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HELMUT BERGER IN 'BEAST WITH A GUN' AKA 'THE MAD DOG KILLER'

Title: BEAST WITH A GUN Year: 1977 Rating: ****

The most brutal, uncompromising, intensely-violent Italian exploitation flick stars Austrian actor Helmut Berger as Nanni Vitali, who goes on a lethal crime spree with gang member cronies and, after dealing with a traitor in a rural locale, is obsessed with the poor guy's girlfriend Marisa Mell, a voluptuous beauty given an important hour-long role of the ninety-minute programmer: involving a central rape sequence that almost disguises itself as a gritty romance...

And her character deserves more screen-time, perhaps for a chance to ultimately kill the MAD DOG KILLER, something trailing cop Richard Harrison avoids — even after Vitale kidnaps and mutilates his young sister and judge father in a warehouse-set final act... instead arresting the maniac so he can rot in prison: ironic since the entire movie begins with the titular BEAST WITH A GUN easily breaking out...

Helmut Berger and Marina Giordana in BEAST WITH A GUN

In the lead, Helmut Berger has the perfectly gaunt, scarily handsome, formidable countenance of a location-hopping gangster causing more and more havoc, taking random hostages including a busload of female students...

But he's also slow-burn and meticulous, backed by an eerie electronic soundtrack, as if he were some demented futuristic robot: while determined American-import Harrison's performance goes beyond that of a cliche token cop...

Helmut Berger in BEAST WITH A GUN

In Quentin Tarantino's JACKIE BROWN, stoned couch-potato Bridget Fonda watches two BEAST scenes: the first with the gang innocuously filling their tank at a gas station, and then Vitali (who Sam Jackson mistakes for Rutger Hauer) slapping the hell out of poor Marisa: overall representing both the slow-burn and cold-blooded aspects of what seems like his very own psychopathic propaganda...

All neatly paced by director Sergio Grieco, who took the American Classic Gangster premise of WHITE HEAT infused with the limitless European-set terror of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE — as a starting point!

Richard Harrison in BEAST WITH A GUN with Marisa Mell
Helmut Berger and Marisa Mell in BEAST WITH A GUN
Marisa Mell in BEAST WITH A GUN
Marisa Mell in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger and Marisa Mell in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger in BEAST WITH A GUN
Richard Harrison in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger and Marina Giordana in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger and Marina Giordana in BEAST WITH A GUN
Richard Harrison in BEAST WITH A GUN
Richard Harrison in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger and Marina Giordana in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger and Marina Giordana in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger and Marina Giordana in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger and Marina Giordana in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger in BEAST WITH A GUN
Marina Giordana in BEAST WITH A GUN
Marina Giordana in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger and Marisa Mell in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger and Marisa Mell in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger and Marisa Mell in BEAST WITH A GUN
Shown in Jackie Brown ala BEAST WITH A GUN
Shown in Jackie Brown ala BEAST WITH A GUN
Marina Giordana in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger and Marisa Mell in BEAST WITH A GUN
Richard Harrison in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger in BEAST WITH A GUN
Helmut Berger and Marisa Mell in BEAST WITH A GUN

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