italy, thus resembling Bronson's European phase and, like THE GODFATHER the same year, two main time periods are used: back when gangster's reigned and later as they're being gathered up and thrown away... 

Beginning with Bronson's gray-haired Valachi in prison, surviving various shiv-driven attempts and ending up seated in a tape-recorded backroom telling cop's cop IN COLD BLOOD actor Gerald S. O'Loughlin his story as a mob driver seen in flashbacks while randomly (and intrusively) heard narrating throughout the action... 

A sparse, violent tale with Classic Gangster Cinema cliches from loaded cement dumped in the ocean to Tommy Guns blasting, there's enough antique visual style even during overlong detours and a convoluted plot involving Valachi forced to end the career of mob boss Lino Ventura. But the Italian veteran actor's underused, not as important as need be given the primary task; Valachi's initial boss Joseph Wiseman is far more interesting as overall PAPERS has an unfocused story eventually marred by forced ingenue Jill Ireland in another dull performance, which isn't entirely her fault since this particular tough guy flick needn't an ingenue at all. 

Backstory with Charles Bronson overseen by Joseph Wiseman in The Valachi Papers
Present through-story with Bronson and Gerald S. O'Loughlin in The Valachi Papers
Jill Ireland and Charles Bronson in THE VALACHI PAPERS
An old but tough and buff Charles Bronson in THE VALACHI PAPERS

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