In the Name of the Law

Italian director Pietro Germi scored his first major success with this 1948 film, in which a 26-year-old judge arrives in a poor and lawless Sicilian town long run by a Mafia chieftain and a local baron. The bleak, arid landscape, which recalls the Hollywood western, also seems to parallel the judge's hopeless cause. In retrospect the film's optimistic ending seems premature, considering the wave of murders that claimed several Sicilian prosecutors a few years ago. Coscripted by Federico Fellini and Mario Monicelli (director of The Great War and Big Deal on Madonna Street). 99 min.

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