I Am Afraid/Io Ho Paura (1977)

Originally filmed with the working title Timers, this Dino De Laurentiis production has had one of the most troubled histories in all of Damiani’s filmography, which is a pity because it’s also one his most accomplished films.

Gian Maria Volontè plays the bodyguard to a retiring judge who, based on Volontè’s observations, becomes involved in a political plot which could expose corruption in the highest offices. Naive yet determined to do the right thing, the judge is ultimately exposed and replaced by a corrupt counterpart who’s task is to find out exactly how much Volontè knows…

Although Io Ho Paura did receive a theatrical release outside of Italy, including territories like Mexico and Germany, there doesn’t appear to be an English dub and, as of 2019, was only released officially on VHS in very limited numbers back in the early 1980s – a Swiss/Italian release on Star video and an even more obscure North American tape for the Italian migrant community living there. It has at least fared better on television with repeated screenings on TV in Italy (RAI) up until the early 2000s, and a superior broadcast on German TV shortly after. The reason for its current obscurity rests with the producers, De Laurentiis (Italy) and Paramount (USA) – as of today it still remains very much in a legal limbo where neither party can release the film – almost certainly due to contractual complications of some kind or another. Carlo Lizzani’s seminal Bandits in Milan, another De Laurentiis/Paramount co-production, also appears to have suffered the same fate.


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