Blu-ray Review – L’Assassino – Arrow Academy


Director: Elio Petri 

Screenplay: Pasquale Festa Campanile, Massimo Franciosa, Tonino Guerra, and Elio Petri

Minutes: 93

Year: 1961

Score: 6.13

Release: Arrow Academy

I really struggle with watching a Marcello Mastroianni film without just seeing that last scene from La Dolce Vita, “whatever.” That said, I really enjoyed this movie because it felt like a spiritual sequel to Vita.



Released within months of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and Antonioni’s La Notte, Elio Petri’s dazzling first feature The Assassin (L’Assassino) also stars Marcello Mastroianni, this time as dandyish thirty-something antiques dealer Alfredo Martelli, arrested on suspicion of murdering his older, far wealthier lover Adalgisa (Micheline Presle). But as the increasingly Kafkaesque police investigation proceeds, it becomes less and less important whether Martelli actually committed the crime as his entire lifestyle is effectively put on trial.

Best known for Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion and The Tenth Victim, Petri was one of the finest and yet most underrated Italian directors of the 1960s and 70s. Highly acclaimed on its original release but unjustly neglected since, The Assassin is a remarkably assured debut from one of the cinema’s sharpest chroniclers of Italian social and political realities. Petri said that he wanted to reflect the changes wrought by the early sixties, and to examine “a new generation of upstarts who lacked any kind of moral scruple”.

Arrow Academy is proud to present The Assassin in a gorgeous high-definition restoration created by the Cineteca di Bologna.

Mastroianni is cool as hell. This movie takes the best parts of The Usual Suspects with a better ending. You will, likely, disagree with me on that and that is fine with me.

The film is certainly flawed, my attention started to fade with more and more flashbacks and consistent repetition from the inspector. But the ending nearly insists on a re-watch and I will someday, but not anytime soon.

The picture quality is fantastic and fans will want to add this police procedural to their collections.

Special Features

  • 2K digital restoration from the Cineteca di Bologna
  • Uncompressed Mono 2.0 PCM Audio
  • Elio Petri and L’Assassino, an introduction by Italian cinema expert Pasquale Iannone
  • Tonino Guerra: A Poet in the Movies: Nicola Tranquillino’s documentary about the great Italian screenwriter
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jay Shaw


Director: 7 – Cinematography: 6 –  Edit: 9 – Parity: 2 – Main performance: 7 – Else performance: 5 – Score: 7 – Sound: 5 – Story: 8 – Script: 5 – Effects: 5 – Design: 8 – Costumes: 7 – Keeps interest: 6 – Lasting: 5