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Smitheemas 31

The 12 Days of Smitheemas: Day One: Bad Cop 1

On the First Day of Smitheemas, My Bad Film Gave To Me: A Tie Of A Brain-Searing Hue.

For the first day of Smitheemas, the traditional gift comes from a film with the number One in its title. Bad Cop 1 was the only ready option. Locked and loaded.

The movie is also known as Confessions of a Police Captain, and is set in Italy. It was shot in the 1970s, and every eye-popping brain-searing jaw-dropping sanity-blasting occurrence of paisley ties in contrasting colors reminded us of this fact. The ties were beyond distracting -- they were clearly the most interesting thing in the movie.

Because, alas, a movie centering around a hotshot new District Attorney, a worldly-wise police captain, and a bunch of union-busting real estate fraud ... is not the most suspenseful.

No, it's one of those movies with a Theme. A Message. A Central Question. Is it better to be corrupt against a corrupt system, or to remain pure while the system won't let you win?

Right. Enough of that. Plot now. Police commissioner Bonavia (Martin Balsam) arranges to have a clean-freak hitman released from his insane asylum. Bonavia is hoping the hitman will kill the mafia boss (who I will call Mob Boss, because I didn't write his name down, and it's not in the imdb credits) behind much of the local corruption.

The hitman kills several people, but Mob Boss was tipped off, and escapes. An enterprising young Deputy District Attorney named Traini gets involved. Traini quickly realizes that Bonavia is corrupt, but can't prove it. He and Bonavia have lots of fascinating plot-slowing discussions.

Meanwhile, the Mob Boss is in hiding somewhere blue. The Deputy D.A. meets with him, promising to give the Mob Boss the same legal protections that any other citizen would get.

People from the past keep popping up and getting killed as Bonavia tries to build a solid case against Mob Boss, and Traini tries to build one against Bonavia.

At about the 45 or 50-minute mark, someone slipped several bowls of Drama Flakes into the script, because Traini and Bonavia suddenly have a shouting match, sounding for all the world like a weird lover's quarrel:

"What if I charge you?"
"Then I'll slander you! I'll say you took bribes!"
"But I never took bribes! You know that!"
"I know that! That's why it's slander!"

Then they stomp off and nearly get into each other's cars.

And a flamboyant homosexual stereotype shows up just long enough to call Bonavia, run across a street, and get arrested.

Then Bonavia writes out a confession for Traini and walks out of the police station. Traini reads it too late to stop Bonavia from committing the final crime in his confession -- shooting Mob Boss in front of half-a-dozen witnesses.

Bonavia goes to jail, and is shivved in the screening room. He dies watching a far better movie than the one he's in.

Is that fair? It is not! But that's what Smitheemas is all about!