Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Hired Killer – Cineploit (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1966
Director: Francesco Prosperi
Writer: Francesco Prosperi
Cast: Robert Webber, Franco Nero, José Luis de Vilallonga, Cec Linder, Theodora Bergery, Earl Hammond, Michel Bardinet, Giovanni Di Benedetto, Jeanne Valérie

Release Date: September 15th, 2020
Approximate Running Time: 96 Minutes 47 seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Italian, DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono German
Subtitles: English, German
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: 24,90 EUR

"Clint Harris is one of the best hired Killers of the Organisation but he ´s done with it and wants to leave the business. The Organisation gets him for a last job to get rid of a traitor and this time even with a partner. The target is hard to locate because that person has done a face-change operation. The two Killers are on the hunt but after some time it is unclear who to trust and how to finish the mission......" - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 3.75/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "Worldwide 2K Blu-Ray Premiere!"

The Hired Killer comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 32.6 GB

Feature: 27.6 GB

Though no source is given about this release’s transfer, the use of English language titles suggest it comes from an English language source. The source used for this transfer is in very good shape and any source related damage is minimal. Though colors and black levels look very good throughout and they're a few moments where they could have been stronger.

Audio: 4/5 (DTS-HD Mono Italian), 3.5/5 (DTS-HD Mono English)

This release comes with three audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in English, a DTS-HD mono mix in Italian and a DTS-HD mono mix in German. Though dialog comes through clear enough to follow on the English language track, this track that the Italian language tracks range. The Italian language tracks sounds, clean, clear, balanced and robust. This release comes with two subtitle options, English and German and the English subtitles are for the Italian language track. Though subtitles are removable, you can only disable them via the setup menu. It should-be noted that there’s a newspaper headline in Italian and the two subtitle options translate the newspaper headline.


Extras for this release include an image gallery (121 images – lobby cards/home video art, posters/stills/other promotional materials), an option to listen to Robby Poitevin’s twelve song score (you can listen to each track separately or play all), an interview with Mike Malloy, Eurocrime: the Italian Cop & Gangster Films that ruled the 70s (12 minutes 44 seconds, in English with removable German subtitles), a double-sided Poster with the two italian locandias and a media book packaging that contains a twenty-eight-page booklet with director Francesco Prosperi’s filmography (text in German), an essay written by Udo Rotenberg (text in German & English), a biography for composer Robby Poitevin (text in German & English) and images from the film (lobby cards/posters).

Also, this release also comes with multilingual menus, English and German.


Though Italian crime cinema reached peak popularity in the 1970’s, it’s transformation from the 1960’s to the 1970’s is like night and day. With the Italian crime films from the 1960’s being primarily inspired by French crime films like Rififi and Italian crime films from the 1970’s starting off as clones of 1970’s American crimes films, before transformation into films that reflected what was going on in Italy at that time.

This brings us to The Hired Killer, a film that does a good job covering up its Italian origins. Where Italian cinema is most known for their creativity when it comes to the visuals. That said, visually The Hired Killer is a pedestrian affair that mostly just follows characters’ around. With the most flamboyant moments visually being the opening setup and finale.

The performances range from good to adequate, with most of the cast falling into the latter-category. Robert Webber (Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Death Steps in the Dark) in the role of Clint Harris, an aging hitman who wants to retire. Other cast members of note include, Franco Nero in the role of Clint’s protegee Tony Lo Bello and Jeanne Valérie (À double tour, Les liaisons dangereuses) in the role of a drug addicted girlfriend of a character who’s murder by the people trying to stop Clint from tracking down his target.

From a production standpoint, The Hired Killer is a well-made film that takes advantage of its limited resources. And nowhere is this clearer, then how effectively it uses locations like, New York, Paris and Lisbon. Though, The Hired Killer has many elements that are synonymous with Eurocrime. The action set pieces are best described as underwhelming. That said, The Hired Killer does a good job maintaining tension.

The Hired Killer makes its way to Blu-ray via a strong audio/video presentation from Cineploit that comes with an informative interview with Euro-Crime expert Mike Malloy, recommended.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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