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The Independent Critic

Robert Hoffmann, Lisa Gastoni, Gian Maria Volonte, Claudio Camaso
Carlo Lizzani
Carlo Lizzani (story), Ugo Pirro (story, screenplay)
102 Mins. (plus extras)
Arrow Video

  • Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
  • High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray and Standard Definition DVD presentations of two versions of the film: the original full-length Italian release, and the shortened English-language cut
  • Italian and English soundtracks in uncompressed PCM mono sound on the respective versions of the film
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian version
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English cut
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist
  • Illustrated collector’s booklet containing new writing on the film by Robert Curti, author of Italian Crime Filmography, 1968-1980


 "Wake Up and Kill" Based Upon Real Story of Luciano Lutring 
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Released in both Dual Format Blu-ray and DVD by U.K. based Arrow Video, Wake Up & Kill is also known under the title Wake Up and Die. The film is based upon the true story of Luciano Lutring (Robert Hoffmann), a 1960s Italian criminal who committed over 100 robberies yet whose style led to him becoming a sort of folk hero in the country as he targeted only the wealthy and is known to have stolen over 35 billion lire during his career.

Even in the 1960's, such a story was inevitable to become a film. At the time known for television work, Hoffmann is exceptional as Lutring and captures his charisma and energy and excitement. The film is directed by Carlo Lizzani (Requiescant) with an original score by the legendary Ennio Morricone, whose full spectrum of musical scoring I am appreciating even more thanks to the efforts of indie U.K. distributor Arrow Video's commitment to bringing life to classical horror, cult and other unique films that have seldom been given the attention that they deserve.

Lisa Gastoni captured a Golden Globe for her performance here, while the film itself has long been one of those films you'd hope would get such treatment as it does from Arrow Video. While the extras this time around are a tad slight when compared to most Arrow video packages, the ones that are present are entertaining and add to an appreciation for the film.

Wake Up & Kill was an early player in the poliziotteschi motion pictures that really took off a few years after this one and is directed by Lizzani with a strong sense of visual style and excellent use of its locations. The film's pacing could have used a little bit of work, though Morricone's original music helped that cause and Hoffmann's performance gives the film a fluidity that helps it quite a bit. Gian Maria Volonte's performance as a police inspector determined to bring him in is gruff and filled with gusto. Gastoni's turn as Luciano's wife, torn between her loyalty to him and her concern that he's spiraling out of control, gives the film its emotional resonance and sense of urgency.

Wake Up & Kill isn't an electrifying film, but it's a consistently entertaining and involving crime thriller that set the tone for future crime thrillers in Italy. Technical quality of Arrow's work is top notch here, though the U.K. version is a tad brighter than the original.

For more information on Wake Up & Kill, visit the Arrow Video website linked to in the credits.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic