November 24th, 2015 saw the release of Carlo Lizzani’s, ‘Wake Up and Kill’ from Arrow Video.
During the 1960s Luciano Lutring committed more than one hundred armed robberies in Italy and on the French Riviera. To the media he was the ‘machine gun soloist’, a name he’d earned as he kept his weapon in a violin case. To the public he was a romantic figure, one who only targeted the wealthy, stealing more than 35 billion lire during his criminal career. Wake Up and Kill was the logical extension of such fame. It became the first feature to commit Lutring’s story to celluloid, shooting having begun mere months after his eventual arrest. Capitalizing on the breakthrough success of his performance in French television’s The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Robert Hoffmann is perfect as Lutring, bringing just the right amount of charisma and youthful exuberance to his first major big screen role. Directed by Carlo Lizzani (Requiescant), scored by Ennio Morricone, penned by the future screenwriter of Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, and featuring that film’s star, Gian Maria Volonté, in a key supporting role, Wake Up and Kill’s true-crime thrills serve as an enthralling dry run for the poliziotteschi movies that would follow a few years later.
In all fairness, ‘Wake Up and Kill’ is a well made film. It had decent acting, action, and a great score by the late Ennio
Morricone. However, it just didn’t do it for me. With a runtime of 102 min, I found myself constantly checking the time to see if it was over yet only to find I still had one hour to go. The title is a bit misleading, making it sound like there is going to be a lot of violence, but there was virtually none, save for gun firing, window smashing, and the occasional domestic assault.
Apparently, Luciano Lutring was supposed to be a “Robin Hood” type of thief, but it’s not like he gave the pilfered jewels to the needy; he basically gave them to his wife, or fenced them. If anything, robbery was more like a drug addiction for Lutrang, at least that’s how it was portrayed in the film because he kept saying, “one last time, and I’ll quit,” which is the hallmark of a junkie. Another misconception is the whole machine-gun-in-a-violin-case characteristic as, at least in the film, the potentially cool accessory was nixed not long into the film.
With that said, Arrow Video did a fine job with the 2K remaster. The scenes that really pop are the ones in the night clubs that appear to only have red lights. There is also a dubbed American cut that runs about an hour and a half, which may be more to someone’s liking, and aside from the trailer, there are really no extras.
As a reviewer, I am constantly learning that there is a film for every fan, and while ‘Wake Up and Kill’ isn’t for me, I’m sure that this is some cinephile’s favorite film.
- Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
- High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray and Standard Definition DVD presentations of two versions of the film: the original full-length Italian release, and the shortened English-language cut
- Italian and English soundtracks in uncompressed PCM mono sound on the respective versions of the film
- Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian version
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English cut
- Theatrical trailer
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist