Sunday, October 24, 2021

Lucky Luciano – Kino Lorber (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: USA/France/Italy, 1973
Director: Francesco Rosi
Writers: Francesco Rosi, Lino Iannuzzi, Tonino Guerra
Cast: Gian Maria Volontè, Vincent Gardenia, Silverio Blasi, Charles Cioffi, Larry Gates, Magda Konopka, Edmond O'Brien, Rod Steiger

Release Date: September 28th, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 111 Minutes 27 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Rating: R
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Italian/English
Subtitles: English
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $24.95

"In 1946, after serving time for the murder of his colleagues in crime, Luciano was pardoned and sent back to his homeland of Sicilia. Rather than changing his life around, it was here that he became one of the most powerful leaders of crime the world has ever known." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 3.5/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "4K Restoration from the Original Camera Negative."

More information about the transfer, "Lucky Luciano was restored by Cineteca di Bologna at L'Immagine Ritrovata, in association with The Film Foundation and Cristaldi Films, with funding provided by The Film Foundation.

The full 4K digital restoration included removal of dirt and scratches, and image stabilization.

Color grading recovered the richness of the original cinematography. Francesco Rosi closely supervised this stage in order to restore the original quality of the work done by cinematographer Pasqualino De Santis.

35mm as well as digital versions of the restored film were created for screening and archival purposes.

Restoration work was completed in May 2013."

Lucky Luciano comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 36.3 GB

Feature: 34 GB

According to the information provided about the transfer, Lucky Luciano was given an extensive restoration that included the participation of the film’s director, Francesco Rosi. That said, though there are many areas where this transfer looks very good, there are a few areas where things don’t look right. The most notable of these is that the color palette looks off. Also, though the image generally looks crisp, there are few instances where the image looks too soft and there are instances where blacks look greyish. It's a shame about this transfer's color palette, since this transfer source is free of source related damage.

Audio: 4.5/5

This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in Italian/English. The audio sounds clean, clear and balanced. There are two English subtitles. One of the English subtitles is for the whole film, and the other English subtitles are for all the Italian language dialog.


Extras for this release include an audio commentary with film critic and author Simon Abrams.

Other extras include trailers for Illustrious Corpses (3 minutes 23 seconds, DTS-HD mono Italian with non-removable English subtitles), The Don is Dead (1 minute 44 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), Prime Cut (2 minutes 34 seconds, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles), Newman’s Law (2 minutes 27 seconds, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles), Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1 minute 58 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles) and Street People (2 minutes 33 seconds, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles).


Lucky Luciano was a notorious gangster whose life has been adapted into numerous films. Besides films about Lucky Luciano, he has been portrayed in other films about American gangsters. That said, most films that featured Lucky Luciano focused on his life before he returned to Italy.

Though Lucky Luciano’s most sensationalized exploits took place before he went to prison in the 1930’s. Despite being forced to relocate to Italy, he remained a prominent figure in the organized crime world. And it is precisely his life once he returned to Italy that Francesco Rosi’s Lucky Luciano explores.

From its opening moments, Francesco Rosi’s Lucky Luciano is a deliberately paced melodrama that is heavy on dialog and light when it comes to violence. With most moments of carnage being brief, the most violent sequence is a montage/flashback of the Night of the Sicilian Vespers.

That said, one drawback about Francesco Rosi’s Lucky Luciano is that it spends as much time with other characters as it does with Lucky Luciano. There are often long stretches without Lucky Luciano in which characters who are peripherally connected to Lucky Luciano interact.

If you’re going to make a film about Lucky Luciano, you better have a charismatic actor to portray him. Fortunately, Francesco Rosi’s Lucky Luciano cast Gian Maria Volontè (Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion) in the role of Lucky Luciano. Known for his captivating performances, Gian Maria Volontè once again delivers a performance that perfectly captures his character's essence. Besides Gian Maria Volontè, the rest of the cast are all very good in their respective roles. Ultimately, Francesco Rosi’s Lucky Luciano is an extraordinary piece of filmmaking that offers a deeper dive into one of America’s most notorious criminals.

Francesco Rosi’s Lucky Luciano makes its way to Blu-ray via a serviceable audio/video presentation that leaves room for improvement and an informative audio commentary. 

Written by Michael Den Boer

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