Tony Arzenta – Radiance

uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/1000016508-220x264.jpg" width="220" height="264" srcset=" 220w, 475w, 768w, 990w" sizes="(max-width: 220px) 100vw, 220px" />Director: Duccio Tessari
Screenplay: Ugo Liberatore, Franco Verucci, Roberto Gandus
Starring: Alain Delon, Richard Conte, Carla Gravina, Marc Porel, Roger Hanin, Nicoletta Machiavelli, Guido Alberti, Lino Troisi, Silvano Tranquilli, Corrado Gaipa, Erika Blanc, Rosalba Neri, Anton Diffring
Country: Italy
Running Time: 113 min
BBFC Certificate: 18

Le Samourai, Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1967 neo-noir is often rightly lauded as a masterpiece and made an icon of its star Alain Delon, who plays a professional hitman who is trying to find out who hired him for a job and then tried to have him killed.

It’s arguably the role for which Delon is best known but six years later he played another professional hitman in a film – and performance – that should be much better known and regarded, director Duccio Tessari’s Tony Arzenta.

The film opens with a child’s birthday party where we’re introduced to the youngster’s father, our protagonist, Tony Arzenta (Delain), who leaves the party early vowing to his wife that he won’t be long. A melancholy song then plays over the opening titles, as we travel with Tony, whom we later discover is a mafia hitman, on a drive through the streets of Milan. Tony then enters a health spa and kills two people before returning home. The next day he vows to quit the business he is in for good, realising that he’ll end up murdered one day and his son will follow in his path to avenge him.

It’s no surprise that his retirement plans don’t go down well amongst his mafioso bosses who send out a hit on Tony. Tragically the hit goes wrong; Tony’s wife and young son are killed instead in a truly shocking car bombing scene that paves the way for the rest of the movie as Tony vows revenge, but is often on the defensive as his bosses try to finish the job first.

Delon is simply wonderful in the title role, equal parts burning, vicious rage as he goes on his revenge mission, and devastated, mourning father as he contemplates his life with – and without – his wife and son. He also spends time with his parents and these vulnerable moments are what make him a very likeable character, despite the career he’s chosen. It’s a fantastic performance which anchors the film.

Elsewhere, we have a fabulous array of familiar faces in supporting roles, including Erika Blanc in a small but memorable role as a tragic sex worker, Richard Conte as conflicted mafioso Nick Gusto, and Anton Diffring as another of the mafioso bosses, Hans Grunwald.

The film doesn’t skimp on the action. There’s a decent car chase that starts in the city and travels out into the countryside. There is an almost James Bond feel to the chase as the assailants think they’ve gotten away only for Tony, who is pursuing them, to take a detour through woodland catch up with them. We don’t see Tony deal with the goons once the car chase is over, but we do see the aftermath, their bloody carcasses left dead in a church.

This scene typifies the approach to the violence in the film. It’s a very violent film at times, the violence treated in a matter of fact and brutal way, just enough being shown to make its point, without labouring it and revelling in the gore.

It’s also a very moody film; the city of Milan, where much of the action takes place, seems to always be either misty or overcast and raining. There are also some striking locations, including a car scrapyard, and a train on which the journey ends in one of the strongest scenes of violence in the movie. The finale is a complete contrast to the weather and harshness of visuals that we’ve experienced up to that point; here we get a wedding, blue skies, sun and warmth – but with an underlying current of unease still permeating through.

Tony Arzenta is a fantastic piece of cinema, full of wonderful performances and anchored by an outstanding acting masterclass from Delon in the title role. The action is violent and brutal, the locations are used to great effect and the story subverts the genre well, feeling fresher than some of the other Eurocrime films made at the time.


Tony Arzenta is released on limited edition Blu-ray by Radiance Films on 25th March 2024. The disc features a strong, natural transfer of a new restoration. It’s clean and maintains the filmic quality. The audio is great, as are the subtitles, for the most part; there are occasional typos and missing words.


New restoration, presented on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK

Uncompressed mono PCM Italian and English audio options

Archival interview with Alain Delon in which he discusses his role as a producer, his acting work and collaborators (1973, 12 mins)

A new interview with Eurocrime authority Mike Malloy on the film’s place within the poliziottesco canon  (2024, 11 mins)

Select-scene commentary with critic Peter Jilmstad on the incredible supporting cast of the film (2024, 53 mins)


Newly translated English subtitles for Italian audio and English SDH subtitles for English audio

Reversible sleeve featuring designs based on original posters

Limited edition booklet featuring new writing by scholar Leila Wimmer

Limited edition of 3000 copies, presented in full-height Scanavo packaging with removable OBI strip leaving packaging free of certificates and markings

The extras open with a 12-minute interview with star Delon, dating from the year of the film’s release, 1973. There’s some valuable footage of the actor walking his dogs and scenes from Two Men in Town, which came out in the same year as Tony Arzenta. Delon talks through other films, including Le Samourai, and there is footage from that film too. It’s a nice but brief overview of the actor at this time, sharing memories of his films, and some of those he worked with, including Melville.

Up next is Not a Gangster Not a Cop, an 11-minute featurette with Eurocrime expert Mike Malloy, who is very knowledgeable about the genre and always well worth a listen. This piece is no different, with Malloy running through some of the less “safe” films that subverted the genre, like Tony Arzenta. It’s lovingly produced with lots of stills and posters from a plethora of films from the Eurocrime genre.  Those images really highlight the wealth of big names and familiar faces who starred in such films, with Malloy spending a bit of time talking about one or two of these actors, including Franco Nero, and Lee van Cleef. There’s a decent section on Tony Arzenta too, which is great, focusing on the main character, and some of the other actors who appear in the film. It’s an excellent piece.

The disc also includes a scene specific commentary by critic Peter Jilmstad, which runs for 53 minutes and is split into six sections. There’s the option to watch in one go or each section individually. The piece focuses on the supporting cast, with a rich variety of information about the character actors who help to bring the world to life. Many of the actors get a decent amount of time running through some facts about them, some of their other roles, insights into their careers, and observations about their performances in the film, with a little bit of background on the making of the movie too. A different commentary than most, due to its main focus on the supporting cast, but a very rewarding feature.

The booklet features new writing by scholar Leila Wimmer, who provides a brisk, easily readable overview of Delon’s career, both as an actor and as a producer. It’s a really good article, that covers a lot of ground and is accompanied by stills and posters of some of the films Delon appeared in.

Finally, we get a four-minute trailer for the film, under its title Tony Arzenta Big Guns, which features the melancholy song from the opening titles and action highlights.

Tony Arzenta is an excellent Eurocrime film, featuring an astonishing performance by Alain Delon in the title role, some brutal violence, an exciting car chase and a plot and style that subverts the genre. It is brought to UK Blu-ray on a decent disc by Radiance Films, featuring a generally strong new transfer, and around 75 minutes of very informative and well curated extras.


Tony Arzenta - Radiance
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