Illustrious Corpses (1976) 1080p

Movie Poster
Illustrious Corpses (1976) 1080p - Movie Poster
Crime | Mystery
Frame Rate:
23.976 fps
Italian 2.0  
Run Time:
120 min
IMDB Rating:
7.4 / 10 
Add Date:

Directors: Francesco Rosi [Director] ,

Movie Description:
A detective (inspector Rogas) is assigned to investigate the mysterious murders of some Supreme Court judges. During the investigation he discovers a complot that involves the Italian Communist Party —Michel Rudoy


  • Illustrious Corpses (1976) 1080p - Movie Scene 1
  • Illustrious Corpses (1976) 1080p - Movie Scene 2
  • Illustrious Corpses (1976) 1080p - Movie Scene 1

Related Movies:

  • Resurrection (2022) 1080p

    Read More »

    Margaret's life is in order. She is capable, disciplined, and successful. Everything is under control. That is, until David returns, carrying with him the horrors of Margaret's past.

  • Daughter of the Dragon (1931) 1080p

    Read More »

    Princess Ling Moy, a young and beautiful Chinese aristocrat lives next door, unbeknownst to her, to Dr. Fu Manchu, a brilliant but twisted genius who is out to rule the world. She is involved with Ah Kee, a handsome young man, who also unbeknownst to her, is a secret agent out to thwart the heinous plots of Fu Manchu. As it turns out, Fu is not only her next-door neighbor, he is also, (unbeknownst to her), her father. When she finds out, will she take her father's part and fight the men out to get Fu, or will she become a brave heroine and save the world even if it is from the devious doings of her own Dad? Yes, it's dated, and there isn't nearly enough of Warner Oland in it; but it moves along well, has a lot of action, Wong and Hayakawa were fine actors, and if you're a Charley Chan fan, it's worth it to how much, if any, of Fu Oland used when creating Charley Chan.

  • Safe House 1618 (2021) 1080p

    Read More »

    A revenge plot traps 3 sisters and their getaway driver in a safe house until they can escape the country, but they may be running from so much more than just the police.


Brilliant and gripping for the first 2/3, then not so much....

The opening sequence and what follows are breathtaking -- every frame a jewel, and the messaging completely in sync with what Italy was going though during in the anni di piombo, the years during which life in Italy was controlled by the Christian Democratic party, the Mafia and the Catholic Church and when everyone else who mattered was more or less on the take.

Based on a novel by Leonardo Sciascia, the Sicilian bard of those years, the early sequence actually has the feel of a Simenon novel -- crimes are being committed, judges are being shot, and the best detective in Italy is being sent to investigate, landing in Sicily (unnamed, but clearly identified) as on a remote planet, The detective is played by the tremendous Italo-French actor Lino Ventura (who appears in just about any French film noir of the 60s and 70s that you can think of), whose face (like so many in this face-focused film) is almost a novel in itself. Nobody does faces like Francesco Rosi, and what faces he has to work with here, including not just Ventura's, but Fernando Ray's, Max von Sydow's, and many others that are at least as compelling, if not as instantly recognizable.

So for the first two-thirds of the film, the Simenon-like parts, with the Ventura character, Ispettore Rogas, trying, like Commissaire Maigret, to parse an alien environment and figure what's going on, the film is gripping. Then Rogas returns to Rome, and the plot becomes much more confusing. Suddenly we're no longer dealing with the crime Rogas thinks he has pretty much figured out, if not completely solved, but with a huge conspiracy -- we're suddenly thrust into a political thriller, more Costa Gavras than Simenon, and into what seems uncomfortably like agitprop. The Communist party, the hard-line PCI, seems for a time to be the path to salvation, but in the end, not. Youthful protestors seem to offer hope, but the basic message seems to be that the neo-fascists are always there, ready to turn whatever seeming threat they face into an opportunity. Sound familiar? The release is timely, but in the end I found the message kind of muddled.

The 4K restoration is fantastically vivid, but, until the later parts, with its huge crowd scenes, the original material was already brilliant. The English subtitles are incomplete and at times distorting...nothing new there.

The restoration, now showing at NYC's indispensable Film Forum, must be seen, even if it can be frustrating in parts. I assume it will go out on the art-house circuit, and any film lover who can should grab the opportunity, even if that is only through streaming or the DVD that I assume will come out soon if it hasn't already. The first 2/3 will knock your socks off, and maybe it's me only who finds the rest a bit indecipherable. Guess I'll just have to go back and see it again.

"Illustrious Corpses" Does Not Have Much Going For It

Unlike earlier reviews, I watched "Illustrious Corpses" from the recent Blu-ray release of this movie, which was made using a 4K scan of the two best preservation prints available.

