Saturday, October 8, 2016

Trying to kill the Perfect Killer -- Q&A with Alberto Dell'Acqua, Van Cleef's adversary in THE PERFECT KILLER

I just had the distinct honor of helping Cinedelic Records in Italy produce an LP release of one of my favorite soundtracks: Stelvio Cipriani's funk score to THE PERFECT KILLER, a 1977 Italian-Spanish hitman film starring Lee Van Cleef.

In writing the liner notes for the record, I reached out to Alberto Dell'Acqua, the actor-stuntman who played the film's villain -- and played him with a whopping amount of unlikable confidence.


Okay, so this is not anyone's finest hour in interviewing, but signore Dell'Acqua and I both (a) had a language barrier and (b) relied on a go-between, Cinedelic president Marco Duba, to relay the questions by phone. I used a scant few Dell'Acqua quotes in the liner notes (which I encourage you to check out), so below is the full Q&A, presented here for Van Cleef completists, for poliziotteschi cranks and for the sake of cinema history.

Mike Malloy: You put in such an amazing performance as the arrogant younger hitman. Did you have a model or inspiration for this sort of cockiness?

Alberto Dell'Acqua: I had no models of inspiration for my acting; I came from the circus and I was used to working in public, so I already had my own style.
Moments before his character's demise,
Dell'Acqua takes aim at the car that pins him to his death.
Did you perform any dangerous stunts for THE PERFECT KILLER?

I did not do anything exceptional on THE PERFECT KILLER, the most dangerous was the one where I go with the car against the wall, the scene in which I was dying.

What did you think about your new name for English markets -- "Robert Widmark?"
The name "Robert Widmark" was chosen by [director Mario] Siciliano. Siciliano for me was like a father, a close friend, a very understanding person on the set.

Lee Van Cleef gets the momentary drop on the arrogant Dell'Acqua in a very satisfying PERFECT KILLER moment.

Talk about working with Lee Van Cleef. What was he like?

With Lee Van Cleef, it was beautiful to work; he was always very helpful and got along with everyone.

Did anyone double Mr. Van Cleef for any stunts, and if so, was it his normal stuntman of Romano Puppo?

He did not have a stunt double. 

Lee did not typically wear a hairpiece, but he did for THE PERFECT KILLER. Did you ever hear why, and do you think it was a bad idea?

If he wore a toupee, I do not remember it. It's a film of more than 35 years old!

"If he wore a toupee, I don't remember it."  Hmmmmm....
How about John Ireland? What do you remember about your scene with him? Were he and Van Cleef good friends?

John Ireland was fantastic, he was the real star. We also had dinner together, but we communicated not so much because he did not speak Italian and I just spoke little English.

Since Dell'Acqua seemed to like John Ireland, it's a shame he had to ... well, watch the film.
What do you remember about the fight scene with the transvestites, and were those real transvestites? And what do you remember thinking when you read in the script that your character would be shooting a woman in her genitals?

The trans women were true, dressed in woman style all the day.. The violent scene with the lady star was one of many that were in the movie, but can not remember the details because I saw the movie only when comes out in the cinemas, then never saw it again.
Van Cleef and Dell'Acqua each with actress Diana Polakov, whose character's nether regions suffer an ignominious fate.
Do you feel this was a film that really pushed the limits of sex and violence on screen?
The film was not excessive with regard to violence and sex; that was in the standards for the period.

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The soundtrack is available from Cinedelic Records in a handsome gatefold edition, both on black vinyl and limited blood-red vinyl.

THE PERFECT KILLER is aka SATANIC MECHANIC (U.S. budget VHS), OBJETIVO MATAR (Spanish title), QUEL POMERIGGIO MALEDETTO (Italian title) and EL ASESINO PERFECTO (Mexican title?). The Spanish DVD seems to be the only standalone release of the film on disc, but it was also thrown onto a cheap U.S. budget collection called MOB MOVIES (not recommended).

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