The Professor (1986) Poster


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The great Guiseppe Tornatore's somewhat forgotten cinema debut,an effective if familiar gangster saga
DrLenera18 March 2006
The first feature from Cinema Paradiso man Guiseppe Tornatore,this is quite unlike his other films. It's a fairly generic but solid gangster saga along Scarface lines,and is loosely based on fact. There's little of the beauty and lyricism you would expect from Tornatore,but he proves himself perfectly adequate to the demands of the mob genre.

With a very strong performance from the erratic Ben Gazzara as the anti hero of the title {especially good in the latter sections when he starts to lose his mind},it's your basic rags-to-riches-to-comeuppance story,and indeed there is much that is very familiar. Nevetheless,there are a few original touches,such as having Gazzara's character rise to the top using his brains rather than violence and do it mostly while he is stuck in prison. Having his sister co-run the business with him is also a novel touch,and politicians are shown to be as crooked as the gangsters. The surprisingly low key ending is also very well judged.

Moving at quite a fast pace despite it's two and a half hour length,there are plenty of the expected brutal stabbings and shootings,well staged if a little repetitive. One very bloody murder in a shower is especially memorable,yet here as in some other scenes,we actually don't see all of the gory detail,just enough to make it effective.

Il Camorrista is a little choppy and has the odd awkward edit,as if it had been cut down from a much longer film. Still,gangster movie fans will find plenty to enjoy,and the film deserves more than the current UK DVD,which has shoddy picture quality,is badly dubbed and fullscreen!
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Good biopic
VinceInTheHutt10 August 2004
The "camorra" is the Neapolitan equivalent to the Sicilian Mafia and this is a pretty good biopic, loosely based on the life of prominent "camorrista" Raffaele Cutolo.

The film deals extensively with the strong links between organized crime and politics and makes some very badly veiled allusions to modern Italian politicians and events.

From a film point of view, there's not much in the way of character development. The main character studies medicine (?) in an attempt to escape the criminal milieu he is meant for, but after being sent to jail over a crime of passion he turns into a cold, pitiless man who ruins and corrupts everyone around him. He is nothing like Brando's delicately nuanced Vito Corleone. This guy is ugly, evil and completely unredeemable.

On the plus side, the film was shot by Tornatore who was responsible for the magic Cinema Paradiso. This works as a sort of "flip side" to that films rather elegiac vision of Southern Italy.

Well worth watching, if only to see an "alternative" mafia film, where a nation's problems are most definitely NOT solved by a quickie car chase.
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Very good gangster movie
D_vd_B2 July 2006
The main reasons why I bought this movie, are that it finally shows the Camorra and because of Tornatore. I read that this movie was banned in Napels, but I forgot the actual reason. Maybe it was banned because it gave politicians a bad name or because the Camorra was against it.

This movie has many things that the most (Hollywood) gangster movies are missing; gritty look, realistic gore and NOT glorifying crime. The Tornatore directing is very good; it's maybe not as superb as his "Legend of 1900" or "Nuovo Cinema Paradiso" but that's okay, especially for a debut.

Ben Gazzara is good enough as The Professor (Raffaele Cutolo). He appears to me as a real Camorra capo (cunning, cruel and evil) would be. The only thing that bothered me about his acting, is that it looks a little silly when he goes crazy and bangs his head to the glass, but the dubbing isn't really helping there.

The supporting cast is quite good. Some of them also make their appearance in La Piovra (Nicola Di Pinto) and some even in Godfather Part 3 (The assassin from Sicily plays a magistrate here). There were no actors that bothered me or anything.

The soundtrack is good. It's no Morricone, but you cannot expect that from every Italian movie.

The DVD (EAN 5050232700587) is not very good. It is in English with no subtitles. The picture quality is bad, but still watchable. The sound is OK. There are no specials on the disc and for a movie of 144 minutes long, it has a very small number of scenes.

If you like La Piovra, you like this. If you don't like La Piovra, you can also like this, but it's a little different than what most people are used to.
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A well done Italian mafia movie.
Boba_Fett113810 December 2009
The Italian mafia is the world's best known one but yet it always had been the Americans who made the best mafia movies, involving Italians. This movie however shows that also Italians themselves are capable of making a good mafia movie.

