Song of the Day: Ennio Morricone “Un Amico”
The title theme for the 1973 Sergio Sollima film, Revolver, Ennio Morricone‘s gorgeous “Un Amico” is one of the maestro’s absolute best popular themes. The song features a gentle acoustic guitar, a nice minor key organ theme, soaring strings and a hook that will make you want to hit the repeat button again and again once the song has ended. Indeed, the theme proved to be so good, that Quentin Tarantino opted to re-use it for his World War II counterfactual exploitation film, Inglourious Basterds. Morricone also recorded a version of “Un Amico” that includes French language vocals, sung by Daniel Beretta.
As for Revolver, the film that the song was originally composed for, it was released in the UK and America as Blood In The Streets. It stars veteran British actor (and champion alcoholic) Olivier Reed next to legendary Italian genre film actor, Fabio Testi. The plot of the films deals with an Italian prison official’s wife who is kidnapped by gangster. The kidnappers demand that one of their own, a notorious and violent prisoner be released or the wife will be murdered. In order to dupe the prisoners, the prison official has the prisoner released, but in an epic double-cross kidnaps him himself, in order to ensure that the man’s colleagues don’t kill his wife. As can be guessed, the gang does not take this development well and sets out to free their compatriot and kill the man who took him in a series of violent showdowns.
The film, for being a sleazy bit of exploitation, is actually quite good. Sollima is an able and atmospheric director who shoots action sequences well. Testi, true to form is wonderfully grotty as the captured criminal and Olivier Reed is at his peacock strutting best as he ruthlessly dispenses with gang members.
Sollima and Morricone would collaborate a number of other times, with Morricone providing memorable scores to a number of Sollima‘s other films, including the acid-guitar drenched score for the Charles Bronson vehicle, Citta Violenta (aka City of Violence).