Kriminal is a 1966 crime film directed and written by Umberto Lenzi. The film is about a thief and murderer called Kriminal (Glenn Saxson) who escapes from a prison and is chased after by Inspector Milton (Andrea Bosic). It received a sequel titled Il marchio di Kriminal (lit. The Mark of Kriminal).
Italian film poster
|Directed by||Umberto Lenzi|
|Screenplay by||Umberto Lenzi|
|Story by||Umberto Lenzi|
|Music by||Romano Mussolini|
In August 1964 the Fumetti neri for Kriminal was released. The comics often contained themes of sex and violence, ranging from Kriminal killing people and seducing scantily dressed provocative women and then strangling or stabbing them to conceal his identity. Director Umberto Lenzi stated that he initially wanted to make his debut with a comicbook inspired film with an adaptation of Diabolik. Lenzi found himself unable to get the rights which were purchased by De Laurentiis. Lenzi attempted to film an adaptation of Satanik first, but eventually settled on Kriminal. Lenzi argued with the Kriminal's creator Luciano Secchi about the changes he made with the character, which Lenzi would later describe as "a bit Nazi-skin fascist. We made a fun film." Lenzi opted for a lighter tone in contrast to the comics original combination of sex and violence.
The lead role was played by Dutch actor Roel Bos under the name Glenn Saxson who previously had leading roles in a few Westerns, such as Go with God, Gringo. Bos made a screen test for director Umberto Lenzi, who was looking to portray Kriminal as a younger character than he was in the original comics.
Shooting for the film lasted about two months. Interiors were shot in Rome, while exteriors were filmed in Madrid, Istanbul, The Black Sea and London. Most of the physical stunts in the film were performed by Bos's double Attilio Serverini, except one of the more dangerous one involving Kriminal running atop a speeding train.
The film was released in 1966. The film was described by Curti as being "moderately successful" which lead to a follow-up, Il marchio di Kriminal directed by Fernando Cerchio. As of 2016, there has been no official English-language DVD of Kriminal.
In a contemporary review, Roberto Curti wrote in his book about Italian films influenced by comics that Kriminal is "fast, fun and entertaining overall, but it is also disappointingly tame." Curti mentioned that the film is "lacking the comic book's tongue-in-cheek attitude and political uncorrectness, while much of the film looked more like one of those travelogue James Bond rip-offs that were flooding the sceens [sic?] at the time."
Lenzi later noted that when he re-watched the film on television, that it "seemed even better than when I shot in 1966: then I was a bit perplexed, now I apprciate [sic?] the aspect of irony in it, something which comic strips didn't have because they were vulgar, horrible,"