The director Giuseppe Tornatore made his debut with this movie. He would go on to make world wide well known Italian movies such as "Giuseppe Tornatore" and "La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano". He's actually one of the best directors at the moment that Italy has. For a debut movie this one is also certainly a great one.

I think that it's really foremost due to its professional directing approach that makes this movie such a great one. It's not really done typically European style and it has a way more professional look and feel over it than most other genre attempts, made in Italy itself.

The story is quite good and loosely based on some true events and characters. You could say that the movie is being a bit overlong at times but this was probably also due to the fact that this movie was initially intended to be an 5 hour TV-movie, which no doubt would had aired in different one hour parts or so. Luckily the movie is not being that long now to watch but still it's almost three hours long and not always being good enough to hold your interest throughout.

Ben Gazzara is a good actor and is perhaps best known for his Hollywood work but I'm still not too sure if he best the best choice for this movie. Perhaps he just appeared too friendly to me to look at him as this big though mafia boss who is building his empire and pulling the strings on all sides. Still his acting qualities compensate a lot.

A pretty good unknown mafia movie, from one of Italy's best directors.

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Mafia 101, a fine Italia production, I profess
videorama-759-85939113 October 2015
Whenever I watch Ben Gazzara, he always commands my interest. There's this sort of ambiguous charisma, this late great actor had, even when first seeing him do the nasty in Roadhouse. Here, in this mafioso, mostly fictive tale, drawn from real accounts (this movie which surprisingly made in 86, in contrast to the wonderful olden settings) Gazzara plays a really manipulative mafioso character, where the real true colors of his character, surface, halfway through the film (which has the exact same running time as Goodfellas) and they're ugly. Gazzara of course, stands out too, as this is a Italian production, where save for him, all the other actors are Italian. The Professor is not your average mafioso boss, he's a planner, who uses his noggen, while of course paying some hard prison time, for a domestic involving his sister, being felt up, that went inexplicably wrong. The movie really gets juicy in it's second half, as well as bloody, with Gazzara escaping from the mental sector of the prison, where freedom and fresh air, do him the world of good. He becomes head of the camorra, running protection rackets, you name it, in a shocking display of greed and power, where he becomes responsible for 100 deaths, due to late over payments, or people going up against him, where it's not a smart move. One scene has him looking into a widow and her sons eyes, then waving at the son, where the widow, then spits at him, returning a much understandable malice, a back window of bus, separating them. The film's almost like Scarface and King Of New York revisited, but this much lesser known vehicle, must be seem, by lovers of mafia type/Scorsese films, etc, especially with Gazzara. The final scene, with Gazzara back in the hole, strangely unforgettable. There are moments that are very compacted with stuff, montages, etc. much like Goodfellas and Casino, but that really doesn't count as a fault, this very well made film, hardly having any.
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Rise and fall of the Nuova Camorra Organizzata
politfilm16 August 2019
Outstanding movie about the Mafia in southern Italy at the end of the 1970s. In the beginning of the movie, the authors say they hope that viewers will strengthen their belief in the necessity of the state and laws as the only true protector of civil life. However, watching the movie raises the thought that differences between illegal Mafia and legal authorities are not so great. The Mafia does not question the government, but rather competes with it, trying to imitate certain features of the government such as collecting taxes, providing safety and regulating business. The government relies heavily on the ruling ideology and consent, but is more than willing to resort to violence when threatened, and in the southern Italy government has often used the Mafia to do their dirty work, especially against labor unions, and other attempts to organize the working class.

The Camorra, a criminal organization/secret society founded in Campania in the 17th century, has developed into independent clans who cooperated or were feuding with each other. During the 1970s, Raffaele Cutolo, a charismatic crime boss in the Neapolitan region, formed a new criminal organization modeled on the traditional Camorra from the 19th century, and soon came into conflict with the existing camorrist groups. The New Organized Camorra (Nuova Camorra Organizzata) recruited its members in prisons and among unemployed youth, was very aggressive and had a strong hierarchical structure, with ideological stronghold in the code of silence, local patriotism, remarkable mutual solidarity, Catholicism and political conservatism. This film is about the rise and fall of the reformed Camorra, which spread rapidly due to its structure and ruthlessness but ultimately failed due to a lack of understanding of the broader political picture, very bad political assessments, unfounded megalomania and general loss of contact with reality. Based on actual events.
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