Released from jail after twelve years with a pardon he doesn't quite understand, Hank McCain (Cassavetes) is approached by his shifty son, Jack (Apra), who offers him a quarter of a million dollars to spearhead a robbery of the newest big Vegas casino, the Royal Hotel; however, the entire operation is being funded by California crime boss Charlie Adamo (Falk), who has his own reasons for wanting McCain back on the streets. McCain's main accomplice is bar girl Irene (Ekland) whom he impulsively marries in Vegas, and even though Adamo decides to back out of the robbery after finding out the hotel is secretly operated by a big New York mob boss (Ferzetti), McCain and Irene decide to go ahead anyway with an explosive plan that should go off without a hitch... but as usual, the aftermath has more than a few surprises.
Swift, stylish, and very entertaining, Machine Gun McCain (released in Italy as Gli intoccaibili) overcomes its minor faults (a predictable storyline, an odd mix of live sound and dubbing, and the fact that Cassavetes barely touches a machine gun) with pure energy and excellent performances throughout. The great heist sequence is essentially an even more elaborate extension of the central caper from Grand Slam, and the bloody protracted aftermath contains enough gunfire to keep action fans more than happy as well as the long-awaited appearance by Rowlands as Cassavetes' jailbird wife and former partner in crime, Rosemary.
Blue Underground's first new title on the market for far too long, Machine Gun McCain marks the company's welcome return to Italian crime films and is easily the most high-profile of their essential releases in that genre to date. The new HD transfer is a real beauty with a natural, film-like texture and often vibrant colors, especially the sparing but effective use of red; only a couple of badly-lit night and alley scenes pose any problems, and that's a challenge inherent in the original cinematography. The English mono track sounds fine; no gimmicky remixes here. For reasons no one can quite seem to ascertain, the running time of the film has been listed in press materials as anywhere from 91 minutes to 116. The version here clocks in at 96 minutes and feels quite complete; maybe there are some Italian-only scenes lying around in a vault somewhere, but if so, they don't seem to be missed. The American and Italian trailers are included along with a 23-minute interview with Montaldo in which he discusses a wide range of topics: his early acting career, his segue into directing, the mounting of Grand Slam, and the difficult creation of his rapport and eventual friendship with Cassavetes, who initially regarded him with suspicion. Score another hit for Blue Underground's solid roster of BD releases, though if you don't have a player, it's easily worth grabbing on DVD as well.