1968 [ITALIAN]

Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller

IMDb Rating 7.0 10 1568

Plot summary

March 21, 2023 at 09:21 AM


Damiano Damiani

Top cast

Claudia Cardinale as Rosa Nicolosi
Franco Nero as Capt. Bellodi
Lee J. Cobb as Don Mariano Arena
Nehemiah Persoff as Pizzuco
1002.03 MB
Italian 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 48 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Weirdling_Wolf 8 / 10

'Il giorno della civetta' (1968) aka 'Day of The Ow'l is a veritable hoot!

For more years than I care to think about, I have strongly felt that anything shot/written by the venerable, hugely versatile Italian film-maker, Damiano Damiani is well worth any film fans attention; and as far as I'm concerned, his exemplary, compellingly acted, immaculately crafted crime thriller, 'Day of The Owl' is most certainly no exception to that rule. The uniquely refined entertainment quotient of, 'Il giorno della civetta' elevated by its dazzlingly stellar cast, featuring that implausibly charismatic icon, Franco Nero, the uncommonly beauteous, Claudia Cardinale, a barnstorming, Lee J. Cobb, and another fine performance by the singularly underappreciated character actor, Nehemiah Persoff.

It could be argued that, 'Il giorno della civetta' (1968) aka 'Day of The 'Owl' might also be regarded as one of the earliest examples of the gritty, soon to be ubiquitous, hyperbolically violent Italian police procedural, that would luridly devolve into the more overtly reactionary, action-orientated, Fiat-fragging, blood-spattered poliziotteschi genre which we fans know and love so dearly! As with many other thrilling, Damiani titles, his richly layered, elegantly nuanced Mise-en-scène focuses far more on dense, relatable character development, seamy political machinations, and spell-binding plotting, than tumultuous car chases, and skull-wreckingly vicious haymakers! (Aye!! That would be you, Maurizio Merli!) Even if one were not all that familiar with the more boisterous end of 70s Italian exploitation cinema, maestro Damiani's ceaselessly fascinating dissection of Mafia corruption should still prove to be a most edifying viewing experience!

Reviewed by unbrokenmetal 8 / 10

Honest, direct and convincing

The first great thriller by director Damiano Damiani, followed by many remarkable films in the 70s, such as "Io ho paura" with Gian Maria Volonte and "Un uomo in ginocchio" with Giuliano Gemma. "Il giorno della civetta" has a marvelous cast: Franco Nero just risen to stardom with "Django" (1966), Claudia Cardinale can be seen here a year before "Once Upon a Time in the West", and veteran tough guy Lee J Cobb. Sciascia's story about the murdered boss of a building company fits Damiano's way to illustrate his view on society: too many people are looking for the easy way out and keep their mouths shut. Simple, direct, honest - few films have so much credibility. Still, for an understandable commercial reason, Mrs Cardinale's role became bigger than it was in the novel.

Reviewed by Bunuel1976 7 / 10

THE DAY OF THE OWL (Damiano Damiani, 1968) ***

Being the first of a series of expose' films directed by Damiano Damiani and starring Franco Nero, this was more sober than the rest - with few of the typical "Euro-Crime" trappings - even receiving some accolades when it emerged; it's really a police procedural, with the only action sequence occurring at the very beginning.

The film is also among the first to deal with the Mafia - though it's never mentioned by name - with the characters governed by their own sense of honor and Sicily's distinctive rustic feel lending vividness to the setting. As with the other Damiani/Nero films, the downbeat ending offers no easy answers.

Apart from a dynamic score by Giovanni Fusco, it features an above-average international cast - Claudia Cardinale (as the defamed wife of an eye-witness to murder, who has gone missing), Franco Nero (as the rugged young cop), Lee J. Cobb (as the 'boss'), Nehemiah Persoff (as one of his associates) and Serge Reggiani (as a stoolie); the hilarious contribution of Gaetano Cimarosa as the wisecracking hit-man is also noteworthy.

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