Assuming the blu-ray distributor, KL Studio Classics, did a good job in manufacturing this disc from the 4K scan digital file, this movie as originally filmed is a technical disaster. The cinematography is all over the place, lacking sharpness through much of the movie. The scenes at the end by the museum staircase are murky as all get out. "Illustrious Corpses" looks like a low budget movie. Where the image is clear, it often has the flat lighting of an old television series. Maybe cinematographer Pasqualino De Santis filmed most interior sets dark to hide their cheapness. But why was star Lino Ventura filmed so badly? Ventura's "face was his fortune," but you couldn't say that from this movie. In 1975's "The French Detective," Lino Ventura also starred as a police inspector who also goes against a corrupt political system. Then, Ventura's character is investigating the murders of a fellow cop and a political campaign worker. Ventura looked younger and had a real personality in the 1975 movie, shown when he talks about lamb stew with his partner.

"Illustrious Corpses" is a long, drawn out movie that goes nowhere. The chief murder suspect of the judges, Cres the chemist, is never seen. Even photos including him have his face cut out. The police mug shot card for Cres is missing his photo. What does this all mean? Your guess. In this movie, the Italian government must be on as tight a budget as this movie's director, Francesco Rosi. Ventura's detective, Amerigo Rogas, often takes long bus rides instead of driving during his investigation. I still can't figure out why the targeted judges were not put in protective custody. Rogas, not a political figure, gets a secret meeting with the head of the Communist Party in Italy (who doesn't use a bodyguard even though there are riots in the street) through the intercession of an old friend who is a top party member. How insane is that?

The American distributor, United Artists, never gave this movie much of a release in the United States. UA wasn't throwing good money after bad. For all of the detective's investigating, he proves little and accomplishes nothing. Considering the general incompetence most people assign to civil service employees, that end result is realistic. I still can't get over how the blind man sitting on a park bench had his German shepherd guide dog trained so it could go over to where Rogas was having a confidential conversation, stop and then stay there as the mini radio microphone around the dog's neck transmitted the conversation to the Chief Judge in his office a distance away.

I'll stop here.

Murder among politics

Am a fan of foreign cinema and wanted to finally see more of Francesco Rosi's films, having loved his film version of 'Carmen' for years. That became one of my favourite opera films after seeing it for the first time at a relatively young age getting into opera and still is, it's actually even better now with the few things that didn't quite do it for me on my very first viewing, like the opening, not being issues.

Enough of talking about that film and lets talk about his 'Cadaveri Excellenti' ('Illustrious Corpses'). Was expecting great things after hearing a lot of positive things about it and was not let down, it deserves every good thing that has been said about it and deserves to be better known and accessibly. Am a subjective person but that 'Illustrious Corpses' was not available on DVD for a while and is to this day still underseen is inexplicable, when films nowhere near as good and in some cases not good films not only have wider coverage and highly marketed but are shown on television far more and are popular on DVD.

Talking now about 'Illustrious Corpses' as a film, it looks wonderful with some of the most strikingly beautiful and atmosphere-filled cinematography of any Italian film that doesn't have Federico Fellini's name on it. Some of it makes for many beautiful and at times nightmarish imagery, the mummified bodies will give one the creeps. The locations are also cleverly used and have both exquisite allure and stark atmosphere (apologies for throwing around this word a lot, it is hard not to when it is to me a crucial element of a film and should be mentioned). The music is haunting and has presence, whether understated or more bold, without being too loud.

'Illustrious Corpses' is intelligently written and thought-provoking, thematically it is bold and brutally honest yet human. Its depiction of Italian politics may not be innovative as such but was, and still is, honest and really quite daring (in a way that nobody expects) for back then. The story is deliberate in pace yet to me was transfixing, with a slow burning tension to the thriller/mystery parts sustained brilliantly with nothing being what it seems and .

The opening sequence is one of the best beginnings of any film seen recently, and perhaps ever, not just in how incredibly shot but also the emotion and chills one feels watching it. Even more striking is the shocking and really quite powerful ending that ends not in a way one expects, some may not like it but for me that it didn't end conveniently, predictably or less downbeat was actually appreciated and it did not jar tonally like those potentially would. There is suspense and there is nothing given away too early, one is kept guessing throughout with not much to help us. The killings are unlenting and the characters compellingly real with a lead character written with such honesty that it makes the outcome even sadder.

Rosi directs exceptionally with impeccable style and sense of mood and gets the best out of his cast. Lino Ventura is in the lead role and smoulders unforgettably on screen, giving a performance of magisterial and brooding intensity. It is a performance that has garnered comparisons as being the Italian Robert Mitchum or Humphrey Bogart and one can see why. The other standout is Max Von Sydow, an actor so consistently great that it would have been very hard to get a bad performance out of him. A bad performance this is nowhere near close to being, instead it is repellent unrepentance at its most chilling yet nuanced, it is a masterclass of saying a lot without always saying much or anything and Von Sydow always was a master at this.

Concluding, superb film and deserves far more credit. 10/10 Bethany Cox
Read More Reviews