I Ain’t Gonna Work On Mimsy’s Farm No More… THE VIOLENT FACE OF NEW YORK Reviewed

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La Faccia Violenta Di New York (1973). Directed by “George” (Jorge) Darnell. Produced by Toni Di Carlo. Written by Jorge Darnell, Giovanni Fago, Marino Onorati, Alberto Piferi and José Diaz Morales. Cinematography by Erico Menczer. Edited by Alberti Gialitti. Art direction by Gianni Polidori and José Rodriguez Granada. Music by Riz Ortolani. Starring: Sergio Jiménez, Fernando Ray, Mimsy Farmer, Luigi Pistilli, Renato Pinciroli, Yolanda Rigel, Adolfo Lastretti, Tere Velázquz, Léon Singer, Giuseppe D’Avanzo, Augustin Isunza.

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Beating up wet backs is made to look like so much fun in The Violent Face Of New York…

I’ve been bingeing on Amazon Prime recently and thought I might post a few quickie reviews of stuff I found on there, as time permits and the fancy takes me. The Violent Face Of New York (here under its alternative title One Way) is a bit of rarity in that it’s an Italo-Mexican co-production. The picture it paints of the lives (and deaths) of illegal Mexican immigrants to the USA suggests that Trump would be doing them a favour if he ever did build that fucking wall: repetitively setting up pins in a bowling alley and getting duffed up by its scumbag patrons, lugging heavy sacks around and getting beaten to death and stuffed into one of them if you complain about working conditions… it’s all in a day’s work, a model of industrial relations straight out of a Tory wet dream…

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Although fellow wet back wannabes are shot dead by US border guards, Sergio (Sergio Jiménez) makes it to the promised land with a package of dope and an introduction to gang master Mr David (Fernando Ray). Disgusted by the exploitive underworld he’s been sucked into and having become involved in an affair with the gang master’s mistress, Milena (Mimsy Farmer), Sergio resolves to bring down the organisation but in a downbeat drama such as this, there’s only ever going to be one conclusion…

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Jorge Darnell (whose thin resumé also includes the 1975 rip-off of you know what, Devil’s Exorcist and the following year’s horror comedy Hard Times For Dracula) directs with gritty efficiency and was able to call on a solid crew. A Riz Ortolani score never exactly hurts, either. Sergio Jimenez is believable and sympathetic as the doomed hero and Fernando Ray, as usual, never puts a foot wrong. As with so many of the films she’s appeared in, though, it’s Mimsy Farmer who continues to haunt the viewer’s memory…

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Her dark hair in this one makes for a refreshing change (though she’s often required to wear a Marilyn Monroe-style blonde wig for Mr David’s sexual gratification) but it’s the same old fragile Mimsy. Nobody has ever suffered in Italian (or any other) cinema quite like Ms Farmer. I’m not talking about the physical suffering routinely undergone by the likes of Daniela Doria, Zora Kerova and Mariangela Giordano, though (MAJOR SPOILER ALERTS AHEAD!) one shouldn’t discount Mimsy’s spectacular decapitation at the climax of Argento’s Four Flies On Grey Velvet (1971) or the fact that the rest of the cast of Francesco Barilli’s Perfume Of The Lady In Black (1974) conclude that film by eating her. It’s the laceration of her very soul, so eloquently conveyed in those Argento and Barilli pictures, Barbet Schroeder’s More (1969) and Armando Crispino’s Autopsy (1975) that makes each cinematic date with Mimsy Farmer such a memorable one and the denouement of TVFONY, in which her character’s desperation and simultaneous resignation to her enslavement are so readable in those eyes, is yet another mesmerising moment.

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I was tickled by the scene in which Mr David, attempting to intimidate his moll back into line, tells her that Britain was once overrun with hamsters and that we limeys solved the problem by turning them all into fur coats. Americans believe the funniest things about life over here, don’t they? The one about Birmingham being a no go area for Muslims is particularly droll. But she takes his point… or rather, sadly for her and Sergio, she doesn’t.

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