Post image for DVD Review: DETECTIVE MONTALBANO (IL COMMISSARIO MONTALBANO), Episodes 33 & 34 (MHz Releasing)

by Dale Reynolds on November 21, 2019



Dang! but this show has legs. Set in a gorgeous seaside town in Sicily, this quality cop-show, featuring the ever-young Detective Salvo Montalbano (now in his 50s) who fights murder in his section of the country with an individualistic crack team.

These two latest episodes, #33 & #34, “The Other End of the Line” and “A Diary from 1943,” continue this show’s remarkable twenty-year run on Italy’s RAI and, in America, on MHz Choice. Starring Luca Zingaretti, the show travels on its fantastic highway with the fit detective figuring out who did what to whom, the bastards!

Based on the novels and short-stories of the late Andrea Calogero Camilleri (1925-2019) (pictured left), and set in the fictionalized province of Agrigento, Sicily (but filmed in the province of Ragusa), the show is ably supported by a consistent cast of beguiling scenic views of ancient churches, modern businesses and bewitching homes and easily definable, wonderfully drawn characters. These marvelous roles, mostly police, are played by a wonderful cast: Cesare Bocci as Inspector Domenico (Mimi) Augello, a womanizing cop of some strength; Peppino Mazzatta as Detective Giuseppe Fazio, a clear-headed younger officer, wiser than all of them; Davide Lo Verde as another competent copper, Detective Galluzzo; and goofy Angelo Russo as a comical station-bound and heavy-set screw-up officer, all of whom have participated on the show for the past twenty seasons.

The only romance for our well-built, sea-swimming lead is one Livia Burlando, (performed most recently by beautiful blond Sonia Gergamasco), a lawyer who lives in Genoa and occasionally visits our intrepid policeman, both for loving and for the great food that Montalbano (and the show) uses as a marketing tool for visiting Sicily.

Of the two episodes just released, the more solid one is the second, #34, “A Diary from 1943,” in which a WWII relic building is finally being torn down and a mysterious diary is uncovered, detailing one young Fascist soldier’s admiration of the yet-to-be-executed leader of the right-wing government, Benito Mussolini, and the teen’s love for a young woman his own age. But there are hints in it that lead Montalbano onto a current series of murders of antique men who knew the dead solider. The show doesn’t falter at playing out its difficult 20th-century history, scarifying and, ultimately, very sad.

Episode 33 deals with immigrant-smuggling by a corrupt team and its affect on a local dress-maker, brutally murdered, who was fitting a suit for our dapper copper. It’s well-written, but beginning to show a slight decline in its construction, whether from a failure of the by the screenwriter or the novel it’s based on.

The two episodes are beautifully shot and the editing is tight. If you’ve followed any of these past episodes, you will fall into their groove easily enough. If you are new, you’ll have no problem following the storylines. And grateful we should be that there is a new season due to be shown in Italy early next year, with follow-ups soon after in the UK, Australia and North America. Watch these two, go back and see the others, and stay tuned for more.

stills courtesy of MHz Releasing

Detective Montalbano (Il commissario Montalbano)
Episodes 33 & 34
MHz Networks
released June 25, 2019
2 DVD set | 216 minutes | Italian, Sicilian with English Subtitles
available at MHz Releasing or Amazon

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