THE SICILIAN CLAN
Directed by Henri Verneuil. Written by Henri Verneuil, Jose Giovanni, Pierre Pelegri. Cast: Jean Gabin, Alain Delon, Lino Ventura, Irina Demick, Amedeo Nazzari, Sydney Chaplin, Philippe Baronnet, Yves Lefebvre, Marc Porel, Gerard Buhr, Sally Nesbitt, Edward Meeks, Leopoldo Trieste, Sabine Sun. (PG, 118 mins)
The caper thriller THE SICILIAN CLAN was hugely popular in its native France due in large part to its starring three of the biggest names in French cinema: the iconic Alain Delon, Italian tough guy Lino Ventura, and the legendary, beloved Jean Gabin, whose career dated back to the silent era and was voluntarily put on hold when he chose to fight in WWII. Directed and co-written by the underrated Henri Verneuil (1920-2002), THE SICILIAN CLAN takes its time getting revved up, but once it does, it's a riveting, exciting heist flick that ranks among the best of that crowded 1960s subgenre. 20th Century Fox released it in the US in 1970 (with a bit more nudity that you'd expect in a PG-rated film, but perhaps we weren't as reactionary and prudish back then) and it was a moderate success in its subtitled French-language version. An English-language version was also prepared, possibly for theatrical release as well but likely for TV airings (it's the dubbed version that occasionaly plays on Fox Movie Channel and HBO), and according to IMDb, the entire film was made in three languages (French, English, and Italian). That seems like a questionable claim, as prevalent as dubbing was during that period. At any rate, most of the actors appear to be mouthing in English most of the time (Delon dubs himself, but I doubt Gabin does, and Ventura definitely doesn't). What's odd is that THE SICILIAN CLAN has never received an official home video release in the US. It's not on DVD or Blu-ray and it was never released on VHS. This film is far too entertaining to be relegated to 6:00 am showings in pan & scan format on one of the lesser-watched HBO channels. In this era of cult films being made available via manufactured-on-demand programs like Warner Archive, MGM Limited Edition, and Twilight Time, a major-studio release like THE SICILIAN CLAN is a prime example of the kind of under-the-radar gem for which those labels were created.
|Jean Gabin as Vittorio Manalese|
|Delon, Gabin, and Ventura in a publicity shot|
|Irina Demick, just because|