Crazy Joe sprawls, but for the most part it sprawls with a certain style. The film opens with four hoods singing opera while driving to make a killing, and goes on to a 10-year retrospective on the history of the New York Mafia. Not content with that, Lizzani throws in a good 20 minutes' worth of prison movie (including a riot), a bit about the gangster as existentialist and his relationships to the media. And that's topped off by Peter Boyle doing imitations of Bogart and Widmark for his mates. The film is at its best when examining the Mafia power structure. It encompasses the farce of the Italian-American Federation (no more than a PR whitewash by the Mafia, which succeeded only in drawing attention to itself); deals with Mafia-Negro relations; and generally boasts an awareness that few recent Mafia movies have had. It does, in fact, emerge as something of a B picture epic.
Cast and crew
Lewis John Carlino